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General News of Thursday, 20 February 2020

Source: Class FM

'I’ve fought corruption significantly' – Akufo-Addo


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President Nana Akufo-Addo has said his government has “made significant strides, over the last three years” in its “fight against corruption, despite the skepticism of people with questionable records”.

Delivering his fourth State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Thursday, 20 February 2020, which was boycotted by the Minority Caucus, the President told the one-sided chamber that: “We have strengthened the legal framework to fight corruption, with the help of this House, by passing into law the Witness Protection Act, 2018 (Act 959), the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959), the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2019 (Act 989), and the Companies Act, 2019, (Act 992), which provides a framework for enacting a beneficial ownership register”.

The government, the President said, has increased budgetary allocations to all the accountability institutions of state, including the Parliament of Ghana, the Judiciary, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice; the Auditor-General, the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the Ghana Police Service, with annual increases between 25% and 34% between 2017 and 2019.

The President also said some of the anti-corruption measures his government has put in place over the past three years have yielded results.

“We have also implemented a change from the opaque allocation of Ghana’s oil blocks to a more transparent allocation process, and advisedly so. The opaque period, 2013 to 2016, saw, according to the Ministry of Energy, the signature of thirteen (13) petroleum agreements, from which fourteen (14) wells were to be drilled. Not a single well was drilled. In contrast, in my time, over the last three (3) years, there have been six (6) drilling campaigns on three (3) different blocks, with others on the way. We will drill more and find more oil.

“Some forty or more (40) high profile personalities are currently before the courts on various corruption charges and more are in the pipeline. I will like to repeat that if evidence of corruption is presented, no one will be spared, regardless of position or political affiliation. No one is above the law. That is the true meaning of equality before the law.

“Mr Speaker, as part of our strategy to modernise the economy, deliver government services efficiently, and curb corruption, Government has over the last three years embarked on a major program of digitisation of the economy with significant success. As of the end of last week, 9.2 million people have been registered for the National ID card, the Ghana card. Before the end of this year, Ghana will have a fully working national ID system, which will be a game-changer for our nation”.

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