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06.12.2005 General News

Top public officers must eradicate corruption

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Accra, Dec. 6, GNA - Ms Anna Bossman, Acting Commissioner for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), on Tuesday said top officials in public institutions must exhibit the political will to eradicate corruption in their own institutions for the anti-corruption initiative to succeed.

This political will must be manifested in action and not in statements; must be translated into financial support; operational requirement such as provision of logistics and quality personnel with improved conditions of services to attract and retain qualified staff. Ms Bossman was speaking at a day's workshop organised by CHRAJ for Directors of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for their inputs into a draft guidelines on Conflicts of Interest.

Conflicts of Interest is the state in which a public officer is not to put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicted or was likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office.

She said there was also the need for a strong anti-corruption legislation, which would give power to agencies to enforce laws and be truly independent and free from interference and influence. Ms Bossman said there must be increasing transparency and accountability, public education, sensitisation and awareness creation of all forms of corruption in public institutions and the need to eradicate such practices.

She said public institutions should ensure compliance with codes of conducts and work ethics and violators should be prosecuted. She said people should be made to know that they were not to receive or demand money for any official work done, which he or she had been employed to do.

She said CHRAJ had the mandate to investigate alleged corrupt practices, take appropriate action to call for the remedy, correction and reversal of such instances including bringing proceedings to court. She said CHRAJ had handled 82 corruption related cases including conflicts of interest between 1994 and May 2005, 61 cases between 2000 and 2004 with five cases under investigations now.

She said currently CHRAJ was handling preliminary investigations on Dr Richard Anane and a hotel belonging to the son of President John Agyekum Kufuor.

Mr Charles Ayamdoo, Deputy Director, Anti-corruption at CHRAJ, said the guidelines would provide details on what conflicts of interest was about and to inform the public on what to expect from public officials in terms of conduct and attitude when dealing with them.