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29.05.2012 Politics

Traditional authorities urged to demand accountability

By GNA
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Tamale, May 29, GNA – The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), has called on traditional authorities and other opinion leaders in the country to demand accountability and transparency from public officers, to minimize corruption to enhance socio-economic development.

Mrs. Beauty Emefa Narteh, Communications Officer of the GACC, has observed that corruption had remained a great concern for the country, and that there was high perception that the practice was high in the country with poor people being the most affected.

She said that “people who are perceived to be corrupt have no regard for authorities, especially at the local level, since they assume and command more power than the leaders in the local and national level.”

Mrs. Narteh was addressing traditional authorities in Tamale on Tuesday at a days' workshop on capacity enhancement on the use of anti-corruption laws with focus on the whistleblower law.

She noted that corrupt people could easily influence and mobilize citizens against authorities.

Mrs. Narteh said in 2006, the Whistleblower Act (ACT720) was passed to outline the manner in which individuals may in the public interest disclose information that relates to unlawful or illegal conduct and equally provides for the protection of persons who make these disclosures.

She expressed worry about the low knowledge and education on the whistleblower law while institutions mandated to handle prospective whistleblowers were not well equipped.

Mr. Stephen Azantilow, Northern Regional Director for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, (CHRAJ) said the whistleblower law was aimed at fighting or reducing corruption and other forms of impropriety through user friendly and approachable media methods.

He said the whistleblower law seems to be in conflict with some provisions of the 1992 Constitution, and cited Article 41 of the constitution, which makes it mandatory for every citizen to uphold and defend the constitution.

Mr Aantilow said that there was the need for an independent body to handle results of investigations made under the act instead of the Attorney General (A-G).

Mr. George Amoh, a Resource Person for the workshop, indicated that it was the responsibility of traditional authorities under the whistleblower's act to receive disclosures of impropriety and investigate complaints.

He said they were supposed to send disclosures to the A-G within seven days, and assist the whistleblower to report to other authorities such as the CHRAJ.

GNA

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