General News of Monday, 31 October 2005
Accra, Oct. 31, GNA - Ghana would soon ratify the United Nations and African Union (AU) Conventions on Preventing and Combating Corruption and related offences following Parliament's receipt of Government's documents on the issue.
So far only 10 nations, including Nigeria, Burundi, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar and Mali have ratified the African Convention but 15 nations are required to make it operational and enforceable.
On the other hand, only five African countries - Libya, Madagascar, Namibia, Tanzania, and Uganda - have ratified the UN document. Speaking at the opening of a day's roundtable on the AU Convention, Mr Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes, Speaker of Parliament, underscored the importance of the two conventions coupled with their impact on reducing poverty in Africa and called on African governments to show their commitment by ratifying them.
He called on the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC) in collaboration with the local chapters of Transparency International to impress upon their governments to speed up the ratification process.
The Speaker noted that it was the concern of African leaders under the NEPAD that unless corruption was dealt with seriously its devastating effect would further deepen poverty on the Continent. He said parliaments had a duty to be part of the process and to help nations to ratify the conventions saying preventing and fighting corruption must be central to all.
Mr Doe Adjaho, Chairman of APNAC, said the fact still remained that corruption had become a problem in Ghana indicating that in spite of several legal and institutional measures to combat it, little had been achieved so far.
He urged the Government to take serious note of the various recommendations in the African Peer Review mechanism (APRM) Report on Ghana for more intensive campaign against corruption. Mr Adjaho said the APRM report as well as the recent G-8 meeting Scotland had called on nations to ratify and implement the instruments. Mr Daniel Batidam, Executive Secretary of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), local Chapter Transparency International, said the 30th ratification for the UN convention to become law across the globe came last month and in December this year it would be in full force. He said in spite of the debate that the national laws to fight corruption were not in short supply, it was equally important that Ghana recognised the trans-national and cross-border dimensions that corruption had assumed in recent times.
This, Mr Batidam said, was especially because of the economic toll it was taking on African economies in particular notably through money laundering activities and unimpeded movement of counterfeit medicines from other sister nations.
He said the roundtable was, therefore, intended to put the AU convention into proper perspective "as we believe that the convention has far reaching provisions that can help address some of our national governance challenges, when appropriately domesticated". His Grace, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle, Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, who chaired the opening function, described corruption as something that had come to create disorder in the society and required all an sundry to fight it.
"It's our task to ensure that we bring about (order) in the midst of the chaos," he said.
The GII in-collaboration with APNAC organised the discussion under the theme: "AU Anti-Corruption Convention - A Key Instrument for the Fight Against Corruption."