President John Mahama
President John Mahama

After a day’s Dialogue session here on Monday which considered the hotspots for corruption in Ghana the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas recommended specific commitments expected of the President of Ghana to ensure that Ghana takes bold steps at eradicating corruption.

President John Mahama
President John Mahama

President Mahama left here for Britain on Wednesday to join other world leaders in the 2016 anti-corruption summit being hosted by the British government.

The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) therefore urged the president in a release issued here late Tuesday to commit among other things to an open and competitive process for awarding oil, gas and mining concessions ; and a mandatory requirement for the disclosure of contracts in the extractive sector.

They also wanted the president to declare to the whole world during the London summit, his commitment to a mandatory requirement for the establishment of a public register of beneficial owners in the extractive industries and all their associated interests in Ghana and abroad.

“This could be done through a number of planned legislations including the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Bill or the Companies Bill,” the CSOs suggested.

The CSOs emphasized that these commitments should also be backed by timelines to enable citizens to hold the President to account, lamenting that that much of the commitment to fight corruption in the past had been mere rhetoric without timelines and clarity on actions to be taken.

In addition, the 10poinnts also included a demand for a requirement for the criminal prosecution of public officials found to have engaged in conflict of interest during oil, gas and mining licensing and in the regulation of operations.

Also, it said the passage of the Right to Information Bill, the passage of the Petroleum (Explorations and Production) Bill, and the Subscription to Open Data Standards across Ministries Departments and Agencies, as well as confirmation appointed Heads of Institutions in time were needed to ensure their independence and security of tenure which would facilitate the fight against corruption in the country.

“It is our belief that our President who will be among world leaders to address the UK anticorruption summit, will use this great platform to commit the government to an anti- corruption agenda that will lay the foundation for a transformative society in Ghana, in which official impunity, corruption and mismanagement of public resources will be stopped,” the statement added.

The CSOs further urged the president to let Ghana sign on to the Voluntary and Automatic Frameworks for exchange of information to address illicit financial flows, and effectively implement the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) or transform it into an Anti-Corruption Law.

In 2014 Parliament approved of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (2014-2024) (NACAP) for implementation which is expected to contextualize and mobilize efforts and resources of stakeholders to prevent and fight corruption through the promotion of high ethics and integrity as well as vigorous enforcement of applicable laws. Enditem.

Source: Xinhua

by Justice Lee Adoboe

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