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General News of Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Source: GNA

Workshop on corruption held in Koforidua

Koforidua, Aug 15, GNA - Participants at a corruption workshop in Koforidua have stressed the need for public education on rights and responsibilities of the citizenry to be stepped up. They said enforcing that constitutional mandate would empower the public to insist on the right thing to be done at all times so that acts of corruption would be stamped out.

The participants cited the demand for money before suspects were granted bail by the police and paying of money to public officials before they provided service for which they had been employed as instances that called for education on the rights of every citizen. In their view, corruption had become part of the status quo to the extent that people could not question the rationale behind certain acts and urged civil organizations to help address the situation. The workshop was organized by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) for the public, civil service, security agencies, politicians and the media to sensitise them on corruption and the promotion of good governance in Ghana.

The participants said the debilitating effects of corruption on the society affected mainly the poor and the vulnerable hence the rise in poverty across the country. Speaking on the topic, manifestations of corruption, the Program Officer of GII, Mr Gilbert Sam, mentioned the lowering in productivity and exacerbation of poverty as some of the several effects of corruption. He said as a result of corruption, people's trust in government had waned and that constituted a serious threat to democracy. The Eastern Regional Director of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Stephen Okpoti-Mensah, who presented a paper on Conflict of Interest, said the Public Service was a public trust and public officials were expected to act for and in the interest of the public. He said despite laws clearly guiding the operations of public office holders, people still contravened the law by engaging themselves in matters that conflicted with their official status. Mr Okpoti-Mensah said even gifts that sought to influence the thinking and acts of a public official amounted to corruption and urged people to be mindful of their acts to ensure that corruption was minimized.

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