Minister of Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, has cautioned that, if the country loses hold on the fight against corruption, then the desire to go beyond aid will be threatened.

According to him, other economic and social interventions for rapid development, as contained in ‘The Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017 – 2024)’, was equally threatened until the fight was harmonized.

In view of that, Prof. Gyan-Baffour, indicated that government was committed to the reforms and initiatives that would substantially reduce corruption in society.

He mentioned that, the digitisation of port processes in the clearing of goods, the introduction of online passport application forms and the implementation of the transparent allocation of oil blocks, were some of the government’s efforts in fighting corruption.

Prof. Gyan-Baffour also indicated that, government has provided anti-corruption institutions with more resources to enable them to address corruption and promote probity, accountability and transparency in the country.

Noting that about GH¢180 million had been made available to the Office of the Special Prosecutor in 2019, and also equipping the Ghana Police Service with the needed logistics to aid them to operate more effectively.

He represented the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, at the launch of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency (ACT) Week celebration dubbed, “Winning the fight against corruption: A panacea for Ghana beyond aid” in Accra on Tuesday 3rd December, 2018, at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel.

The Week long celebration organized by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and its partners began on Tuesday 3rd December and will be climaxed on December 9 and run through to end on December 12, 2018, with a business forum that would be organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and the Private Enterprises Foundation (PEF).

In his welcome address, the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal, noted the occassion was going to share the progress report on the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) for 2017, which happens to be in its fourth year of implementation

He said, the highlights of the week would be the progress report on the NACAP as well as the launch of an online reporting platform for corruption.

He also quizzed that, “Can we, as a government, ministries, agencies, municipal and metropolitan assemblies, faith-based organisations, the media, confirm we have done what is expected of us under the action plan for the past four years?

According to him, many have not really showed interest in the NACAP, while insufficient funding also remained a threat to the plan.

The Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo, on her part in launching the 2019 Civil Society Integrity Awards, said, GII in collaboration with CHRAJ and other civil society organisations would recognise and honour organisations and individuals who have made significant contributions to curbing corruption in public procurement in 2019.

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), which is the local chapter of the global anti-corruption organisation of Transparency International (TI), seeks to recognise the efforts of outstanding individuals and organisations making significant contributions to the fight against corruption.

She noted that, nominations had opened and would be assessed by a five member committee of well-known individuals from the public and private sectors with expertise in anti-corruption.

In calling for submission of nominations, Mrs. Ofori-Kwafo indicated that, the eligibility criteria for the award would include nominees undertaken actions that significantly impact existing levels of corruption in public procurement in Ghana, and the actions must also be based on courageous, innovative or imaginative and deserving of wide national recognition.

She explained the winners of the Award would be honoured at a public ceremony which would be attended by a broad range of people and institutions supporting the anti-corruption crusade in across the country.

In a presentation of GII’s report on the African Union Convention On Preventing and Combatting Corruption (AUCPCC), by Mr. Charles Ayamdoo, indicated that, the AU in recognising the negative impact of corruption on socio-economic development of the continent, adapted a convention in 2005 with many member states signing onto it as the main framework to guide their efforts at combatting the canker.

He said the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC) as the institute to facilitate the anti-corruption crusade.

Mr Ayamdoo revealed that, Ghana’s effort in fighting corruption by criminalising it dates back to 1960 with the enactment Criminal Offence Act (Act 29).

He said the section 239 of the Criminal Offence Act (Act 29) criminalized corruption, yet corruption still remains a major challenge in the country.

However, the study for the report covered selected articles related to Money Laundering, illicit enrichment, Funding of Political Parties, Civil Society and Media, Code of Conduct and Assets Declaration, and Confiscation and Seizure of Proceeds and Instrumentalities of Corruption.

Key among the findings from the report showed that, Ghana has not established illicit enrichment as corruption offence as the first option, yet Ghana is in compliance with the minimal requirement of article 5 , paragraph 1 and article 8, paragraph 1 of the AU Convention.

In terms of Ghana’s obligations under article 6 of the AU Convention, the analysis showed that Ghana was in full compliance with the anti-money laundering Act 2007 (Act 749), as amended by Act 874.

On asset declaration, the regime was deficient in many respects and reforms were required in order for the country to maximize the benefits of a strong assets declaration regime.

With Political Party Funding, there was no clear limits on campaign financing, neither was there transparency in campaign financing. These and many others the study said required serious consideration to strengthen transparency in Political Party financing in the country.

In terms of reporting and monitoring of the implementation of the AU Convention, the study found that many civil society actors and stakeholders were more aware of the UNCAC than the AU Convention. And though the AU Convention recognizes the role of the civil society and the media in curbing corruption in its article 12, that provision is yet to be practicalized.

The study however, recommended that government must consider establishing illicit enrichment as an offence in order to be able to prevent illegal acquisition of wealth not only for public officials but by any person-private or public.

Government should also speed up reforms of the assets declaration regime to curtail anticipatory declaration and ensure transparency in the regime. And also nominate one lead institution responsible for ensuring the reporting of the implementation of the AU Convention similar in what pertains in relation to the UNCAC.

In attendance were Justice Emile Short, former Commissioner of CHRAJ,
Deputy Special Prosecutor, Ms Jane Cynthia Naa Korshie Lamptey, the Chairperson of National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Ms Josephine Nkrumah, the Deputy Director General in charge of Investigations and Anti-Corruption of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col Lawrence Atachine, CSOs representatives and many others.

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