Thursday, 18 September 2014

Why Lauretta Vivian Lamptey Should Resign

At a time of austerity, in a nation in which such huge disparities in wealth exist, it is important that senior public officials are judicious in their use of taxpayers' money.

It is intolerable that huge sums belonging to taxpayers can be expended on the renting of office accommodation in expensive private properties and securing luxury accommodation to house senior public officials, as well as for the purchase of expensive official vehicles for senior staff - all of whom are already relatively well-paid as it is.

What that invariably does, is that there is very little cash left over, in the annual budgetary allocations of sundry public-sector organisations - sufficient to enable the core work for which they exist to be carried out effectively - once provision is made for payment of salaries of the rest of their staff.

One doubts very much that if it were their own private businesses, those in charge of the  public-sector entities paying such astronomical sums in rent advance - as long as three years in certain cases and amounting to hundreds of thousands of Ghana cedis -  to private landlords for office accommodation, and for rented accommodation to house senior staff, would venture to do so.

It is an egregious practise that cannot be justified under any circumstances in a cash-strapped country like ours - and it is vital that such senior public officials  set a good example, by ensuring that hapless taxpayers get value for money at all material times, when it comes to the provision of accommodation and the purchase of new  vehicles for official work.

All those public officials who engage in such profligate spending must be shown the door. Swiftly.

The case of the present Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Ms. Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, which has just come to light, following others in more or less the same vein that have also been recently unearthed, is most unfortunate.

If it is true, as some parliamentarians allege, that her capriciousness in demanding that her exact choice of sundry items be used in the refurbishment of her official residence - a project that has been ongoing for some three years apparently because of her fastidiousness - to ensure it is done to her taste, then in this particular instance she has not shown good judgement.

She failed to show the moderation required of senior public officials at a time of austerity: when so many of the ordinary Ghanaians whose taxes she apparently wants to be used to keep her in the style to which she has become accustomed, are themselves experiencing hard times.

The Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice is an important office holder whose position requires behaviour that is of a different standard from the norm  - an exemplary individual so principled in every aspect of his or her behaviour and character that all can safely look up to the Commissioner, secure in the knowledge that he or she is an individual of high moral standing, who posses sterling qualities and is always just and fair.

In other words, a veritable paragon of virtue, in whose hands one's human rights will always be safeguarded.

 Alas, on this occassion, Ms. Lauretta Vivian Lamptey has let herself down terribly. It would be better all round if she stepped down now. She must resign - as she is so clearly unsuited to the sensitive position she  currently occupies: which requires endless tact and infinite wisdom, all of which have sadly been  absent, in this unfortunate  matter.

It seems to have completely escaped her that these are exceptionally hard times in which millions of ordinary people are actually suffering - and struggle to survive on a daily basis. It was their taxes she was  frittering away with such abandon. Like all officials caught behaving in such unacceptable fashion, she must go. We must hold all public officials accountable when it comes to spending  taxpayers'  money. Her position is untenable. She should resign. A word to the wise...

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