General News Thu, 29 May 2003

Gov't To Dismiss Bad DCEs

The searchlight on the government’s policy of zero-tolerance for corruption has been thrown on metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MDCEs) in the country. A report submitted to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has cited some of the MDCEs for misappropriation of funds, arrogance, incompetence and insensitivity to the plight of the people in their districts.

The sector minister, Mr Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, who disclosed this in an interview in Accra yesterday, said when found guilty, such officials will be dismissed and prosecuted. He said, already, some chief executives have been implicated and investigations are ongoing to determine the gravity of their offences and the next line of action to be taken against them.

He pointed out, for instance, that if any chief executive is found to have misappropriated funds or involved himself or herself in any form of criminal activity, he or she will be fired and tried, while those found to be arrogant, incompetent and insensitive to the plight of the people, will be relieved of their post. He, therefore, advised MDCEs to emulate the President by being humble, sensitive, dedicated and accessible to the people they have been appointed to serve.

Mr Adjei-Darko also disclosed that the release of funds to some district assemblies will be suspended following their failure to pay the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions of their workers. He also pointed out that invoices submitted by some MDCEs have revealed that some of the assemblies buy goods worth millions of cedis from VAT defaulters.

He said this came to light on his recent tour to some districts and emphasised that, “until the districts in question pay their workers’ contributions and deal with VAT registered companies, they should not expect any financial assistance from the ministry until the right thing is done”.

He has, therefore, directed MDCEs to submit their quarterly reports as well as endeavour to pay regular visits to the communities under their jurisdiction and get firsthand information about problems in order to find possible solutions to them.

Mr Adjei-Darko explained that the image of the government is seen through the performance of MDCEs and said “if the chief executive is good, government is perceived to be good.” In line with this, he said, the government will ensure that MDCEs perform to the satisfaction of the people.

In the case of former MDCEs who have been implicated in the Auditor General’s report, he said their cases have been referred to the Attorney General’s (AG) Department for action.

Mr Adjei-Darko declined to mention the names of affected officials but said the AG’s office is currently preparing the docket on them for civil proceedings to begin. He said the ministry is currently collating data on the investment potentials of each of the 110 district in the country.

He said the ministry is also considering the possibility of establishing the “Farmers Market” in each of the districts to enable farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers without the interference of middlemen who tend to make such farm produce more expensive.