Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local chapter of Transparency International, has launched its Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) in Kumasi, to empower citizens to make and pursue corruption related complaints.
The centre would also provide legal advice and assistance to victims and witnesses of corruption, set up database on corruption in the country based on complaints received from the public and use the data on complaints to advocate for greater structural and institutional changes.
Cases to be handled by the centre would include health, education, mining, land administration, media, licensing, procurement and registration affecting both the private and public sectors.
According to Mr Michael Henchard Okai, Project Manager, the centre would seek redress for the complainants, seek punishment for the perpetrators and improve on governance to ensure equity and fairness in the country, adding that those who could not have access to formal legal services would now have the opportunity to lodge their complaints with ALAC.
Mr Okai indicated that the centre would not dare publicise individual cases of corruption without the prior consent of the parties involved in the matter or pursue anonymous complaints.
He mentioned that there would be consultations with lawyers and referrals of complaints to anti-corruption agencies and other state bodies for investigation and sanctioning.
“It is a free, confidential and professional service that offers victims and witnesses of corruption an avenue to report and pursue incidences of corruption for redress,” he intoned.
Mr Mark Kakraba Ampeh, Executive Director of Lands Resource Management, who chaired the function touched on land issues in the country and was hopeful the centre would live up to expectation to bring equity and fairness to those whose rights had been infringed upon.
He urged the GII to be keen on fraud issues emanating from the land sector, to ensure that those who were given parcels of land for investment were not cheated.
The Project leader, Lilian Bruce, observed that land acquisition in the country had been a big challenge because of the absence of special laws to regulate the sector, which had given rise to corruption.
She said the object of launching the ALAC was to ensure transparency and urged all and sundry to feel free to deal with the centre by reporting issues for redress.
FROM KINGSLEY E. HOPE, KUMASI