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Government urged to commit adequate resources to combat corruption

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Mr Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), on Thursday said efforts to combat corruption must be holistic, combining prevention, enforcement and awareness creation.

He said in addition, the Government must commit adequate resources to combat corruption.

Mr Quayson was speaking on the State of Corruption in Ghana as part of activities to mark the Seventh Anniversary celebration of International Anti-Corruption Day in Accra.

It is on the theme: Speak up…Stop Corruption”.

He said one of the greatest challenges faced by the Commission this year, was the politicisation of crime and corruption which did not help in the fight against corruption.

“Last year, we expressed grave concern about the level of corruption that has characterised Ghana’s politics after post-mortem of Election 2008.

We were troubled by the vote buying, and all manner of corrupt practices the political parties perpetrated to gain political advantage over each other.

“Concern was also expressed about the impunity demonstrated by virtually all the parties in the open defiance of the Political Parties Law and election laws especially in the area of funding and accounts.

Unfortunately, we all went to sleep, and very little has been done to clean the stable,” he added.

Mr Quayson said, “In less than a year, we will witness vigorous political campaign, and unless something is done pretty soon to inject transparency, accountability and tame corruption in our politics, we will come back in 2013 to rehash the same frustrations, except that it may be worse next time given that oil wealth has raised the stakes.”

“A Government that is born out of corruption cannot fight corruption. The Commission hereby serves notice that it would wage a ferocious campaign on political corruption and election fraud as we enter the next political season. The fight against corruption is a shared responsibility. The nation needs all of us to stop corruption,” he stressed.

On corruption in the health sector, Mr Quayson said diversion of drugs from public facilities for sale in private pharmacies, soliciting money from well to do patients, and irrational medical consultancy fees were rampant.

He said reports from the Send Foundation-Ghana on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for the period 2004-2008 released in 2010 revealed a number of abuses of the Scheme.

The reported abuses included cheating, over-invoicing by some service providers, fraud, irrational prescriptions by health professionals and impersonation.

Mr Quayson said under the National Integrity Programme, the Commission had stepped up preventive and educational activities to reduce opportunities for corruption, and created awareness of the evils of corruption and called for public support for combating corruption.

He said the Commission organised workshops on the code of conduct and the guidelines on conflict of interest for public officers and heads of departments in the three regional capitals – Cape Coast, Takoradi and Ho.

Mr Quayson announced that the Commission had extended its education and awareness programmes on corruption and integrity to basic and second cycle schools in the Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts assemblies and created offices and facilitated the establishment of over 40 Integrity Clubs in second cycle institutions.

He said as part of efforts to ensure inter-state cooperation in the fight against corruption, Anti-Corruption Agencies within ECOWAS sub-region had established a network to exchange experiences, techniques, information and approaches in the fight against corruption.

Mr Quayson said the cocoa industry was plagued by massive cheating and underpayment of cocoa farmers by purchasing clerks, dishonesty and fraud in dealing with cocoa farmers and land users by the mining companies.

He said in 2011, the Commission intended to focus on areas facilitating the development and implementation of NACAP to fight corruption, establish an oil and gas unit and training of investigators and lawyers to deal with more aggressively human abuses, and injustices in the sector.

Source: GNA

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