Corrupt state officials under investigation by the Auditor General’s Department have started using Members of Parliament (MPs) to beg for a discontinuance of their cases, a representative of the office has said.
The Auditor General’s Department has penciled down a number of names from the previous government to be investigated on allegations of corruption, embezzlement of state funds and misuse of the national purse.
However, according to Vincent Odikro Nyame, who serves as a representative of the office, some MPs are trying to intercede for their colleagues under investigation.
In his view such actions only stand to derail and frustrate the investigation process being undertaken by the Auditor General’s Department.
Speaking at a forum organized by Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on the Special Prosecutor Bill, Mr Odikro Nyame said there are times when officers at the department become powerless due to the intercession by ranking Parliamentarians.
"Unfortunately, I would have to say this here, there are times some honorable members come to our offices to come and plead on behalf of some [of the queried auditees]… our officers on the field also do it and when it comes before the committee, then you will notice that it was signed just two or three days [to the Public Accounts Sitting (PAC) summons],” he said.
He further lamented the behaviour of some intervening MPs, saying "everybody, including our honorable members, try to assist them to stifle what we are doing… We pray that the House will do a little more to assist us if they stay out of this and let these gentlemen face it as it is".
He added that the Auditor General’s Department has reservations about the proposition to set up an office of the Special Prosecutor to act in a role similar to their office.
Explaining why the department sometimes take a long time to tackle cases of corruption, Mr Odikro Nyame said, to ensure fairness, auditees are sometimes given up to three months to respond before further action is taken.
According to him "until we have received the responses from these auditees, we can’t say what we have alleged. They have to explain why they did whatever and when we are satisfied, then we proceed from there".
He however assured that the department was doing its best to bring all corrupt state officials to book.