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21.04.2005 General News

GII receives $450,000 grant to fight corruption

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Accra, April 21, GNA - Fighting corruption in public procurement was the one critical element if Ghana was to improve it's ranking on list of corrupt perception index, Danish Ambassador Flemming Bjork Pedersen said on Thursday.

He said documented effect of corruption in public procurement in a number of countries by Transparency International was not happy reading saying, "consistent efforts should be carried out to curb the situation".

Mr Pedersen said this at the signing of a 450,000-dollar agreement between Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and the Danish Embassy in Accra.

The agreement, which starts from 2005-2007 is to enable GII to concentrate on its core agenda of curbing corruption.

Mr Pedersenb said, "doing well in the African Context should, however, not mark the end of the struggle" because African countries in general were not doing so well in the corruption perception index. He expressed his pleasure that the GII with one of its core activities for the year would focus on the full implementation of the adherence to the Public Procurement Act.

He noted that reduction in poverty and the fight against corruption was the overall goal of Denmark development cooperation with partner counties.

It was unacceptable that money from taxpayers-be it Danish or Ghanaian, end in private pockets if such funds were meant to create economic and socio growth, the ambassador said.

"In the worst case, corruption can even lead to lack of trust in the fairness and objectivity of the very institution, which was created to protect the vulnerable, such as the court," he added.

Mr. Daniel Batidam, Executive Secretary of GII said the grant was to push forward the implementation of a three-year business plan carved out of a five-year strategic plan development in December 2003 to support civil society and the anti-corruption movement in particular. The grant, he said, had come at a time when government and other agencies were competing for the same donor support with sometimes-justifiable degrees of accountability from recipients.

" Fortunately, for us at GII, we have a track record of accountability to all donors and partners we have worked with so far and I wish to assure the ambassador that we shall exhibit the same spirit of accountability in the disbursement of the funding being given us for the next three years", Mr. Batidam said.

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