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04.06.2007 General News

Resources crime fighting bodies,

By Gabriel Amoah

The Asantehene, Otumfou Osei Tutu II has underscored the urgent need for Government to adequately resource the Serious Fraud Office, the Bureau of National Investigations as well as other anti-corruption agencies with state of the art logistics to help them fight corruption in the country.

The Asantehene said although the country has been making frantic efforts at curbing the menace of corruption, it has failed to identify its root cause. The lack of success in fighting corruption is blamable on a lack of logistics for the anti corruption agencies as well as Government interference in the activities of the SFO and BNI.

While Otumfou was advocating for Government to make sure that these agencies were financially sound to carry on with their duties, he called on the government to provide an atmosphere that would encourage independence in the execution of their duties.

Otumfou Osei Tutu made the call at the Manhyia Palace when the Head of Public Relations of the SFO, Helena Bekoe, accompanied by the Coordinator of Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions of the Office, Samuel Sarpong paid a courtesy call on him at Manhyia on Friday.

The Asantehene noted that the perception of corruption in the country was very high, particularly in the public sector, with the judicial service leading the pack, adding that the only way that the nation could wage war against the menace was to allow these offices to operate without any form of interference.

"What is killing our efforts in fighting this social canker is that some government officials, traditional rulers, pastors etc do not allow those found culpable to face the music of the laws of the land, they always intervene for these people with the aim of finding favour and to increase their popularity in the sight of these people", Otumfou stressed, saying "such practices do not only increase the practices of corruption but also undermines good democratic governance".

Describing it as unfortunate, the involvement of some traditional rulers in corrupt practices, he however warned that no chief under his traditional jurisdiction would go Scott-free if found indulging in any activity that would breed corruption.

"Let me once again give this note of caution to all those under my jurisdiction that if any case of corruption is put in front of me, though the law will take its own course, the traditional authority will also not spare such a person."

He praised the SFO for their efforts at crime fighting despite the lack of adequate modern logistics at their disposal, urging them not to be pressurised by anything in the execution of their functions.

Responding to Otumfou's call, Madam Helena Bekoe stated that her outfit was ever ready to uproot corruption in the system only if the public would be bold enough to divulge information about corrupt practices in society to them.

She assured that the SFO would always protect their informants and when reward is due such informants, they would definitely receive them.

She disclosed that the Japanese government has promised to build an ultra-modern office complex equipped with state of the art equipment for the SFO as their contribution to the fight against corruption in the country.

Apart from logistics, Madam Bekoe said inadequate staffing was also hampering the operations of the office.