GHANA FAILS TO RATIFY ANTI-CORRUPTION TREATY -- But Giselle Yazji—advised Ecuador Government okays it! Ghana under President John Agyekum Kufuor, with his theoretical commitment to “zero tolerance for corruption”, has signally failed to ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the first truly global tool in the fight against corruption, which is due to enter into force on 14th December, 2005, having received the requisite 30 ratifications from member countries of the UN.
On the contrary, Ecuador, under the direction of its Presidential Economic Adviser Ms. Giselle Yazji, one-time Economic Adviser to President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana, ratified the Convention on 15th September 2005, the day its President addressed the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Fifteen (15) African countries have so far ratified the Convention. They are Algeria, Benin, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.
Seven (7) countries from the Americas have also ratified the Convention. They are Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.
Only Sir Lanka from the Asia-Pacific Region has ratified the Convention.
From Europe and Central Asia, 6 countries – Belarus, Croatia, France, Hungary, Romania and Turkmenistan have ratified the Convention, while only Jordan from the Middle East Region has done the ratification.
The UNCAC, which represents a significant push in the international war against corruption, addresses issues of bribery payments, the laundering of corrupt income and the flight of corrupt officials.
It is also a powerful legal instrument that will:
· Accelerate the retrieval of funds stolen by dictators and other public officials, such as under Nigeria's Abacha regime, via faster and better cooperation between governments.
· Push banking centres like Switzerland and the UK to become more responsive to such investigations and take action to prevent money laundering.
· Enable global judicial action against the corrupt, no matter where they are hiding. Even without great resources, nations will be able to pursue foreign companies and individuals that have committed corrupt acts on their soil.
· Activate, for all parties, including major non-OECD trading powers such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, a prohibition on the bribery of foreign public officials, drying out a major channel for dirty money.
· Provide a framework for domestic anti-corruption legislation, introducing, in particular, whistle-blower protection, freedom of information and accountability systems for the public sector.
· Require measures to enhance accounting and auditing standards in the private sector and punish non-compliance.
So far, 129 countries, including the G-8, have signed the Convention, which was opened for signature in December 2003, giving it an unprecedented geographical reach, though only a quarter of them have ratified it.
It is not known whether Ghana is one of the countries that have signed the Convention, but it is known that Ghana has not ratified it.
Transparency International, the leading global non-governmental organization devoted to the fight against corruption, has expressed the hope that countries would do more than sign the Convention and that they translate the UNCAC's provisions into action by next ratifying it and then enforcing it.
Transparency International also hoped the Convention's follow-up Conference in late 2006 for signatory states would generate an explicit and effective system for reviewing each country's implementation of the Convention.
“Ghana Palaver” has learnt that President Kufuor's former Economic Adviser Madame Giselle Yazji, with whom she claims to have had twin sons named John Kufuor and Philip Kufuor, who is now the Economic and Investment Adviser to the President of Ecuador, was instrumental in pushing for the Ecuadorian ratification of the UNCAC.
Observers of Madame. Yazji's tussle with President Kufuor suspect that a possible motive for this Ecuadorian move to ensure that the Convention comes into force is to enable Ghana, when the situation is ripe, to go after the Kufuor family whom she has accused of corruption, capital flight, abetment of evasion of duty, money laundering and operation of illegal foreign accounts and illicit offshore companies.