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Regional News of Friday, 30 October 2015

Source: GNA

Corruption, a threat to national development - ALAC

Participants at a one day workshop in Bawku have been charged to see corruption as a threat to national development and fight it out of the society.

Mr Joseph Azam Makido, Project Officer for Advocacy and Legal Advice Center (ALAC), speaking to the participants noted that, corruption in recent times, had re-channeled national resources meant for the development of the country into the hands of individuals.

He said the workshop was therefore aimed at motivating the citizenry to apply pressure on policy makers and institutions to reduce corruption in Ghana.

He explained that the ALAC project sought to empower the citizenry and civil society organisations to report and document corruption and its related cases through accessible and innovative information communication technology and the social media platforms.

It would also equip the citizenry with sufficient knowledge of the costs and impacts of corruption on their lives to engage in anti-corruption activism to advocate for change and hold anti-corruption institutions accountable in the execution of their mandates.

Mr Makido stressed the need to improve organizational capacity among civil society organizations, accountability institutions and other stakeholders to fight corruption.

Mr Hakeem Suleman, Senior Investigator of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in Bawku, noted that, in recent times, corruption had become a major issue of concern in Ghana and the international community because of its corrosive impact on the economic growth, human rights and poverty reduction.

Mr Suleman said corruption undermined democracy and the rule of law, which could lead to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security.

He indicated that the causes of corruption included institutional weakness, poor ethical standards, such as limited commitment to the values of integrity and self-discipline, skewed incentives structure and insufficient enforcement of laws within a patrimonial social and political context.

Mr Suleman said other factors implicated in corruption were attitudes and social circumstances that made the average people disregard or circumvent the laws in Ghana.

He called on the citizenry to project the fight on corruption to be able to protect the resources that is being used to build the country.

The workshop was organized by SEND-GHANA, a nongovernmental organization, working on pro-poor policy and development programmes, in collaboration with USAID, Ghana Integrity initiative (GII) and the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, to sensitize the citizenry on the need to fight corruption.

The participants included traditional rulers, assembly members, opinion leaders, traders, Heads of the decentralized departments from the public sector, civil society groups, personnel from the Ghana police service and other security agencies and the media.

They were taken through the causes of corruption, effects of corruption in Ghana, measures of corruption, strengthening of anti-corruption legal framework, increase of civil society engagement in effective direct lobbying and law reform advocacy, increased use of anti-corruption reporting mechanisms and institutions by the citizenry and the increased implementation of public accounts committee recommendations.

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