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09.09.2005 General News

No benefits from zero-tolerance of corruption

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Koforidua, Sept 09, GNA - The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has said despite the government's declared intention to pursue zero tolerance for corruption, not much was seen in terms of reaping the benefits that could accrue from systematic policies that are capable of delivering the dividends of good governance.

It noted that based on its studies on corruption and good governance in the country, there was the need for more proactive and concrete action by all stakeholders to stem the growing tide of corruption, or perceived corruption.

Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, the Programmes Manager of the GII, said this when opening a two-day workshop organized by the GII in collaboration with the New Juaben Municipal office of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) at Koforidua on Thursday.

The workshop formed part of the GII's programme to promote democracy and good governance in Ghana and had the theme, "Fighting corruption- an agenda for democracy and good governance".

Mrs Ofori-Kwafo said recent surveys the GII conducted in Accra, Tema, Takoradi and Kumasi, showed the high perception of corruption. "Part of this stems from high administrative and bureaucratic procedures, including the fact that most people, especially public servants, demand for 'something' before rendering services in their line of duty."

She said Ghanaians in general were noted to have a high level of tolerance for corruption, saying most respondents interviewed said, "They look on unconcerned when witnessing acts of bribery and corruption".

The report also indicated that certain tendencies such as political nepotism, cronyism and ethnicity appeared to have eaten deep into Ghanaian social fabric such that "nobody seems to see anything wrong with them."

Nana Kwasi Adjei Boateng, the New Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, said in an address read for him that the government's determination to fight corruption was evidenced by the legislations on public procurement, public finance management and internal audit units as well as the bills on Freedom of Information and Whistle Blowers.

He said what was required to complement government's efforts was civil society collaboration, especially at the local community level where the actions and inactions of public institutions were most felt.

Mr Francis Cobbah, the New Juaben Municipal acting Director of the NCCE, said corrupt practices by public officials not only destroy the potential and effectiveness of governmental programmes but also hinder development.

He said Ghana was making a mark in the international arena for exemplary political leadership, democratic governance, respect for human rights and steady economic growth.

''Tackling corruption effectively has become more urgent because it will give assurance to the development partners that proceeds from debt cancellation will be prudently managed to speed up socio-economic development.''