01.06.2004 General News

Gov't asked to rethink the anti-corruption agenda

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Accra, June 1 GNA - An official at the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said the national momentum to sustain the crusade against corruption had been undermined by the sporadic approaches adopted by successive governments.

Alhaji Muhammad Abdullah, Head of the Special Services Unit of the SFO, said:" The approaches have been messianic in nature and the general view has been to eradicate corruption between sunrise and sunset through revolutionary justice."

Alhaji Abdullah was speaking at a week's seminar being organised by The Les Aspin Center of the Marquette University of the USA for 16 civil society leaders from Ghana, Nigeria and Mali to expose them to multi-dimensional nature of corruption.

He said since the 1960s, attempts to bring down corruption have been through moral campaigns, administrative reforms and revolutionary penalties.

"One distinctive feature in the official government approaches had been the one man show strategy. This has never achieved anything beyond frightening the people into silence and sycophancy."

Alhaji Abdullah said the implementation of anti-corruption policies had been undermined by the interplay of vested forces that arrogated to themselves the "Know All Attitude" about issues.

"The tendency has been to forget that, the crux of the issue of governance and corruption in Ghana is about consensus for economic development and the reduction of poverty for a sustainable future." He said time-tested traditional system of consensus building and decision-making should be the homegrown solution to the elusive search for a vibrant system of governance.

Alhaji Abdullah said "all inclusiveness" was the catch phrase underlying President John Agyekum Kufuor's policy on good governance and anti-corruption.

"However, from its pronouncement to this date, the issue has been badly handled. The basic premises of all inclusiveness were not properly understood.

"It should be recognised, however, that all inclusiveness is crucial to the sustainability of policies because it lends credence to policy, particularly in a country where there is no consensus on the road map to national economic development, the directive principles of State Policy in the Constitution, notwithstanding." Alhaji Abdallah slammed the media for not being critical in the fight against corruption.

"It can be said that the knowledge capacity on the part of some new media practitioners is low. However the Constitution has trust upon the media the Herculean task of upholding the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people."

He said everyone had to transform his or her attitude to issues relating to corruption and good governance. The most visible partner in this transformation has to be the news media.

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