The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) on Wednesday inaugurated a Centre for Public Accountability in Accra.
The Centre is to conduct thorough study and research into public sector accountability, develop time-tested recommendations for reforms to promote public accountability and transparency in the African public sector, as well as the quality of public service outcomes.
In his welcome address, Professor Joshua Alabi, Vice Chancellor of UPSA said apart from becoming the leading accounting institution in the country, authorities of the University were working to make it nationally entrenched, regionally relevant and globally recognized.
He said the Centre would also help bridge the gap of public accountability and urged all stakeholders to embrace it in order to fulfill its objectives.
Prof Alabi said Dr Albert Kan-Dapaah, the Director of the Centre, is one of the qualified and most experienced people in public accountability.
“Kan-Dapaah is not only an astute politician who understands the intricacies of the financial decision-making process in the public sector, he is also a former Minister for crucial ministries such as Energy, Communication, Interior and Defence as well as a former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, which scrutinizes how ministries, departments and agencies have disbursed public money,” he said.
Prof Alabi noted that Dr Kan-Dapaah thoroughly understands the vision of the Centre and fully identifies with it, to lead the transformative process to improve the quality of public sector management.
In his inaugural lecture, Dr Albert Kan-Dapaah said public accountability is a concept that conveyed an image of transparency and trustworthiness on the part of public service practitioners.
He said the Centre would, therefore, seek to highlight and promote the concept of Accountability in Public Sector Management as well as conduct a cutting edge research into the concept of public accountability.
“We want to build the capacity of public sector practitioners and lawmakers through highly interactive training programmes and we want to also offer consultancy support to key accountability institutions including supreme audit institutions and public accounts committee,” he said.
Dr Kan-Dapaah said the concept of accountability would be subjected to serious academic analysis by examining whether both horizontal and vertical accountability institutions worked in the country; and how they could be sustained if they were working and also re-energise those that were not working.
He said it would also look at accountability mechanisms in the country and how it could be strengthened.
“We want to maintain the most accurate and reliable database on public transactions such as the public debt, petroleum revenues and expenditure and donor funds.
It is not our ambition to catch thieves but we will be interested to find out how they managed to abuse the system and come out with policy recommendations to seal the loopholes,” he said.
Dr. Kan-Dapaa said the Centre would monitor and track the implementation of audit findings and provide policy options for an effective sanctions regime.
He announced that the Centre has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands to jointly implement a project financed by the Netherlands government to develop and deliver practice-oriented training modules in Financial Management for Finance graduates and professionals in Ghana.
Mr Justice Nii Aryeetey, Council Chairman of UPSA, urged all stakeholders, particularly the media, to support the laudable initiative, as they are expected to actively play their watchdog role for public sector accountability.