The Majority Leader in Parliament and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has called for a holistic national effort involving all stakeholders to weed out corruption in the country.
He said leaving the war on the menace to a specific institution would be an exercise in futility since the domain of corrupt practices cut across all facets of national life.
“The fight against corruption will bear no fruits if adequate efforts are not made to raise awareness of public officials and the general public to the dangers of the canker.”
“Recognising that Parliament alone cannot win the battle against corruption, there is the need for more collaboration with all stakeholders if we have to weed out the menace,” he stressed.
The Majority Leader was speaking at a national forum on tackling corruption, especially among public office holders, organised by STAR-Ghana in Accra yesterday.
The forum drew participants from the academia, political figures, civil society organisations (CSOs) and other anti-corruption crusaders.
Touching specifically on the role of the legislature in fighting the menace, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the lack of strong control of the House over all stages of the national budget was a major threat to the fight against the menace.
“In most countries, the ultimate control over the national budget rests with Parliament, thus, parliamentarians have an input into how money is to be obtained and spent.
Regrettably, Ghana’s parliament is not involved in all the stages of the budget cycle, so it is impossible to enforce the accountability mechanisms to enhance transparency and accountability that will help check corruption,” he said.
He also cited the seeming loss of confidence by members of the public in Parliament’s ability to police the public purse because of the allegations of corruption levelled against some members of the House as a major impediment to the fight against corruption.
To reverse that trend, he underscored the need for the legislative body to take bold steps to redeem its image of the public perception of corruption so as to be able to lead the fight against the canker.
“There is the need for a review of Article 108 (a) (ii) of the 1992 Constitution to give Parliament the right to impose a charge on the Consolidated Fund under defined guidelines and conditions.”
“It is also important to enact legislations to entrench the independence of the Public Service from political interventions and to also ensure that the Auditor–General becomes an officer of Parliament and, therefore, mandated to be responsible and accountable to the House,” he added.
In his presentation, a governance expert, Professor Kwasi H. Prempeh, advocated a shift from curative mechanisms to preventive measures if the fight on corruption is to be won.
“We have always focused on sanctions as the way out in dealing with corruption in the country but we should rather redirect our efforts towards the motives and opportunities that facilitate the canker,” he stressed.
He said there ought to be a holistic view of corruption from all aspects of national life, including the private sector, rather than narrowing it down to politicians and public office holders.
Prof. Prempeh said all stakeholders, including CSOs, faith-based organisations (FBOs), as well as private sector players ought to be made an integral part of national efforts to fight corruption.
A Deputy Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Charles Ayamdoo, also said corruption had a multiplier effect on all citizens and so fighting it required collective effort by all stakeholders.
He said even though the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) spelt out modalities for ensuring accountability in governance and protection of the public purse, institutional weaknesses hampered its efficient implementation.
He urged the public to get involved in finding out how public resources were managed by people in authority and also report corrupt practices to the appropriate institutions in order for them to be dealt with.
Source: Daily Graphic
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