EU COMMENDS GHANA
…For Reducing Corruption
By Adu Koranteng
The Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to Ghana, Diana Acconcia, has commended the government of Ghana for taking bold measures to deal with corruption in the country.
She said the implementation of the paperless port system and the migration of some public institutions, including the Lands Commission, Ministry of Tourism and the Passport Office onto the various digital platforms were remarkable inroads aimed at enhancing productivity.
Mrs Acconcia gave the commendation at the second National Dialogue on Public Accountability: Abuse of Office, organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on Tuesday in Accra.
It forms part of the European Union – Ghana Anti-Corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability Programme (ARAP), a five year programme of EUR 20 million, aimed at supporting the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) of Ghana.
The programme of the EU is aligned with NACAP objectives to build the capacity of civic education providers such as the –National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Civil Societies and the media– to conduct campaigns, advocate and lobby for increased accountability and a reduction in corruption.
Mrs Acconcia said such measures strengthen and improve the delivery of service within the country’s public sector and the ease of doing business.
Professor Stephen Adei, the Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), commenting on the theme, called for legislations that could allow State institutions to investigate into average individuals, who display wealth overnight.
“I believe that we must look at our laws and make it easier for those who are corrupt to be fished out and punished. We must come to a point where the average Ghanaian must be asked to explain their source of wealth,” he said.
Professor Adei said the country must move away from talking about corruption perception and accept that there was endemic corruption, in order to focus attention on what to do to eradicate it.
Mr Daniel Domelevo, the Auditor-General said people had gone unpunished for abusing public offices over the years for their personal gains and that had increased the appetite for others to do same.
He said there should be an enforcement on the existing laws against corruption, which had remained dormant all these years.
“People have gone into public offices not because of the burning desire to serve the Nation or because they have the competence to be there but it’s only an opportunity to improve themselves,” he said.
He said the report in the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) was a true reflection on the grounds and called for urgent actions to end corruption.
Madam Clara Kasser-Tee, a Board Member at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD) said the complaints mechanism for the fight against corruption was not encouraging enough.
She said the country needed to effect the necessary changes to ensure that corruption complaints were treated differently and effectively.
“We will have to separate a complain mechanism for corruption differently from other complaints. So we have two complaints mechanisms; one for unrelated corruptions complaints and then the other complaints related solely on corruption,” she said.
The Board Member said “we will not achieve anything if the mechanisms are there, the reports are made and nothing comes out of it – people will very soon get tired,” she said.
Madam Josephine Nkrumah, Chairperson of the NCCE said it was a worrisome trend that the abuse of office has become the order in the governance system.
“In the public sector and in some instances in private sector, it finds expression in cronyism, nepotism, abuse of facilities and benefits associated to one’s office and through intrusion and collusion with private sectors,” she said
She said the menace had also been perceived to characterize appointments in the public sector as friends and families of governments that have plagued successive governments through the country’s democratic journey.
Madam Nkrumah said those accepted “norms and practices” had led to mediocrity and the weakening of public institutions and in effect, stagnating national development.
She urged citizens to be mindful of their duties and work effectively and conscientiously in their chosen occupation to develop the country.