17.06.2005 General News

Bossman: Fight against corruption would be mirage unless...

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Accra, June 17, GNA - Mrs Anna Bossman, Acting Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), said on Thursday that the fight against corruption would be a mirage unless government exhibited strong political will to prosecute all those who crossed the path of justice, irrespective of their status.

"Political will must be manifest not only in statements but in action by top Government officials towards the eradication of corruption," Mrs. Bossman stated at a workshop organised by CHRAJ for senior level officers of the Commission to deliberate on draft guidelines on the Conflict of Interest document. The political will must be translated into the provision of financial, logistical and human resources support for anti-corruption agencies and the promulgation of strong anti-corruption legislation, including empowering the anti-corruption agencies to enforce their findings, she said.

In addition, anti-corruption agencies should be truly independent and free from interference and influence from any sources, political, social or otherwise. Mrs Bossman said the appointing procedure for the head of the agencies should be based on competence and they should work independently and discharge their duties without fear or favour from the party in power. "Once appointed, the head of anti-corruption agencies and staff should be independent of political control and interference in the day-to-day conduct of their duties." Mrs Bossman also recommended the removal of limitations and obstacles that hindered the effective operation of anti-corruption agencies, which include inadequate financial and human resources, delay in release of funds, shortage of core legal staff and deep rooted and entrenched negative work culture and attitudes. Others are weak political will, lack of financial autonomy, insufficient funding from government, lack of enforcement and prosecutorial powers and non-implementation of anti-corruption legislations.

Mrs Bossman recommended the upgrading and strengthening anti-corruption unit of CHRAJ to a departmental level, logistical empowerment, identification of core staff and recruitment of investigators as well as building the anti-corruption capacity of officers. She also recommended increased public education and awareness on evils of corruption, promotion of ethics and values for the youth, development of human rights training manuals and the development of guidelines on conflict of interest for public officers.

Mrs Bossman urged Government to improve and rationalise Anti-Corruption Legislations including the Whistle Blowers Bill and the Freedom of Information Act.

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