Anti-corruption endeavours must be rooted in systems, investigations and prosecutions – AG 

Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, Attorney General and Minister for Justice, has called on Heads of Anti-corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa to fight corruption with well-established systems, investigations, and prosecutions. 

He said any serious endeavour to fight economic crimes ought to be rooted in the “establishment of systems for its deterrence, undertaking of investigations, sound vehicle for prosecution and punishment in a fair and efficient manner.”

Mr Yeboah Dame said this at the 14th Commonwealth Regional Conference and Annual General Meeting of Heads of Anti-corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa, an event which started May 6, and would last for a week. 

He spoke on the theme: “Strengthening Institutions and Promoting Transparency; A means of fighting Corruption in Commonwealth Africa.”

Mr Dame said the canker was perpetuated by government officials, businesses, civil society, the media, public servants, religious organisations and the ordinary person but demand for transparency at all spheres of our engagements would eradicate it.

The Attorney General urged the agencies to work and fight against the deployment of sophisticated schemes to circumvent procedures and facilitate the commission of crime as Ghana had in place “a robust National Identification System, Digital Property Address System, Paperless Port Systems, E-Justice Systems, Pensions and Insurance data and a digitized Land Title Registry.”

He said access to information remained a vital tool in the elimination of economic crimes, adding that it was in that vein that the Government in 2019, passed the Right to Information Act 2019 (Act 989) to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs.

He said Ghana had established the Office of the Special Prosecutor and put in place anti-corruption legislations like Revenue Administration (Amendment) Act, 2020 (Act 1029); Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2018 (Act 982); State Interests and Governance Authority Act, 2019 (Act 990) and Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2020 (Act 1044) to tackle the menace.

Other legislations are the Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency Act, 2020 (Act 1015); Companies Act, 2019 (Act 992); Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019); Real Estate Agency Act, 2020 (Act 1047); Whistleblower (Amendment) Act, 2006 (Act 720) and Contracts (Amendment) Act, 2023 (Act 1114).

Reports indicate that the global cost of corruption exceeds $3.5 trillion each year and Africa loses more than 50 billion dollars a year to illicit financial flow. In the past 50 years, Africa’s loss to corruption has exceeded the total of all the overseas development aid received during the same period. 

The one-week event is being hosted under the auspices of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Ghana, where representatives of 24 Anti-Corruption Institutions from twenty 20 Commonwealth Africa Countries would share their perspectives on the fight against corruption. The event is supported by the Government of Ghana and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

COP Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, Executive Director, EOCO, said the Anti-corruption Agencies sought to leverage the collective wisdom and experiences of Commonwealth Assembly to build societies free from the shackles of corruption.

“As we embark on this journey, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to uphold the values of integrity, accountability, and justice. Let us work tirelessly to restore public trust in our institutions and build a more prosperous future for all our citizens,” she said. 

The Executive Director said corruption undermines the very fabric of our societies, corrodes public confidence in our institutions, and suppresses economic development and as representatives, they bore a solemn duty to tackle the menace head-on.

Madam Tiwaa Addo-Danquah who takes over as Chairperson, Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies of Commonwealth Africa from Miss May Da Silva, Commissioner, Seychelles Anti-Corruption Commission, said her new role would afford her the opportunity to learn more for Ghana’s progress. 

Source: GNA

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