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19.07.2004 General News

GII Exec. Secretary Charges Conflict of Interest

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Executive Secretary of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Daniel Batidam has questioned the morale behind the appointment of the Volta regional chairman of the NPP as the regional coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO).

According to him, even if the regional chairman was qualified, the appointing authorities ought not to have appointed him because of the position he held already.

To him, the regional chairman could easily compromise his position. Mr. Daniel Batidam was speaking on the theme, 'Fighting corruption: agenda for democracy and good governance,' at a two-day workshop organized by his outfit and the National Commission for Civil Education (NCCE) in Takoradi last Wednesday.

Batidam noted that the issue at stake represented a clear conflict of interest and that the regional party chairman could easily abuse his capacity as NADMO corordinator, which was a public service, to serve his private or partisan interests.

The secretary regretted that certain practices that occurred during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the current National Patriotic Party (NPP)'s regimes, persisted, thus undermining the nation's efforts at achieving high standards in governance and the fight against corruption.

"The tendency over the years has been for governments, especially new administrations to lean towards the adoption of curative measures in the fight against corruption, an approach that has so far proven not to be effective enough to deal with an endemic problem such as corruption," he said.

He called for the enforcement of Article 284 of the constitution on the issue of conflict of interest since the latter had become a major issue that needed to be looked at when it came to developing a meaningful and operational code of conduct of ethics for public officials.

"The practice where the board of state - owned enterprises and institutions are loaded with relatives and party loyalists and where ministers of state, judges, members of parliament among others are chosen, based on parochial considerations, needs to cease sooner than later," he said.

In a speech read on his behalf, the regional minister, Mr, J B. Aidoo noted that those who were very loud and uncompromising in their condemnation of corruption and corrupt practices easily succumbed to corruption and even became unreasonably greedy and avaricious when they found themselves in positions of responsibility.

"What then seems to be a truism under the circumstances is the assertion that those who criticize and condemn others for being corrupt are only looking for opportunities to practice corruption in its worst forms," he said.

Mr. Aidoo charged the participants to identify the root causes of corruption, the environment considered conducive to the creation of corruption, what actually constituted corruption and who were the principal partners in the practice of corruption.

The regional minister was hopeful that at the end of the workshop, a significant breakthrough would be achieved in the quest for a solution to the eradication of corruption, which was a disturbing social canker that continued to eat into vitals of our society.

The Catholic Bishop for Sekondi-Takoradi, Most Rev. Martin Darko, elucidated how some Ghana Education Service (GES) officials at Akim Oda attempted to take bribe from one of his sisters who had been posted from the place to teach in the Catholic schools in Takoradi, before processing her papers.

He said after tossing her up and down for several days, she was finally told that she ought to give out "something" before her file could be traced and her transfer effected.

"I told her never to give out that "something" because they were being paid to do so," he added.

The Bishop also recounted how officials of one of the government hospitals in Takoradi took large sums of money from him to perform an operation on one of his members but failed to issue him with a receipt when he requested for one He noted that all these corrupt practices would not augur well for the development of the country and called for attitudinal change.