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Investigations Group calls on Nana Addo to audit money spent on foreign travels

The group said within the last six months, the State spent in excesses of $5.9million on these extravagant foreign trips.

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The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to audit the directive to ban foreign trips of Ministers and other government appointees.

The group said within the last six months, the State spent in excesses of $5.9million on extravagant foreign trips.

Executive Secretary of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson, in a statement said the excessive foreign travels has raised a high alert for civil society and governance experts calling on the President to find solutions to the numerous problems faced by the country and halt the trips which are unproductive.

He, however, called on the government to audit the directive to ban all foreign travel for public office bearers.

Nana Addo over the weekend has with immediate effect banned all foreign travel for public office bearers.

All ministers, deputy ministers, metropolitan, municipal and District chief executives (MMDCEs) and heads of government agencies have been banned from traveling, a memo sent to all government appointees by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare stated.

It added that only the Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey is exempted from the directive.

The memo indicated that guidelines in respect of future foreign travels aimed at minimizing disruption to Government’s domestic work will be communicated shortly.

But Mensah Thompson said appointees should be made to refund the additional expenses incurred and those who traveled on tickets higher than the officially certified ticket class should be made to refund the additional cost to the state.

 

Below is the full statement:

BAN ON FOREIGN TRAVEL OF GOVT APPOINTEES,GOVT MUST AUDIT ALL APPOINTEES' FOREIGN TRIPS IN THE LAST 6MONTHS-ASEPA

Over the weekend government announced a temporal ban on foreign travels of Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Head of State Corporations, MMDCE's and other appointees. We would like to commend the government for this step.

We have constantly reminded the government of the impact these indiscriminate foreign trips have on the public purse and with the President of the Republic being the number one culprit in terms of this abuse of state resources, Ghanaians were getting quite worried over the trend.

Our little checks revealed that the President is not the only official with a high affinity for aircraft, there are several other appointees whose affinity exceeds the President's whose foreign travels this year alone tallies up to 19 in less than 6months.

READ MORE: We lied against Mac Manu, we are sorry – GPHA workers apologise

Further checks revealed that in 2017, the state spent almost $11.7million on foreign trips of the President, Ministers and other officials.

Within the last six months the State has already spent in excesses of $5.9million on these extravagant foreign trips,this situation has raised a high alert for civil society and governance experts and that perhaps maybe one of the reasons why government has announced this temporal ban but we believe if the President had set a good example in terms foreign trips perhaps things would be quite different and this ban wouldn't have been necessary in the first place.

We cannot continue to run this country like this,the ban alone is not enough in this circumstance, an extensive audit needs to be carried on all trips of government officials in the last 6months to ascertain the viability or relevance of those trips and cause them to refund expenditures which were made on irrelevant trips to the State.

Those who also overspent their travel budgets should also be made to refund the additional expenses incurred and those who traveled on tickets higher than the officially certified ticket class should be made to refund the additional cost to the state.

We believe this is a more sustainable way to deter government officials from taking irrelevant trips or overspending during foreign trips than just putting a temporal ban on foreign trips.

There should also be a legislation that would put a cap on the number of trips officials can actually attend in a year so that they can be budgeted for upfront and any extra trips would be borne by the officials themselves.

That is a more realistic way of dealing with the situation than just a travel ban.

We hope the government considers a more comprehensive strategy to protect the public purse from these avoidable and unnecessary pressure.

Signed ;
Mensah Thompson
Executive Secretary-ASEPA

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