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15 September 2016

President Mahama deserves a second term – Daniel Batidam

batidamGovernance and Corruption Adviser to the president Daniel Batidam has made a case for a second term for the president John Dramani Mahama.

According to Mr. Batidam, the President and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government deserve second term in office to continue with measures put in place to especially deal with corruption in the country.

The anti-graft campaigner says the government under the current president has made corruption unattractive in the country.

In a statement exclusively made available to Ultimatefmonline.com he stated that, government in 2015 alone commenced the prosecution of 46 cases out of the 186 and recovered about GH¢2,4 million for the State.

He further stated that, 14 accounts and assets were frozen, while 13 cases were prosecuted.

The Governance Adviser contends further that, NACOB facilitated the arrest of traffickers and seizure of several kilograms of various illicit drugs and psychotropic substances, including a recent case of 414kg of cocaine with an approximate street value of 115million cedis while 3 accounts and assets of those involved were frozen.

He says an amounts of 180,600 CFA Francs, Swiss francs 2, 400, USD 672, 500 and Naira 3,745 crime proceeds were confiscated and seized last year alone.

Read his full article below

1. INTRODUCTION

Corruption is serious global problem. That is why it has attracted so much global attention. It has been recognized and well documented in international instruments and in various studies on the subject, that corruption, no matter how it is defined, is an evil phenomenon, found in all countries, big and small, rich and poor. Its effects are most destructive in the developing world (Africa inclusive).

Corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a Government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice and discouraging foreign aid and investment. It is a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development. (see-especially Forward by Kofi Annan on adoption of UNCAC)

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) government duly acknowledged the harmful effects of corruption when it stated that“Corruption and the use of state resources for personal gain by a few has derailed earlier gains to better the lives of Ghanaians. Precious resources of hard-working Ghanaians are wasted in corruption. For prosperity to truly spread, the corruption must end” (Manifesto 2008).

More recently, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, described corruption as “ a stain on our society, an enemy of our progress as a nation…” , which undermines the very principles of democracy…”, that we hold dear. (see Speech, 8 Dec. 2014, at NACAP High Level Conference).

Therefore, fighting corruption is central to the government. If not dealt with decisively, the creation of jobs, fostering and maintaining stability and advancing the development of the country, will be extremely challenging.

That is why the NDC government, right from 2009, when it assumed power, made clear its commitment to minimizing corruption, especially at the top levels of government. It assured the nation that it will take the necessary steps to combat corruption including:1) strengthening the legal framework and institutions;2) creating the enabling environment for the prevention and reporting of corruption and participation of civil society, the media, private sector, and general public;3) implementing the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP); and, 4) dutifully discharging our international obligations.

As H. E. President John Dramani Mahama prepares to complete his first term while the NDC party looks forward to its next term of office in 2017, it is only proper that the Mahama-led administration renders a truthful account of how it has tackled corruption over the past seven and half years.

2. STRENGTHENING THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK

When the NDC came into power in 2009 under the leadership of H. E. John Evans Atta Mills (may his soul rest in perpetual peace), apart from those laws passed before 2001, the previous New Patriotic Party (NPP) government had enacted five (5)laws relating to anti-corruption. These are:

Financial Administration Act 2003 (Act 654)

Internal Audit Agency Act, 2003 (Act 658)

Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663)

Whistleblowers Act, 2006 (Act 720)

Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act 749)

At the international level, the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AU Convention) were ratified in 2007 following a resolution in 2005 by Parliament for their ratification. The country also ratified the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on the Fight against Corruption.

The NDC continued to strengthen the legal framework. Under it, the following legislation got enacted:

1) Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Act, 2014 (Act 874);

2) Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act, 2012 (Act 842)

3)Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act, 2014 (Act 875)

4) Economic and Organized Crime Act, (2010), Act 804

5) Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, 2016

6) Mutal Legal Assistance Act, 2010 (Act 807)

7) Anti-Money laundering Regulations, 2011 (LI 1987)

8) Anti-Terrorism Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2181)

9) Audit Service Regulations, 2011 (C.I. 70)

10) Economic and Organized Crime Office(Operations) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2183)

11) Commission on Human Rights & Administrative Justice (Investigation Procedure) Regulations, 2010 (CI 67)

12) Fees and Charges (Amendment) Instrument, 2011 (L.I. 1986)

13) Internal Audit Regulations, 2010 (L.I. 1966)

Despite the strong legal framework, the outcome of the review of chapters 3 (Criminalisation& Law Enforcement) and Chapter 4 (International Cooperation) of UNCAC reveal gaps in the legal framework. These include Criminalising: Transnational bribery, illicit enrichment, Active and passive bribery in the private sector, Embezzlement in the Private Sector, amending the offence of Trading in influence to make it comprehensive, as well as re- defining corruption to cover offences that fall under the scope of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption

The following bills are pending in Parliament for passage into law:

Extradition Bill;

Whistleblower (Amendment) Bill;

Witness Protection Bill;

Right to Information Bill;

Real Estate Agency Bill.

Conduct of Public Officers’ Bill

Companies Bill

These Bills, when passed into law, will contribute to bring Ghana’s legal framework into full compliance with international anti-corruption instruments, notably the UNCAC and the AUCPCC.

3. BUILDING THE CAPACITY OF INSTITUTIONS & RESOURCES

Ghana has multiple institutions with the responsibility of investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating corruption and related offences. In order to fight corruption effectively, these institutions have to be strengthened in diverse ways, including supporting the establishment of integrity-enhancing measures in those institutions, training of officers, providing infrastructure and ensuring good inter-agency relations. Government has supported and encouraged these institutions to perform their functions as expected of them, and the records show an unprecedented performance by the institutions.

3.1. CHRAJ

Established in 1993, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) plays a critical role in the fight against corruption. It is the constitutional independent body charged with an anti-corruption mandate in addition to human rights and administrative justice mandates. Government has respected its independence and continues to strengthen the CHRAJ to perform its functions, including provisions of resources and creating the right atmosphere for support by development partners.

The CHRAJ has been able to undertake the following significant national reforms, among others, aimed at eradicating corruption, enhancing integrity, and generally promoting transparency and accountability in the country.

Developed the Code of Conduct for Public Officers
Provided guidelines on Conflict of Interest

Organised an Integrity Conference to provide a forum for the country to strategise on promoting integrity

Coordination in the development, adoption and implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP)

As a result of this level of attention, the CHRAJ stands tall among its peers on the continent.

The recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) which Government accepted in its White Paper, when implemented,will position it better to perform.

The proposed changes include empowering the Commission to conduct investigations on its own initiative; widening the definition of corruption to encompass all corruption-related offences provided under both the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption; and, making decisions of the Commission directly enforceable.

To deal with the unpredictability of funding which the CHRAJ and other Independent Constitutional Bodies encounter, government accepted to establish a “Democracy Fund” which will ensure sustainable funding for the CHRAJ and the other independent governance institutions in the country.

In addition, government will ensure that:

the membership of the CHRAJ is expanded from three (3) to five (5), namely – a Commissioner and four (4) Deputy Commissioners, including non-lawyers;
CHRAJ is empowered to initiate investigations without formal complaints in all aspects of its triple mandate and make its decisions directly enforceable by the Courts.

3.2. EOCO

The Government re-organised the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO of the Office) as a specialized agency to monitor and investigate economic and organized crime and, on the authority of the Attorney-General, prosecute these offences to recover the proceeds of crime.

In 2015 alone, the Office commenced the prosecution of 46 cases out of the 186 and recovered about GH¢2,4 million.[1] It froze 14 accounts and assets, secured confiscation in one (1) and prosecuted 13.

3.3. JUDICIARY

The Government has a key role to play in order to strengthen the independence and integrity of the judiciary. That is the reason whygovernment is doing its best to provide the Judicial Service and the Judiciary with the necessary resources and facilities for the efficient performance of its functions.

Government has achieved the following in relation to the Judicial Service in general, among others:

construction of a new court complex with the most modern facilities housing 34 courts;

provision of USD 5 Million for the development of an “e-Justice project” to assist in ensuring speedy and efficient delivery of justice;

provision of three video conferencing and teleconferencing equipment to enable the Judicial Service conduct face-to-face interaction with Judges in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, which also allows remote participation in meetings, both locally and internationally;

Improved and enhanced the Access to Justice Programmeand supported the opening of a High Court at Nsawamin relation to the programme.

3.4. POLICE SERVICE

A Digital Surveillance System designed with over 400 CCTV cameras has been installed and is currently being manned by a detachment from the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service.

The number of Police officers has increased from twenty-three thousand, two hundred and four (23,204) in 2012. Currently, the strength of the Service has increased to 32,117. This brings Police-Population ratio to 1:784 as against 1:1,100 in 2010. This has not only brought the country closer to the United Nations’ benchmark of 1:500. It has also led to an increase in police visibility and accessibility, which are key prerequisites in the prevention, detection and control of crime and corruption.

The Ghana Police Service, with the approval of Government, introduced Visibility & Accessibility Patrols alongside Community Policing, Tent City Systems and Street Policing Strategies. The Formed Police Unit was also established to deal with public order management. The Patrol’s presence has positively impacted the flow of vehicular traffic in many of our cities.

Furthermore, Government has facilitated the establishment of a Police Command and Staff College in Winneba and recruited 3,000 personnel. Government has acquired 2 mobile clinic vans, 6 marine police speedboats, 14 “Maverick” armored vehicles and some communication equipment to aid operations. The police have also received more than a 1000 vehicles to enhance their mobility.

3.5. NACOB

Empowering NACOB to deal effectively and efficiently with the drug menace as part of fighting Narco-Terrorism has been pursued vigorously. Beyond taking steps to improve public education, our security agencies have stepped up their operations to fight against the abuse of, and trafficking in narcotics.

Last year, NACOB facilitated the arrest of traffickers and seizure of several kilograms of various illicit drugs and psychotropic substances, including a recent case of 414kg of cocaine with an approximate street value of 115million cedis. As part of our strategy to arrest the drug menace, the NACOB has been facilitated to open 8 additional regional offices, for which they have recruited 250 personnel.

In 2015 it froze 3 accounts and assets, secured confiscation in 2 cases and prosecuted 5 cases. The amounts of proceeds of crime confiscated and seized totaled CFA Francs 180,600, Swiss francs 2, 400, USD 672, 500 and Naira 3,745. (GIABA 24th Technical Meeting, p. 6)

Government has also initiated a draft Narcotics Control Commission’s Bill to replace PNDCL 236, which established the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).

Through the establishment of a ‘vetted’ Sensitive Investigative Units (SIUs), the DEA is also helping NACOB build integrity and resilience against corruption, and develop formidable investigative capacities within the unit to handle complex drug trafficking cases. In 2010, NACOB seized over 80 kg of heroin, over 220 kg of cocaine, over 3,000 kg of cannabis, and arrested some 47 individuals between January and October 2010; the Ghanaian police also made 286 arrests in the same period.

3.6. Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC)

The Anti-money Laundering Act of 2008 established the Financial Intelligence Centre, whose objects are as follows: (a) process, analyse, disseminate and interpret information disclosed to or obtained by the Centre within the law;(b) retain the information in a manner and for the period required by law;(c) inform, advise and co-operate with investigating authorities, supervisory bodies, the revenue agencies, the intelligence agencies and foreign counterparts, among others.

On coming into power in 2009, the Government made the FIC a fully functional institution by the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer and other staff. It now has over 40 staff. Government continued to support the FIC to build capacity in order to prepare it to perform its functions very well. An in deed, the records show that it has done so.

In 2011, the Centre through vigilance, froze USD$9.12 million and UK€3.5 million following the receipt of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs), while over USD$2.5 million were confiscated.

In 2014/15, USD 653,800 and 2,400 Swiss francs were confiscated. In addition, amounts of USD 18,700 CFA francs 180,600 and 3745 naira were seized. The FIC, EOCO and the Narcotics Control Board collectively issued fifty-eight (58) freezing orders in the period.(See page 6: report of GIABA 24th Technical Commission/Plenary Meeting, Nov. 2-6, 2015.)

In same year, the FIC received three hundred and ten (310) STRs and disseminated eighty six (86). From 2009 to date it has received over 1,000 STRs.

3.7. TangibleBenefits of Anti-Corruption Investments

The long-term benefits of the huge investment by Government in the strengthening of the legal and institutional framework to fight corruptionare obvious. The investments haveresulted in an increased capacity of the country to combat corruption, money-laundering and other predicate offences, the terrorists financing, illicit financial flows and other transnational organized crimes, among others.They have also led to an increased visibility of the country in the international arena.

As a result of the support by government, law enforcement agencies are able to investigate and prosecute without fear or favour. In the case involving ghost names on the payroll of the National Service Scheme (NSS), the Attorney General,in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, was able prosecute a number of persons implicated in the payroll fraud including a former Executive Director and his Deputy and thirty-five (35) officials. In addition, 163 other officers implicated in the fraudulent enterprise have been dismissed. In the interim, an amount of over 40 million cedis has been recovered from the accused persons.

Another major milestone relates to the prevention of false claims against the state. In 2015 alone, as much as US$900 million in claims against the state were successfully and effectively defended internationally. In the same year, the Attorney General’s Department successfully resisted claims of over US$100 million against the state at home.

In terms of convictions, information from the Ghana Prisons Service indicates betweenJanuary 2014 and November 19, 2015, 684 persons were convicted for corruption, whilst 748 were on remand. Of the 684 convicts, 44 were public officers (See Table below)

Table 7: Persons convicted/remanded for Corruption (Jan 2014-Nov. 19, 2015)

Offence Convicts Remand Public Officers out of Convicts

1) Fraud 198 190 11

2)Defrauding 471 555 24

3)Bribery 1 2 0

4)Laundering in Proceeds of Crime 2 1 0

5)Extortion 3 0 0

6)Corruption of Public Officer 8 0 8

7)Forgery of Judicial/Official Document 1 0 1

TOTAL 684 748 44

3.8. Inter-Agency Relations

The multi-institutional approach that the country has adopted to deal with corruption investigation, prosecution and adjudicationnecessitates the adoption of measures toimprove coordination, information sharing and collaboration among the institutions. This need for coordinationhas even become more urgent when it comes to the implementation of the Whistleblower Act, under which whistleblowers can disclose impropriety to “one or more” of the designated institutions.

Government,therefore, took significant steps to bring law enforcement and anti-corruption closer at various forums in 2015. As a result, a consensus has been reached in terms of the framework for the coordination. A Memorandum of Understanding, which would drive the consensus forward, has been finalized for signature and implementation.

4. SUSTANING AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT

The commitment to root out corruption largely depends on the sustenance of the enabling environment that the government has established since coming into power. Measures to uphold the rule of law, promote transparency and accountability, which continue to be critical guiding principles for the agenda for transformation, must be maintained and improved upon.

Therefore, during the period, government put in place measures including extending the extractive industries transparency initiative to the oil and gas sectors, improving upon tax transparency, introducing transparency in beneficial ownership information, establishing avenues for safe reporting on corruption, and protecting reporting persons, and generally continuing with public sector reforms.

4.1. Beneficial Ownership Register

Beneficial Ownership relates to a) the natural persons who ultimately owns or controls the right to or benefits from property, including the person on whose behalf a transaction is made, or b) the persons who exercise ultimate effective control over a legal person or legal arrangement.

Ghana is one of the first in Africa to have a law on beneficial ownership information and a Central Register of Beneficial Ownership. In July 2016, Parliament passed the Companies (Amendment) Act 2016 (Act….), which addresses the issue of beneficial Ownership information.

The object of the law is to provide for transparency in respect of the ownership and registration of companies by the inclusion of the names and particulars of beneficial owners of the shares of companies in the register of members, to establish a Central Register and to provide for related matters.

The law seeks to prevent the misuse of some corporate vehicles, other legal entities and arrangements, including Trusts, to hide the proceeds of crime. The benefits of requiring companies to keep beneficial ownership register is that,it increases transparency in terms of the identification of who really owns a company.

Ghana also signed up to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative, a multilateral initiative where governments make a set of commitments to promote transparency, fight corruption, empower their citizenry and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. Ghana, under the auspices of this partnership, has pledged transparency and openness in all sectors of our governance.

The commitment by Ghana to the OGP process has, in turn, driven yet another commitment to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) whichGhana signedunto since 2003, and significant work has been done to promote transparency in the extractive sector including oil and gas, which earned her an award in Peru this year (2016).

Ensuring transparency and accountability in our public life has been the focus of our administration because they breed trust, confidence and respect, and encourage citizens to make sacrifices. To create that enabling environment, priority has been given to the following, among others:

(a) Development and enforcement of good Codes of Conduct for office holders, chief executives, legislators and professionals, among others

(b) Non-interference by political leaders in the enforcement of laws

(c) Facilitating reporting of corruption and protecting victims and whistleblowers.

4.2. Transparency in Tax Matters

The country is also committed under various international agreements to ensure transparency in tax matters, such as the Addis Tax Initiative, which was adopted at the Financing for Development Conference. It is a Partnership in capacity building in the field of domestic revenue mobilization/taxation, in which each country takes its responsibilities, cooperates and supports onethe other.

In line with its commitment to transparency and accountability, governmentsubscribed to the Initiative and declared its commitment to raising domestic public revenue, to improving fairness, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of its tax systems, among others.

In addition, Ghana is committed to the Common Reporting Standard Initiative, which has its basis in the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, which Ghana is a member of and its implementation by Ghana is billed to begin in 2018.

4.3. Reporting Corruption& Public Participation

Institutionalized corruption relies on a culture of silence and tacit acceptance by the populace. Citizens must be emboldened to report corruption and play an active role in combating it.

Government is committed to making it easier for citizens to report corruption, to promote action, including by law enforcement on the information provided, and to protect “whistle blowers” and others in the public and private sector who take personal risks to provide critical information.

4.2.1 Protection of Whistleblowers

The Whistleblower Act, which provides protection for whistleblowers is being considered for amendment tofurther enhance the protective mechanisms for whistleblowers. Measures under this Act are in place to protect whistleblowers from victimization.

Further, the Witness Protection Bill, 2015, (drawn in compliance with UNCAC) envisages protection of reporting persons. A Witness Protection Programme is envisaged as well. These, together with the Right to Information Bill, which is before Parliament, will enhance the capacity of the public/citizens to report corruption.

Complementing the Whistleblower Act and other avenues being operated by law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies is the recently establishedCitizens Complaints Centers.The first in a series of these Centres, has been set up in Accra. In addition to walk-ins, the Centre receives and processes voice complaints using hotlines and an electronic webpage www.ghanacitizen.org.

These measures should embolden citizens to report incidents of corruption without fear of reprisal, and with confidence that any credible information they provide will be acted upon and their identity protected when necessary.

In that regard, government continues to support the role that professional media, investigative journalists and civil society play in complementing and reinforcing corruption reporting systems, including effective follow up.

4.4. GIFMIS& Pay Roll Reforms

One important public sector reform measure is the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) being implemented for Ministries and sub-vented agencies. Government now intends to incorporate Internally Generated Funds, Statutory Funds and Donor Funds into the GIFMIS. These Funds, comprising 34% of the budget, are presently operated outside the GIFMIS and their expenditure transactions do not form part of the GIFMIS reports.

Government continues to strengthen the integration of the Ghana Integrated and Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) with the Human Resource and Management Information System (HRMIS) to eliminate the institutional weaknesses, which allow criminal elements to perpetrate pay roll fraud.

The Controller & Accountant General has also initiated measures to ensure that bank account numbers of staff on Government of Ghana Payroll with commercial banks are consistent with the Electronic salary payment voucher (E-SPV) and Electronic pay slip (E-Payslip)

4.5. Promoting Integrity

Integrity is one of the fundamental principles of the Ghanaian society and a cornerstone of her democratic dispensation, reflected in the 1992 Constitution. It is the foundation for building public trust and confidence in state institutions. Article 37 (1) DPSP provides“(1) The State shall endeavour to secure and protect a social order founded on the ideas andprinciples of freedom, equality, justice, probity and accountability…”

A Public service with high levels of integrity contributes to the quality of democratic governance and socio-economic advancement.

Since the early efforts to promote integrity in 1998, when CHRAJ, in collaboration with its stakeholders, organized the first integrity conference in Accra, further measures have been implemented. In 2011, the CHRAJ organised a three-day conference on national integrity under the theme: BUILDING A ROBUST ETHICS INFRASTRUCTURE TO PROMOTE NATIONAL INTEGRITY.

The objectives of the Conference included the following:

To increase the understanding of the role of national integrity in good governance/ transparent public services

To develop practical strategies to consolidate measures and initiatives made since 1998 to build a stronger national integrity system

To provide a forum that will stimulate discussion, exchange of ideas and foster closer collaboration between the pillars of integrity in Ghana and international partners in general and anti-corruption agencies in particular
That Conference also validated the NACAP which is currently being implemented. H.E. John DramaniMahama, who opened the Conference, reiterated the importance the government attaches to integrity and assured the nation of the continued support of measures to deal with the fallen levels of integrity

Since the Conference, concrete steps have been initiated to enhance national integrity, including training of Ethics Officers, establishing a National Ethics Advisory Committee (NEAC) and a continuous enforcement of the Code of Conduct for public officers.

The Ethics Officers serve as ethics and compliance officers of their respective institutions, whilst the National Ethics Advisory Committee is one mechanism to enforce the Code of Conduct for Public Officers,including formulating a long-term plan for promoting high ethical standards in the public service and generally promoting high ethical standards among public officers.

5. THE NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION ACTION PLAN (NACAP)

In 2012, H. E. President Mahama assured Ghanaians that his government would implement NACAP when adopted and has demonstrated this commitment under NACAP amply well, as his office (the OoP)has the primary responsibility to ensure that the activities within the NACAP are implemented.

NACAP seeks to build a sustainable Ghanaian society founded on good governance and imbued with high ethics and integrity through 4 strategic Objectives:

To build public capacity to fight corruption and make its practice a low gain high risk activity;

To Institutionalize efficiency, accountability and transparency;
To engage Media, individuals, CSOs, (every person) in reporting and combating corruption, and

To conduct Effective investigations and prosecution
Following the adoption of NACAP in July 2014, H.E. John DramaniMahama, President of the Republic, officially launched NACAP at a High Level Conference on December 9 2014,and inaugurated a High Level Implementation Committee (HiLIC), chaired by the Chief of Staff at the Presidency.

HiLIC is to provide strategic policy direction and advice to implementing agencies/bodies, and assist CHRAJ, the Coordinating Institution, and the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) in the monitoring and coordination of the implementation of NACAP.

Beyond that, H.E. the President issued directives, in March 2015, topublic sector institutions to implement NACAP and submit regular reports to CHRAJ, with copies to the Office of the President.In the said directive, it was clearly indicated that the implementation of NACAP is a criterion for assessing the performance of Ministries, Heads and Chief Executive Officers of public sector institutions.

The Directives have been widely disseminated both by the OoP and CHRAJ during sensitization programmes on NACAP conducted throughout the country, through regional workshops. It is important to note that all these functions which were financed by the OoP, had in attendanceRegional Ministers, Regional Coordinating Directors, MMCEs/DCEs, Heads of Department as well as the media and civil society groups.

To further facilitate the implementation of NACAP, the OoP, in collaboration with CHRAJ, engaged in various other activities, including the following:

Hosted two meetings of the HiLIC and a workshop on the NACAP Implementation reporting Tool, prepared by the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, headed by CHRAJ and the National Development Planning Commission.

Through the intervention of the OoP, the Ministry of Finance released about GHc300, 000 specifically for the implementation of NACAP in 2016.

The OoP has also supported the organization of the NACAP High Level Conferences to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day in 2014 and 2015, during which H. E. The President delivered Keynote speeches.

The OoP, in 2016, continued to remind MMDAs, Regional Ministers and Regional Coordinating Councils to about their duty to implement their roles under NACAP and to submit implementation reports to the MONICOM at the CHRAJ.

In December 2015, when CHRAJ issued the maiden Progress Report on the implementation of NACAP, the OoP followed with a query to those public sector institutions that did not submit reports on their implementation of NACAP and has since issued warnings to the defaulting institutions.

The OoP made it clear that Heads of the institutions would be held personally responsible for any future failures, and that those not prepared to implement NACAP do not deserve to head public sector institutions or work under an NDC government. Such heads, it was noted, are in the wrong place.

Indeed, the policy of the NDC government as far as anti-corruption is concerned, is anchored in the NACAP, which is integrated in the GSGDA II. An NDC Government will therefore continue to do all in its power to implement NACAP, and thereby, effectively deal with corruption in a systematic and sustainable manner.

6. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Ghana shares the anti-corruption stance of governments whose aim it is to fight towards the eradication of corruption in our societies and, indeed, in our world-at-large, because no country is immune from it. On the occasion of the adoption of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, stated in his address that corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies as it is found in all countries – big and small, rich and poor. It is a transnational phenomenon that affects all countries, small and big. Corruption knows no borders.

Ghana is a party to a number of international instruments on corruption, the key ones being the following: UNCAC, UNTOC, AUCPCC and ECOWAS. As a party, it is obliged to fulfill its international obligations under the instruments.

Under UNCAC, Ghana recently went though the review mechanism, which identified gaps in implementation of the provisions of the UNCAC and steps are being taken to ensure the implementation of those recommendations, including the following:

A review of Ghana’s Criminal and Other Offences Act, 1960, to include those UNCAC offences that have not been captured in the Act.

The Conduct of Public Officers’ Bill is pending enactment by Parliament. This Bill consolidates existing laws on a Code of Conduct for Public Officers of Ghana, the Public Officers (Assets Declaration and Disqualification) Act 550. It seeks to provide opportunities for verification of assets declared, which is currently not the practice.

A Witness Protection Bill and the Whistleblower (Amendment) Bill are also pending in Parliament. These Bills, when passed by Parliament,would ensure adequate protection for reporting persons, whistleblowers, victims and witnesses.

Furthermore, Government and the relevant institutions are finalizing a road map to implement the other recommendations.

Ghana continued to participate in meetings and sessions of the UNCAC, the processes of the review mechanism, such as the Implementation Review Group Meetings, the meetings and sessions of the Working Groups on Prevention and Asset Recovery and Anti-Money Laundering meetings,as well as other anti-corruption and related fora. Ghana reviewed Uganda and is reviewing Central African Republic. She will review Indonesia beginning this year and will again be reviewed in 2018.This has, in no mean measure, contributed significantly to improving the image of Ghana within the international anti-corruption community.

Ghana is a key member of the African Union (AU) and has played a very important role in the affairs of the AU. In terms of the fight against corruption, Ghana has served on the AU Advisory Board on Corruption (the Board) since 2009. Ghana now chairs the Board and has since its inception been filing periodic reports on its implementation of the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.

Related to AUABC is the establishment of Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities in Africa, which Ghana also chairs and the Commonwealth Africa Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies, whose 2nd Conference, Ghana hosted in 2014. A year earlier, it hosted the Africa Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities in Africa. In all these international cooperation matters, the country has always been ably represented by CHRAJ,EOCO and the OoP.

Another development worth mentioning is the UK Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Summit, which H. E. The President, and for that matter, Ghana, participated.

The focus of the Summit generally falls in line with Ghana’s strategy to prevent and combat corruption, money-laundering and terrorist financing, among others. It also aligns with our obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the UN Convention against transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC), the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and ECOWAS Protocol on Corruption, among others.

7. INTERNATIONAL ASSESSMENTS – TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL (TI) & THE MO IBRAHIM INDEX (IIAG)

Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), the most widely quoted comparative corruption indicator, has played an important role in furthering the understanding of corruption the world over, including Ghana. It is unquestionably instrumental in creating awareness and stimulating debate about corruption as well as in focusing international attention on corruption issues, with its regular production of reports.

Ghana has been included in the CPI since 1999. The 2015 CPI showed that the performance of Ghana has improved significantly since its inclusion in the CPI in 1999, when it scored 33 out of 100. Ghana scored 47 and by that score occupied 56th position out of 168 countries. The score also placed Ghana as the 7th least corrupt country in Africa, comingonly afterCape Verde (42nd with 57 points); Seychelles (43rd with 55 points); Mauritius (47th with 54 points); Lesotho (55th with 49 points) and Namibia (55th with 49 points).

Ghana’s score on the CPI in 2008 was 39 out of a clean score of 100, which was maintained in 2009. It is believed that, due to the solid policies of the government, Ghana improved from 39 to 48 in 2014, albeit slipping slightly down to 47 in 2015.

Altogether therefore, under the NDC governments spanning 2009 to 2016, Ghana has improved by nearly 10 percentage points, from 39/100 in 2009 to 48/100 in 2014 (see table below).

YEAR SCORE YEAR SCORE
2008 39 2012 45
2009 39 2013 46
2010 41 2014 48
2011 45 2015 47
This is no mean achievement and is comparable to any of the best performance across the globe as far as the CPI is concerned.

In the lastMo Ibrahim index, Ghana scored 67.3 (out of 100) in overall governance, again ranking 7th in Africa. This score is higher than the African average (50.1) and higher than the regional average for West Africa (52.4). In terms of overall score in “Accountability,”[2] Ghana moved from a score of 54. 7 in 2009, to 56.3 in 2015, the highest score since 2007. Ghana was also said to be one of the countries which has remained consistent in the top ten IIAG list since 2002.(see2015 Ibrahim Index of African Governance[3]: Country Insights, Ghana)

In taking the many bold measures outlined earlier, the Mahama-led Government has not been oblivious to the dilemma that agitated the minds of leaders before us. This dilemma, christened the “paradox of exposure,” is where an open, transparent approach to fighting corruption leads to an erroneous impression that corruption is more pervasive and prevalent at a certain point than another – a misnomer that confuses increasing reportage with increasing incidence.

Despite this “paradox of exposure,” we will continue to strengthen transparency, openness and accountability so that there will be more exposures for the anti-corruption agencies to deal with.

Furthermore, the NDC government, as a listening government, values the views of every Ghanaian. Therefore, no matter how representative – even minuscule – the perception of segments of the citizenry about corruption in the country, it would be thoroughly evaluated and considered as appropriate.

As a Government, we welcome the heightened scrutiny of our actions. Indeed, we salute the media, Civil Society Organisations, Religious Leaders, and many others, in their effort to hold the feet of public officers to the fire of accountability. We encourage them to step up the fight further and even in their own backyards, because the plague of corruption and its effects are not discriminatory – it affects any and every one. To fight corruption is to fight for a much better life. It is for this reason that we will continue to view corruption as “mass murder” as routinely described by H. E. President Mahama. Let us therefore join hands to defeat corruption.

8.CONCLUSION

Corruption is a disease that requires robust treatment. The fight against corruption is everybody’s concern. “The role of the citizenry is critical as they constitute the most reliable resource and are the greatest weapon in this battle against corruption. Regardless of what strategies we develop, they will remain lifeless unless people breathe life and power into them, thereby giving them meaning.” (President J. D. Mahama, on 9th December 2014, during International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration in Ghana)

The NDCgovernment’s commitment to the fight against corruption is unwavering. Therefore, it will continue to implement the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), which is the blueprint for fighting corruption in the country.

We have to take measures, first and foremost, to prevent corruption from occurring in the first place. That means that the capacity of the public should be enhanced. The awareness of the public on the negative effects of corruption on their lives and the nation at large, should be a priority. These should be combined with enforcement (investigation and prosecution). Thus, the three-prong approach, as prescribed by the NACAP, is a useful strategy.

There is the need also to combine law enforcement with an approach that emphasises on building national integrity. Promoting integrity in the public service, motivating and rewarding honest public officers, among others, pays ultimately. Similarly, individuals in their personal capacities, citizen groups, the private sector, the media, and indeed all well meaning members and stakeholders in corporate Ghana, must consider the fight against corruption as a central part of “their business.” This is the only and sure way to deal a decisive blow on corruption in our dear country, Ghana.

Long live Ghana!

Long live the NDC!!

Long live President Mahama!!!

Daniel Batidam

Governance Advisor

Office of the President

Republic Of Ghana

 

 

Source: ultimatefmonline.com

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