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General News of Thursday, 27 September 2018

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Citizens urged to collaborate with the media to combat higher cost of corruption

Mr Richard Quayson, the Deputy Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), has called on citizens to collaborate effectively with the media to help combat the higher cost of corruption in the country.

He said the country loses about three billion US dollars, an equivalent of 13.8 billion Ghana cedis, annually through corruption, which needed to be curbed to ensure the promotion of citizens' well-being.

He made the call on Wednesday in Tamale, during a regional corruption sensitisation forum, organized by the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), to educate journalists and other stakeholders on the need to extricate themselves from corrupt practices and its impacts in the society.

The sensitisation forum formed part of activities under the Integrity, Mobilization, Participation, Accountability, Anticorruption and Transparency (IMPACT) Ghana Project, supported by the Global Affairs, Canada.

It was being implemented by CHRAJ, Ghana Integrity International (GII), local chapter of Transparency International and the Ghana News Agency.

Some of the participants included Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), the private sector, Civil Society Organisations, some media houses and other stakeholders.

Mr Quayson said the 13.8 billion Ghana cedis was over 300 per cent of all the foreign aids Ghana received, with terms and conditions and higher interest rate, within a year.

He said these huge sums was also about 20 per cent of Ghana's annual national budget, which could be used to improve the health and education sectors, roads and transports, communication and agricultural sectors among others, without borrowing from international organisations.

Mr Quayson said these huge sums could equally be used to invest in the economy to reduce the high rate of unemployment, provide sufficient money for economic development, and pay public sector workers salaries.

He, however, urged journalists not to relent on their efforts, but continue in their course of work to expose all corrupt activities and persons as well as create public awareness of the dangers of corruption in the country.

Mr Quayson appealed to all stakeholders to re-visit and re-examine the country’s moral values by ensuring that the necessary citizens' education on morality were given the needed attention to assist in the fight against corruption .

Mr Francis Ameyibor, a Deputy News Editor of the Ghana News Agency, speaking on the role of the media in the fight against corruption said, journalists should avoid the use of sensationalism and stressed the need to ensure effective monitoring of corruption trends and practices in order to guide people's acts and actions.

He said media organisations must also collaborate and give free air time and news paper space to Anti-corruption bodies to help sensitise the public on corruption.

Mr Ameyibor urged all public servants to come out and champion the fight against corruption by changing their attitudes towards work since most public servants were being accused of corrupt acts on daily basis.

He said all public servants were vulnerable to corruption, but they should not let their own conscience be compromised with anything given to them in kind or cash, to ensure effective management in their workplaces.

Mr Ameyibor also called on all citizens to make efforts in collaborating with the media to help in naming and shaming of all persons engaged in corrupt acts and actions and this should be both at home or workplaces.

Madam Mary Awelana Addah, the Programmes Manager of GII, in a presentation on the topic: "Examining the Work Plan of NACAP for 2018/2019 and the Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting Framework" said it was realised that at the end of the 2017 annual progress report, only 87 institutions had reported on the action of corrupt cases and had a relationship with anti-corruption bodies in their institutions.

She said there was therefore the need to bring stakeholders to understand that they all had roles and actions to take to ensure that they reported on the actions of corrupt cases from their various institutions to reduce corruption.

Mr Salifu Saeed, the Northern Regional Minister, urged all stakeholders and key actors in the public and private sector to collaborate with each other to collectively fight the corruption canker in the country.

He said the government was also making efforts through the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to help fight against corruption menace in the country.