The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local chapter of Transparency International, on the African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Day, reminds Ghana of alleged corruption cases needing urgent and transparent investigations.
A statement issued by the GII, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the allegations of corruption in the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine (Sputnik V) from Russia was unresolved and that Government’s silence on the matter was deafening.
It said another issue of grave concern was the secrecy surrounding government’s contract with Frontiers HealthCare Services to carry out COVID-19 testing of passengers at the Kotoka International Airport.
“It is the hope of GII that the Government will carry out a transparent investigation into these cases and where it has already been done proactively, disclose the report to put the minds of Ghanaians to rest,” the statement said.
It noted that July 11, 2021, marked the Fifth Anniversary of the declaration of African Anti-Corruption Day by the AU, which was named: “Africa Anti-Corruption Day” in 2016.
The declaration was made during the 10th Anniversary of the coming into force of the Africa Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC).
The 2021 theme is: “Regional Economic Communities: Critical Actors in the Implementation of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.”
The statement said the theme could not have been more appropriate as the continent continued to battle the ravaging consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It noted that various studies had underscored the increasing corruption risk associated with national emergencies and joined other Transparency International Chapters on the continent to commend the Africa Union for keeping anti-corruption on the agenda of member states.
“While GII wishes to commend the AU for the efforts thus far, we are also mindful that a lot more is required by Member States, including Ghana, if the innocuous canker of corruption is to be defeated,” it said.
The statement said the AU Advisory Board on Corruption (AUCPCC) continually entreated member states to promote compliance with the various articles under the Board.
It said this year’s theme, therefore, brought to the fore the need for all regional bodies and stakeholders to collaborate and coordinate efforts to ensure maximisation of opportunities to achieve the goal of the AUCPCC.
In keeping with efforts to promoting civil society participation in good governance in the region, GII and other Transparency International Chapters conducted a review of countries’ commitments under the
AUCPCC, the statement said.
“In the case of Ghana, the assessment focused on Article 6 – Laundering of the Proceeds of Corruption, Article 7 – Fight Against Corruption and Related Offences in the Public Service, Article 8 – Illicit Enrichment, Article 9 – Access to Information, Article 10 – Funding of Political Parties and Article 12 – Civil Society and the Media,” it said.
The findings indicated that Ghana partially complied with most of the articles reviewed with some outstanding issues, the statement said.
This includes Article 7, issues of Conflict of Interest of public officials not being criminalised; with officials who conflicted themselves in public office getting away with administrative sanction(s).
The statement said the 1992 Constitution only provided in Article 287(2) that the Commissioner of CHRAJ or the Chief Justice take “…such action as they consider appropriate….”
It said on Declaration of Assets, Article 286(1) required public officers to declare their assets and liabilities before assuming public office, every four years, and at the end of the term of office.
The statement said only some specified officers were subjected to the requirements and that the Public Office Holders (Assets Declaration and Disqualification) Act, 1998 (Act 550) made provision for other officers to be included on the list in section three and schedule.
It said the GII, therefore, called on the Executive and Parliament to prioritise the passage of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers Bill (2018), as most of the identified defects with the current laws on assets declaration, conflict of interest and code of conducts of public officers were addressed in the Bill.