The Head of European Union (EU) delegation to Ghana, Ambassador Diana Acconcia, has expressed her organisation’s commitment to partner with government in the fight against corruption in the country.
That, according to her was to be done through the Anti-Corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability Programme (ARAP) as a tool to ensure good governance and human rights and increase accountability standards in the country.
Ambassador Acconcia was speaking at the Ghana-EU political dialogue forum dubbed, ‘EU meets the media’ held in Accra yesterday.
Participants included representatives of the EU member states in Ghana, civil society organisations (CSO’s) and journalists.
Ambassador Acconcia described corruption as a criminal issue that affects the whole economic and social development of the country and weakens governance which in turn generates and fuelled organised crimes.
She stated that corruption also stifled economic growth, undermined the rule of law and wasted precious human and natural resources.
Ambassador Acconcia said the ARAP would build the capacity of the civic education providers in the country such as the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Commission for Human Rights and Administration Justice (CHRAJ), CSOs and the media to conduct campaigns which would increase the rate of reporting corruption cases by citizens.
It would also allow for government mechanisms to prevent and prosecute corruption as well as advocate and lobby for increased accountability and reduction in corruption.
The ARAP strengthening the law enforcement agencies found in the country, she said would support the police and the Judiciary to combat corruption within their ranks.
Ambassador Acconcia noted that the ARAP would build the capacity of the Judiciary to hear and rule on corruption cases, offences and also build prosecutors’ capacity to prosecute corruption and related offences as well as enhancing accountability standards in the country.
She disclosed that the EU as part of its commitments to use the ARAP as the tool to fight corruption in the country led the expansion of the Public Relations and Complaint Units (PRCU) of the Judicial Service across the ten regions in the country.
In addition, she stated that the ARAP has also assisted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent environmental offences and fight crimes such as mining and forestry in the country.
She disclosed that the EU has implemented the ARAP as a five-year programme with EUR 20 million to support the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) of Ghana to fight corruption in the country.
BY EVANGEL KELVIN AINOO