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21.11.2005 General News

MPs across Africa gather to tackle corruption

By GNA
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Accra, Nov. 21, GNA - Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, the Deputy Minority Leader, on Monday urged Africans to face up to the fact that corruption was a real issue holding back the development of the Continent.

"It is time to move away from talk shops on corruption and direct our energies at combating corruption," he told Members of Parliament across Africa attending an Annual General Meeting of the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC) in Accra.

Mr Adjaho, also Chairman of the Ghana Chapter of the Network, said Ghana was in the process of adopting the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and urged the government to quickly introduce the Freedom of Information Bill as part of measures to check corruption.

Dr Donald Bobiash, Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, said: "Along with international agreements and national legislation, of equal importance in the struggle against corruption, is the building of awareness.

"In many African countries, there are rising expectations by the public that corruption and misuse of government funds are no longer acceptable. This is at the heart of an African revolution, a revolution in which APNAC is playing a leading role.

"When people no longer accept corrupt practices and put pressure on their politicians and political parties to stop them - a breakthrough will have been achieved.

"Simply put, international organisations and aid donors can provide assistance, but only Africans can direct and lead the changes that will make their countries more democratic," Dr Bobiash said. He urged people on the Continent to push for equal opportunities for all, fair and transparent elections and freedom of speech. On some assistance to Ghana, the Canadian High Commissioner, said: "We have quadrupled our development assistance, going from 12.5 million dollars in 2001, to 55.8 million dollars this year."

Mr Augutine Ruzindana, President of APNAC and a Ugandan Member of Parliament, said APNAC was committed to empowering African Parliamentarians and Parliaments in their oversight function to hold corruption in check.

He said corruption affected the provision of social services including the availability of clean water and health facilities. The three-day meeting would see the election of new officers and chart new ways to deal with corruption on the Continent. The Canadian Parliamentary Centre is supporting the meeting, attended by MPs from both English and French speaking countries on the Continent.

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