25.03.2004 General News

Make Political corruption a criterion for funding

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Accra, March 25, GNA- International financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF and other donors need to take political corruption into account when deciding to grant loans to governments. They should also establish sensitive criteria to evaluate corruption levels and ensure that funds are used for their rightful purposes. Mr Daniel Batidam, Executive Secretary, Ghana Integrity Initiative, who made the call at the launch of the 2004 Global Corruption Report in Accra on Thursday, said donor governments needed to equally insist on adequate civil society monitoring of good governance in recipient countries than depend solely on government rolled out statistics. The Global Corruption Report for this year focuses on corruption in the political process and its impact on public life in societies across the globe.

Mr Batidam said because of the negative impact that political corruption had on economic and political development of most countries; there was the need for the Ghana government to enhance legislation on political funding and disclosure.

"This means given public oversight bodies such as Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Auditor General's Department as well as the law courts, adequate resources and skills and the power to review and investigate and hold offenders accountable."

Mr Batidam called on government to implement adequate conflict of interest legislation, including laws that regulate the circumstances under which elected official may hold a position in the private sector or a state-owned company.

"In the same spirit of openness, political parties, candidates and politicians should be willing to disclose assets, income and expenditure to an independent agency. Such information should be presented in a timely fashion, on annual basis as well as before and after elections," he said.

Mr Batidam urged Government to pass the Freedom of Information bill since a guaranteed right to information is an essential, practical anti-corruption measure and a mark of transparency and accountability in government.

Ms Anna Bossman, Acting Commissioner of CHRAJ, who launched the report, said the Commission's anti-corruption unit has been upgraded to a department under a Deputy Commissioner to enhance its anti-corruption mandate.

She said one of the activities the Department would undertake include the investigations of corrupt activities and embezzlement by public officials mentioned in the Auditor General's Report.

Ms Bossman said the insufficient budgetary allocation CHRAJ received from Government had been a major challenge in carrying out its multiple mandate, including the fight against corruption.

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