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General News of Monday, 24 July 2006

Source: GNA

Ghana can do more in fight against corruption

Accra, July 24, GNA - The US Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Pamela Bridgewater on Monday commended Ghana for her strides in the fight against corruption but said more action was required to eliminate tolerance for corruption within the society.

Opening an anti-corruption and transparency workshop on Monday, Ms Bridgewater said the passage of the Public Procurement, Financial Management and Audit Laws and the creation of the Ministry of Public Sector Reform was a demonstration of the Government's resolve to promote transparency and accountability.
However, she said, these Laws must be implemented effectively and impartially to deter wrongdoing.
"Let me re-emphasise that implementation and enforcement are key. Laws are meaningless if they are not applied by the responsible authorities on the ground," she said.
She said investigations of corruption must be completed and allowed to run their natural course without exception or preference.
Ms Bridgewater said there was the urgent need for conflict of interest regulations and more open asset declaration procedures and also provision of adequate resources for key anti-corruption institutions like the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice; Auditor-General's Department and Serious Fraud Office.
Besides, additional legislation on freedom of information and whistleblower's protection must be promptly passed and put into force to deter wrongdoing.
The Ambassador said a successful fight against corruption required a buy-in from all sectors of society such as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), Government, politicians, businessmen and business associations and the society as a whole.
She said the workshop was the US Government's commitment to create a transparent and accountable government and society free from corruption.
Mr Joe Ghartey, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, said the Government intended to pass the Proceeds of Crime Bill that would permit the authorities to look into the acquisition of property of individuals, who did not declare their assets.
Similarly the Government was working to introduce a legal framework that would enhance the responsibilities of Boards of statutory organizations to stem corruption.
According to him, there existed a wide gap between the responsibilities of the directors of private sector organizations as defined in the Companies Code compared to their counterparts in State organizations.
Members of Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Accounts, Judiciary, NGOs, Civil Society organizations and anti-corruption agencies are attending the workshop.