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26.05.2006 General News

Expose Those Who Give Bribes

By Lucy Adoma Yeboah

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Nana Juaben-Boaten Siriboe, has challenged procurement officers to expose people who try to influence them in the award of contracts.

He said in exhibiting such attitude, not only would they be protecting their integrity but also ensuring that society as a whole was the bigger beneficiary if such people were exposed and their companies blacklisted.

“You have to expose them when they come to disturb you with bribes and if possible the companies they represent should be blacklisted to serve as a deterrent,” he stated.

Speaking at the opening of a week-long Commonwealth Senior Executive Programme on Building Bridges on West African Public Procurement Systems, Nana Siriboe said society normally did not talk about those who gave bribes but they were the ones who usually made the move so as to win favours.

The workshop, sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the government of Ghana, is being attended by participants from Ghana, Cameroun, The Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and officials from the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.

Touching on public officials and the issue of corruption in Ghana, Nana Siriboe said it was important for the staff of the Ministry of Finance to be careful not to fall into temptation, since it was the only ministry which had seen two of its former ministers imprisoned in recent times.

The chief director said the government of Ghana attached greater importance to ensuring that the Public Procurement Act 663 was effectively implemented so that there would be value for the country's scarce resources.

He said the reason was that procurement took between 50 and 70 per cent of the total budget after personal emolument in Ghana, adding that in Africa, the procurement market was estimated at an average of between nine and 13 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In her address, a representative of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, Ms Noreen John, said public procurement reforms were relevant for the West African region, where the context of prolonged political and social crisis and the resulting economic problems in the region, otherwise noted for its abundant wealth and dynamic human resource, had created environments in which corruption could thrive.

Quoting from Mr Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, Ms John said “corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a government's ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustices, and discouraging foreign investment and aid”.

She called on the participants, who were all senior public officials, to help create the environment where resources of the region could be effectively utilised.

The Chairman of the Public Procurement Board, Mr Abbey Sam, who was the chairman for the function advised the participants to share ideas and experiences from their individual countries so that after the meeting, each one would be equipped to do the right thing.