Indep endent body on corruption advocated

Nana Krobea AsantePROFESSOR S.K.B. Asante, a member of the Governing Council of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), has called for immediate establishment of an independent corruption agency to help government’s National Anti-Corruption Action Plan, launched on Monday.

“Evidence tends to suggest that even the much talked about somewhat commendable National Anti-Corruption Action Plan will fall short of expectation if not given genuine independence from political interference”, he said.

According to him, what was urgently needed was an independent corruption agency and not such government created institutions as the Financial Intelligence Centres and the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO).

Prof. Asante made the suggestion in Accra on Wednesday at the launch of the “2013 State of the Union Report (SoTU) on Ghana”, which was on the theme: “Ghana’s compliance with the African Union (AU) Protocols and Conventions”.

The SoTU report, compiled by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), is the monitoring of the states’ compliance with 16 instruments and policy standards of the African Union (AU), in order to ascertain the extent of compliance and facilitate, a dialogue on addressing challenges to implementation.

In 2009, 10 Pan African civil society organisations that met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, resolved to act collectively to monitor the conduct of AU member states and hold them accountable for the ratification and implementation of AU, decisions, hence the SoTU project.

Prof. Asante said Ghana’s efforts towards prevention and combating corruption “have not achieved much, to write home about”.

“The country needs to be noticeably aggressive about limiting avenues for corruption by eliminating the loopholes and conflict of interest inherent in the constitution that allow corrupt practices to go unpunished on the grounds of technicalities,” he said.

Prof. Asante, who is also the Executive Director of the Centre for Regional Integration, called for a strong political will to break the corruption chain in the country.

The 83-page report noted that Ghana had fairly complied with all the 16 instruments it had ratified with the AU while on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007), the country scored high marks regarding the consolidation of democracy.

The country also improved its performance on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Comprehensive African Agricultural and Development Plan (2003).

Ghana also made steady progress towards achieving the Abuja call for Accelerated Action Towards Universal Access to HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria by 2010 ratified in 2006, and the Maputo Plan of Action for Iimplementing the Continental Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Policy Framework 2007-2010 also ratified in 2006.

The report said the country had made significant strides in the fight against malaria, though a lot of efforts are needed to be made to attain the 75 per cent goal of malaria mortality and morbidity reduction.

Ghana also made remarkable progress in protecting the rights of citizens in some respects, but urged the government to spare no effort in fighting prevailing abuses, and close gaps in its compliance with international instruments on the rights of the citizenry.

Madam Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in a speech read on her behalf, noted that the country’s record of signing and ratifying international legal instruments had been positive.

“This unfortunately has not been matched with a similarly commendable record of implementation at the national level”, she noted and urged parliament, CSOs, the media and all stakeholders to assist government to implement the treaties and laws it signed at the international level.

Ambassador Victor Gbeho, who launched the report, urged all to acquaint themselves with its contents.

By Joseph Edu Archison

 

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