30.05.2005 General News

Legislation alone cannot ensure accountability, transparency

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Accra, May 30, GNA - Mr Frank Agyekum, Government Spokesperson on Governance, said on Monday that legislation alone was not enough in the fight to ensure accountability and transparency in official circles. He said although enacting legislation was necessary, the struggle against corruption and graft would only be won when constitutional bodies, the Media and the law enforcement agencies were adequately resourced to carry out their mandate.

It was in this direction that the government since the assumption of office had been making efforts to build the right support structures while strengthening and enhancing the capacity of existing ones to be able to deliver on the anti-corruption drive, he said.

Mr Agyekum was speaking at the opening of a capacity development programme on anti-corruption and good governance for 18 participants drawn from civil society and government agencies from Ghana, Nigeria and Mali.

The weeklong programme, which is being organised by The Les Aspin Centre, a leadership-training institute, aims to equip participants with practical skills for reinforcing accountability systems in the private and public domains.

Realising the important role of information flow in the battle against corruption, Mr Agyekum said, the Government took immediate steps to decriminalize speech through the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law to give the Media the necessary bite to do their work without fear. There is also the Right to Information Bill, which would soon be placed before Parliament to enable public officials to easily provide information to members of the public and the Media.

Besides, the Whistle Blowers Bill to empower individuals to come out with deals of corruption without victimization has received Cabinet approval and would be placed before Parliament.

Mr Agyekum said the Government had also given more budgetary allocation to the Serious Fraud Office, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice and other law enforcement agencies to enable them to carry out their mandates of scrutinising and evaluating corrupt practices.

Dr Olatunji Kolapo, Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, said next to poverty, corruption was the biggest challenge to Africa's quest for development.

"Where there is the presence of corruption development is stifled and people suffer the more," he said. 30 May 05

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