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15.06.2005 General News

Office of Accountability is not a duplication

GNA

Accra, June 15, GNA - Mrs Florence Sai, Chairperson of the Office of Accountability, has defended the establishment of the Office, saying it was not a duplication of efforts of the anti-corruption agencies. Speaking at a forum of key anti-corruption agencies on Tuesday, Mrs Sai said the office was unique and distinct from other governance institutions and agencies established under the 1992 Constitution. She described the office as an in-house mechanism aimed at preventing bribery, extortion and corruption from occurring in the first place.

"The Office of Accountability was established for the early detection and prevention of actions or practices by political appointees which could be perceived as corrupt, likely to be corrupting, or extortion," Mrs Sai said.

"The main object of the Office is, therefore, prevention and this makes it rather different from traditional and more orthodox institutions, which generally are for detecting, proving and punishing culprits for what has already been done," she said.

President John Agyekum Kufuor established the office in July 2003 Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) and the German Technical Cooperation organized the forum to enable key anti-corruption agencies to explain how they had been able to fulfil their mandates. On the question of its mandate, Mrs Sai said it was derived from the executive authority of the President and premised on a code of conduct, which should guide the performance of all political appointees to ensure accountable stewardship, honest and transparent service delivery and avoidance of any practice that could be perceived as corrupt.

She said the Office since its establishment had acted on a number of alleged impropriety by various appointees, adding that reports on such investigations were submitted to the President and it was for him to decide how to proceed or which course of action to take. Mrs Sai suggested collaboration between all agencies to effectively respond to the national anti-corruption drive.

Ms Anna Bossman, Acting Human Rights Commissioner, said for the anti-corruption drive to succeed political will must be seen to be working and be backed by adequate financial resources to enable the agencies to deliver on their mandate.

She said unattractive conditions of service and lack of enforcement and prosecutorial authority were undermining the efforts of the Commission to effectively carry out its mandate. Ms Bossman suggested that the Commission's budget be free from financial control of the Ministry of Finance.

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