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14.07.2004 Regional News

Workshop on good governance underway in Takoradi

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Takoradi, July 14, GNA - Mrs Augustina Akosua Akumanyi, Deputy Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in-charge of programmes, has said that, all loopholes through which corruption is enhanced should be plugged for democracy to succeed in the country.

She was speaking at the opening on Wednesday of a two-day workshop on: "Democracy and Good Governance in Ghana" in Takoradi. The workshop, jointly organised by the NCCE and the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) was under the theme:" Fighting Corruption - An Agenda for Democracy and Good Governance".

Mrs Akumanyi said corruption; democracy and development were not bedfellows.

Where corruption holds sway, she said, resources for effective development "are spirited away into wrong hands leaving little or nothing for the purpose for which they were acquired". Mrs Akumanyi said in extreme situations, the social structure became distorted with opulence in the midst of poverty.

She said every effort should be made to ensure that poverty was reduced as much as possible as efforts were being made to deepen the country's democracy.

She said this could be done if every pesewa earned or borrowed was judiciously spent so that the people could have the benefit of good education, potable water, good roads and good health.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, in an address read for him, said corruption should have ceased in the country by now, because governments had been overthrown on allegations of corruption. He said those, who were loud and uncompromising in their condemnation of corruption and corrupt practices, easily succumbed to corruption and even become unreasonably greedy and avaricious when they eventually found themselves in positions of responsibility. Mr Aidoo said: "What seems to be a truism under the circumstances, is the assertion that those who criticise and condemn others for being corrupt are only looking for opportunities to practice corruption in its worse forms."

The Regional Minister said there were upright men and women in Ghana, who were prepared to join the Leadership of the country in the crusade to rid it of corruption.

Mr Aidoo said the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Serious Fraud Office and the Office of Accountability had crucial roles to play in the struggle to stamp out corruption in the society.

He said when these organisations should be well resourced to enable them to function more efficiently and effectively to achieve the desired objectives.

Mr Kwaku Baa Owusu, Regional Director of the NCCE, said many people could not estimate the full implications and the cost of corruption to themselves as individuals and the society as a whole. He said to many people, if government was cheated in any form, it was an "impersonal government that loses", but this cumulatively thwarted the country's efforts to promote democracy and ensure good governance.

Mr Daniel Batidam, Executive Secretary of GII, spoke of the need to de-politicise the struggle against corruption. He said Ghanaians were hesitant about participating to eliminate corruption and urged the people to reduce opportunities for people to be corrupt.

Mr Batidam called for the creation of right institutions and mechanisms to prevent corruption. He said corruption was so prevalent in the country that a broad based initiative was needed to bring it under control. Ms Valerie Amate, Chief State Attorney in-charge of the Western Region, and the Most Reverend John Martin Darko, Catholic Bishop of Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese, jointly presided.

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