Source: GNA - The Western Regional Minister, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, has charged the chiefs and people of Bibiani/Anhwianso/Bekwai District to demand swift prosecution and accountability for monies allegedly embezzled by two former officials of the Assembly.
The Regional Minister indicated that Mr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah,
former District Finance Officer (DFO) and Mr Louis Bayuoh, former District Coordinating Director, who were indicted for defrauding stool lands revenue amounting to GHC 506, 639.39 from January 2013- 2014, were arrested and hauled before court.
He said the docket of the case was submitted to the Attorney General's Office for further advice and since then no information or directive has been received from the Attorney General's Office regarding the prosecution of the case and expressed worry about the delay "since justice delayed is justice denied".
He, therefore, charged the chiefs and people in the area to show interest in the case since the funds belonged to them meant for developmental projects.
"The chiefs and people of Bibiani should show interest in this case including, all stakeholders and the media. You should not keep quite over this fraud because the money belonged to you so you must rise up and demand accountability," he stressed.
Mr Aidoo, who is Member of Parliament for Sefwi-Wiawso, said this at the opening ceremony of a three-day retreat for metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) at Beyin in the Jomoro District.
The event is intended to afford the MMDCEs the opportunity to exchange ideas, fraternise and chart the way forward for the development of their assemblies in order to ensure the provision of quality services, to enhance the standards of living of the people.
The retreat in on the theme: "Enhancing Local Development: The Roles of the Regional Coordinating Council and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to promote local Development."
Mr Aidoo noted that after the Audit Service discovered the fraud and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) investigated and established the veracity of the matter, Mr Owusu-Ansah was arrested and charged, but was later transferred to Sefwi-Akontombra District and Mr Bayouh had since retired from the public service.
At Sefwi-Akontombra, the minister alleged that, the DFO involved himself in another fraud by diverting stool land money into a secret account and when BNI interrogated him, he admitted the offence.
Mr Aidoo suggested that the Controller and Accountant General's Department must change the procedure where the DFO and DCD are the sole signatories to the assembly funds and sign vouchers to withdraw monies since they could condone and connive to steal and, therefore, demanded that the MMDCEs should be given control over assemblies funds in order to avert any future fraud.
He entreated the assemblies staff to be vigilant at all times to detect any fraud to safeguard public funds.
He gave the assurance that the Regional Coordinating Council would provide technical and administrative expertise to the assemblies and continue to provide its constitutional mandate of supervising, monitoring and evaluating assemblies' projects to accelerate national development.
The regional minister charged them to enforce assemblies' bye-laws through proper planning and good organisation to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development.
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