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06.12.2005 General News

Revelations at AG's Dept are not by chance - JAK

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Accra, Dec. 6 GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor has asked Ghanaians to appreciate that the shocking revelations lately reported from the Accountant-General's Department and exposure of illicit dealings at the Ports and Harbours are, as he put it, not happening by chance.

They were as a result of the serious efforts the Government was making to expose havens of corruption that had been in existence for decades, he said.

President Kufuor, who was speaking at the seventh edition of the Ghana Club 100 Award at the Accra International Conference Centre, said the declared zero-tolerance for corruption entailed that the social evil should be fought at different levels including using personal and the institutional approach.

He spoke of actions taken by the Government at the institutional level in its anti-corruption campaign and said these included the enactment of the Financial Regulation Law, the Procurement Law, the Internal Audit Agency Act, equipping of the Police Service and assistance to the Judiciary to speed up the court processes.

"It needs to be stated also that the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and other statutory agencies which are equally resourced do not need prompting from any quarter to undertake any investigations they deem worthwhile.

"They should all rise to the occasion to do what is expected of them to ensure good governance in the country" he said. President Kufuor said on the personal level, containment of corruption required self-discipline, self-restraint and a good moral disposition and that where any failings showed others should have the courage of their convictions to prosecute allegations within the limits of due process.

"Anything else is not only harmful but could exacerbate social tensions. All who can assist so that wrong-doers are brought to book should not consider their work done if they merely talk to one another."

President Kufuor re-affirmed Government's total commitment towards encouraging participatory approaches to governance, which engaged all sections of society including the media in the debate on governance and economic policy direction.

He, however, pointed out that the debate should be conducted at all times with a sense of responsibility and with a focus on social improvement.

"In this respect, it is regrettable that some of the fledgling media houses seem determined to be reckless with allegations. Government is careful not to be seen as wanting to gag anybody, but it is only fair to insist that once made, allegations should be followed through with proofs. Failing that, use of the courts by the aggrieved for redress must be accepted as also fair."

President Kufuor told the Ghana Club 100 members that the driving force for the country's private sector development was "our concept of market".

He said: "We should no longer think in terms of ECOWAS or Africa. We are guided by our appreciation of the global market with all the opportunities, which the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Doha round of talks are unveiling".

He said it was on the basis of this that the Government was heightening its public sector reforms and various training schemes to empower the private sector. 6 Dec. 05

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