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Traditional authorities occupy an important place in African life, and historically, in the body
politic of Ghana. These authorities embody the preservation of culture, traditions, customs and
values of the African people, while also representing the early forms of societal organisation and
governance. Although traditional authorities represent earlier forms of governance, they have
also been found in contemporary democracies (Ayee, 2006). The existence of traditional
authorities in Ghanaian societies predates colonial periods in the form of chiefs, queens,
soothsayers, youth leaders and leaders of various age-sects. Even though colonialism found
chiefs in particular to be opponents of reforms, they were used to execute the indirect policy in
circumstances such as ensuring law and order, taxation and financial administration (Guri et al
The framers of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana, knowing the importance of
traditional authorities, enshrined the independence of the chieftaincy institution and its allied
divisions (Ayee, 2006). The Chieftaincy Act of 2008, Act 759, which is in conformity with the
1992 constitution, makes provisions for chieftaincy processes and procedures to guide the
institution by supporting various houses of chiefs with financial budget from annual budget.
The institution of chieftaincy has displayed extraordinary resilience to political change in the
periods before, during and after colonial rule in many parts of Africa (Odotei & Awedoba, 2006).
Before the inception of colonialism in the then Gold Coast (now Ghana), chiefs performed
legislative, executive, judicial, financial administration and religious functions (Arhin, 2001;
Odotei & Awedoba, 2006). While maintaining law and order, adjudicating on cases and settling
disputes, chiefs also served as a link between the local Government and the people, the serve as
custodians to the stool lands and Government budget allocated to the community. They have an
apparent responsibility to account for financial allocation to their offices (Awedoba et al, 2006).
This study financial management practices of the Greater Accra Regional house of chiefs at
1.2 Background of the Study
Financial administration has risen to central position in the talk about effective, efficient and the
current debate that governance has implications for development administration and poverty
reduction in particular has stimulated research for conditions under which traditional governance
could be improved. Crowder (2014) argued that because of the significant roles the institution
remained important instrument in development in Ghana; hence, the creation of regional and
national houses of chiefs under the 1969, 1979 and 1992 Constitutions. Chiefs, therefore,
continue to be very important in the development of their communities and managing financial
assets of their communities. The role of chiefs in local government has not been consistent over
the years. In an attempt to promote people's participation at the grassroots, the PNDC launched
the local government reforms of 1988 and its concomitant decentralisation program. The local
government law (PNDCL 207) was promulgated. This changed the structure of local government
administration in Ghana by introducing the District Assemblies. One result was that chiefs
became accountable to the people they govern. The local government law does appointment of
chiefs as DA members, since the central government power to appoint 30 percent of the DA
membership. Under the 1992 Constitution, Article 242 (d) makes provision from the Regional
House of Chiefs to serve on the Regional Councils. Historical evidence about the contribution of
chiefs to local governance and development abound; the utility that is likely to be derived from
involving chiefs in local government administration has received extensive consideration. The
Coussey Committee Report on Constitutional Reform had this to say on Chieftaincy in Ghana:
'The whole institution of chieftaincy is so closely bound up with the life of our communities that
its disappearance would spell disaster' (Schiffer, 2014). The institution of Chieftaincy according
to some people 'is in itself sacred to us, because in it are reposed our traditions and culture.
The weakening of traditional leader ship and governance institutions has created a power and
institutional vacuum, which central and new local government institutions have failed to fill
adequately. This situation notwithstanding, past and present governments ignored traditional
leaders completely in national affairs. Thus the government has continued to provide some
financial support to chiefs in the hope of sustaining the institution. Budget allocations are
regularly made for them to supplement revenue obtained from their traditional sources such as
stool lands Since government over the years continued to provide some funding, how meager, to
traditional rulers, the latter are required by law to account for their financial transactions
annually (Abor, 2013)
This study evaluates the financial management practices of the greater Accra Regional House of
1.3 Statement of Problem
Accountability and transparency has been critical issue in financial management of the
Chieftaincy institution It has been hampering the performances of the institution and has been
and is still a yet problem to be solved. In government whether the state or local, the financial
management initiative has to be seen as progressing, developing and improved, for proper
reporting and accountability. In the Chieftaincy sector accounting and auditing, emphasis is in
terms of importance, scope and on the value for money, performance and accountability. Local
government financial management is concerned with reporting on the local governments wealth,
how the source of fund is derived collected and expended, since the size of revenue meant for
collection is limited like any other resources, financial management is therefore relevant and
very essential in Chieftaincy administration. It has become issue for discussion both in the
national assembly and in public service. This is because its importance to the overall
development of the state and the country in general.
According to Olsen (2015), accountability ensures transparency by providing an open flow of
information between the public and government. However, the demand for accountability from
Chiefs has attracted the attention of most governments as a means to deepened democracy and to
improve local government (Arneil, 2017; Crook, 2017; Olsen, 2015; Smoke, 2015; World Bank,
2017; Yilmaz et al., 2008).
There is no published study of the financial administration of the Chieftaincy institution in
Ghana. The research work is to evaluate and investigate the problems associated with lack of
accountability and transparency in financial management of the Regional House of Chiefs.
1.4 Research Purpose
This study is aimed at appraising financial management in Chieftaincy institution. Specifically
the study aims at identifying:
1.5 Specific Objectives
1. The source of funds for traditional authorities in Ghana
2. The method employed in collecting funds due to the Chieftaincy institution and
effectiveness thereof.
3. Mode of accounting and authorized expenditure by Regional house of Chiefs and
mechanism of actual and estimated expenditure
1.6 Research Questions
1. What is the source of funds for traditional authorities in Ghana?
2. What are the methods employed in collecting funds due to the Chieftaincy institution?
3. What is the mode of accounting and authorized expenditure by Regional house of Chiefs
and mechanism of actual and estimated expenditure?
1.7 The Significance of the Study
The significance of the research is illustrated in three dimensions. These are the research benefit
to policy formulation, practice, and future research. In terms of policy formulation, the study will
inform local authorities to formulate policies that will encourage participatory democracy to
ensure local government accountability. In terms of practice, the study will broaden
understanding among citizens, practitioners, government and policy makers on the challenges
faced by social groups in demanding accountability. Lastly, the study provides information
which will contribute to existing literature on vertical accountability at the grassroots level.
The purpose of the study is to examine the increasing erosion of the importance of traditional
authorities, particularly chieftaincy, by state structures; propose a defined role for chiefs in the
decentralisation process; and find out how best traditional authorities can be positioned to
contribute meaningfully to improve governance and development in Ghana. The complaints of
traditional authorities of neglect by the District Assemblies and state agencies in development
and governance matters at all levels in all major forums set the agenda for this study.
This study will provide the in-depth information that would be useful to the local government
and traditional authorities in their bid to bring the two institutions together to work towards the
needed development of the area and other traditional areas
1.8 Limitation of the study
This study is limited to an inquiry into the practice of vertical accountability by social audit
committee to improve performance and accountability among local public officials at the
Regional House of Chiefs. The empirical findings cannot be generalized in other contexts and
because the study was conducted in Ghana where the economic and cultural setting varies from
that of other developing countries. Nevertheless, findings from this study would contribute to
existing knowledge on the practice of vertical accountability by social audit committees.
1.9 Study Structure and Organization
The study is outlined in five main chapters. Chapter one is the introduction and it outlines the
study background, statement of the research problem, research purpose, research objectives,
research questions, limitation of the study and the significance of the study. Chapter two will
discuss relevant literature on Chieftancy system, accountability mechanisms, and a theoretical
and conceptual framework for the study. Chapter three will discuss the research methodology
which will include a research paradigm, the study approach, research design, study population,
and the sample size. Chapter four will analyze the data findings and chapter five will finally
present the summary of the findings, conclusion, and recommendations of the study.
1.10 Conclusion
This chapter introduced the study background, problem statement, objectives and questions
underpinning the research as well as the significance and limitation of the study.
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