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General News of Saturday, 14 December 2019

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Let’s commit to implementing anti-corruption laws - GII


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The Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has called on the government to commit to implementing anti-corruption laws and policies to nib the menace in the bud.

Linda Ofori-Kwafo in her speech at a corruption forum to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day in Accra on Thursday said that corruption is taking a toll on the country’s economy.

“Fighting corruption requires collaboration and partnership between government, civil society, and stronger institutions willing to enforce laws to address the issue.

“And without commitment, whatever deliberations on corruption will be a waste of time,” she emphasised.

The event, organized to commemorate the Anti-Corruption Day was organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative Consortium comprising the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition and SEND-Ghana with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

For five years, the Consortium has implemented an anti-corruption project dubbed; “Accountable Democratic Institutions and Systems Strengthening (ADISS) with support from the USAID.

Doubling as the ADISS Chief Party, Mrs Ofori-Kwafo noted that the project contributes to strengthening the anti-corruption legislative framework in the country, supported the passage of the Right to Information Act, Witness Protection Act, and Regulations for the Public Financial Management Act.

“Under ADISS, the Consortium has monitored the implementation of audit recommendations in selected public institutions across the 13 regions and helped strengthen the financial management systems and prevented the recurrence of financial irregularities”.

She stressed that the project had also contributed to the investigation, exposure, and redress of corruption by supporting investigative journalists and other advocacy groups to fight the menace of corruption.

The Ambassador of United States of America to Ghana, Stephanie Sullivan, said corruption was not a victimless crime and that progress had to be made on several fronts to address the issue through a concerted effort.

She further noted that authorities must work to end the impunity, reform public administration and financial management, promote transparency and access to information and empower citizens to demand accountability from public officials.

Director of Communication, New Patriotic Party Yaw Buaben Asamoah, said government established the Office of the Special Prosecutor in an attempt to introduce innovative means to fight corruption in the system.

The Office is expected to help reduce the cumbersome workload on already existing investigative agencies, thus intensify their efficacy.

The role of the Special Prosecutor is to investigate and prosecute particular cases of suspected wrongdoing for which a conflict of interest occurs.

Mr Asamoah said the Office of the Special Prosecutor was expected to exhibit boldness and leadership in the discharge of its responsibility without fear or favour to fight corruption.

The International Relations Director of the National Democratic Congress, Alex Segbefia, said the country had several laws on corruption, but the problem was with enforcement, urging the authorities to be proactive and prosecute anyone found guilty of the act.

He urged government to implement and enforce inclusive development planning and policymaking that include open, participatory, and transparent budgets that allow citizens to participate in the governance process.

Some of the participants urged the public to desist from engaging in petty acts of corruption including offering bribes and gifts to induce public officers, and be law-abiding and demand for accountability and transparency from duty bearers.

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