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Dec 5, 2018 | General News

CHRAJ Launches Anti-Corruption and Transparency Week

By Emmanuel Ajarfor Abugri
CHRAJ Launches Anti-Corruption and Transparency Week

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has launched Anti-Corruption and Transparency Week this year under the theme, “Winning the Fight against Corruption-A Panacea for Ghana Beyond Aid?”

Speaking at the launch ceremony in Accra, the Minister for Planning, Hon. Prof. George Gyan-Baffour said Government is strengthening anti-corruption institutions to enable them address corruption, promote probity, accountability and transparency by providing them more resources.

He noted that apart from allocating more resources to CHRAJ for the implementation of National Anti- Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), Ghana is reconstructing a modern office block for CHRAJ to replace the offices that fire destroyed in 2013.

The minister added that the Office of the Special Prosecutor is receiving 180million cedis allocation with efforts currently being implemented to adopt the necessary supporting legislation to enable it take off.

According to him, Government is enforcing the Public Procurement Laws to ensure value for money.

He indicated that efforts are being made to curtail sole sourcing, an avenue for corruption.

Prof. Gyan-Baffuor noted that these measures have resulted in saving the state of Gh₵1.8 billion from January 2017 to October 2018.

He stressed that the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda as well as Government’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017-2024) will suffer if corruption is not properly addressed.

The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Joseph Whittal said the main purpose of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Week is to promote effective implementation of NACAP, sustain the campaign against corruption, and generally enhance integrity in the country.

According to him, corruption, like every other criminal mind, also change in their modus operandi almost every time.

“Today it is "daylight" stealing of public resources either through public procurement or sheer abuse of public power or office, often accompanied by extreme rationalizations of such theft. The next day, it is “419” or other innocuous ways of thievery such as quiet corruption. The cost of these acts of corruption can be devastating and constant assessment of our strategies to confront corruption is not only necessary but critical.

Mr. Whittal added that the ACT Week that brings together major anti-corruption practitioners, advocates and policy makers is an event organized every year.

The Commissioner indicated that the event will discuss the implementation of the NACAP progress report for 2017, launched the NACAP Online reporting Tool (NACORD) and greed on a road map for the implementation of the recommendations of the UNCAC Review in the 1st Cycle, among others.

According to him, in 2014, Ghana adopted the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) as the blue print for fighting corruption in the country.

He said while its implementation commenced in 2015, Ghana signed unto Agenda 2030, which sets out the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with attendant 169 targets and over 230 indicators for implementation from 2015-2030 as well as Agenda 2063 in same year with ambitious aspirations.

“The fourth year of the implementation of NACAP comes to an end in a few weeks. Can we (Government, MDAs, MMDAs, Private Sector, civil society and civil society organisations, Faith-based organisations, media and the general public) confirm that we have done what the NACAP expects us to do in the first 4 years?. That, I believe, you would find out in the week,” the Commissioner stated.

Mr. Whittal posited that information available to him indicates that not many partners/agencies showed interest in the implementation of NACAP and that insufficient funding for implementation of NACAP remains a threat to its success.

In a presentation of GII’s report on the African Union Convention On Preventing and Combatting Corruption (AUCPCC), by Mr. Charles Ayandoo, indicated that, the AU in recognising the negative impact of corruption on socio-economic development of the continent, adapted a convention in 2005 with many member states signing onto it as the main framework to guide their efforts at combatting the canker.

He said the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC) served as the institute to facilitate the anti-corruption crusade.

Mr Ayandoo revealed that, Ghana’s effort in criminalising corruption dates back to 1960 with the enactment Criminal Offence Act (Act 29).

He said the section 239 of the Criminal Offence Act (Act 29) criminalized corruption, yet corruption still remains a major challenge in the country.

The study for the African Union Convention On Preventing and Combatting Corruption (AUCPCC) report covered selected articles related to Money Laundering, illicit enrichment, Funding of Political Parties, Civil Society and Media, Code of Conduct and Assets Declaration, and Confiscation and Seizure of Proceeds and Instrumentalities of Corruption.

According to Mr. Ayandoo, key among the findings from the report showed that, Ghana has not criminalized illicit enrichment as a corruption offence, yet Ghana is in compliance with the minimal requirement of article 5 , paragraph 1 and article 8, paragraph 1 of the AU Convention.

In terms of Ghana’s obligations under article 6 of the AU Convention, he said the analysis showed that Ghana was in full compliance with the anti-money laundering Act 2007 (Act 749), as amended by Act 874.

On asset declaration, Mr. Ayandoo stressed that the regime was deficient in many respects and reforms were required in order for the country to maximize the benefits of a strong assets declaration regime.

With Political Party Funding, according to him, there was no clear limits on campaign financing, neither was there transparency in campaign financing.

He said these and many others the study said required serious consideration to strengthen transparency in Political Party financing in the country.

In terms of reporting and monitoring of the implementation of the AU Convention, Mr. Ayandoo posited that the study found that many civil society actors and stakeholders were more aware of the UNCAC than the AU Convention.

And though the AU Convention recognizes the role of the civil society and the media in curbing corruption in its article 12, he said that provision is yet to be practicalized.

The study however, recommended that government must consider establishing illicit enrichment as an offence in order to be able to prevent illegal acquisition of wealth not only for public officials but by any person-private or public.

Government should also speed up reforms of the assets declaration regime to curtail anticipatory declaration and ensure transparency in the regime. And also nominate one lead institution responsible for ensuring the reporting of the implementation of the AU Convention similar in what pertains in relation to the UNCAC.

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