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31.05.2006 General News

Govt urged to strengthen laws against corruption

By GNA

Donkorkrom (ER), May 31, GNA- The acting Executive Secretary of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, has called on the Government to strengthen existing anti-corruption laws by including the imposition of stiffer punishment for perpetrators of corrupt practices to reduce the high rate of corruption in the country.

She also urged Parliament, as matter of priority, to pass the Whistle Blower and Freedom of Information Bills to enhance the exposure of corruption in the society.

Mrs. Ofori-Kwafo was addressing a two-day "Democracy and Good Governance" workshop organized by the GII in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) at Donkorkrom on Tuesday on the theme, "Fighting corruption, an agenda for democracy and good governance."

It was attended by Assembly members, teachers, Heads of Departments and opinion leaders drawn from the Afram Plains District. She explained that the primary objective of the workshop by GII, the local chapter of Transparency International (TI), was to seek a national definition of corruption to raise awareness about its negative effects and to empower citizens at the local level to demand responsiveness, accountability and transparency from people and institutions in the communities.

The participants were taken through topics such as "Manifestations of corruption in Ghanaian society", "Enhancing good governance through effective decentralization", "Focus on District Assembly system and local participation" and "Social auditing for good governance."

Mrs. Ofori-Kwafo called for a strong code of conduct and reward for civil-public servants and political appointees who exhibit high standards of performances and commitment to duty as well as increased civic education to sensitize the people on issues bothering corruption and good governance.

She appealed to the people of the Afram Plains District to desist from undemocratic practices such as vote buying, abuse of incumbency, misuse of state resources and partisan campaign in the forth-coming District Assemblies elections.

The Eastern Regional Director of the NCCE, Mr Emmanuel Quaye-Sowah, described corruption as "a social parasite which destroys in a very silent, subtle, and pervasive manner", adding that it was gradually strangling the societal core values of honesty, hard work, respect for authority and honour for standards, excellence and the falling standards of education.

He urged the participants to critically examine the extent to which irresponsible leadership in the home, schools, work places, religious organizations, traditional ruling and the political arena were impacting negatively and contributing to corruption in the society. In an address read on his behalf, the District Chief Executive, Mr Solomon Fordjour, noted that since fighting corrupting was "a process and not an event", all stakeholders should co-operate and contribute towards the eradication of the canker from the society.

He said though a lot of books and articles had been written about corruption, it still existed in various quarters in the community and urged the participants to come out with effective measures to eradicate in the area.

A retired teacher, Mr Emmanuel Siaw, saw the country's democratic system as corrupt "so we should get back to our culture to implement some cultural practices that dealt against corruption and implement them."

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