9 July 2012

Ghana: EU Worried Over Corruption in Ghana

The ever-increasing corruption in the country, which has provoked public debates in the ongoing trial of Woyome, the CP saga, and now the Gallopers drama, has caught the attention of the country's development partners, especially, the European Union (EU).

With the menace fast-gaining grounds in the fabric of the Ghanaian society, the EU shares the view that the earlier measures are put in place to address the problem, the better.

It has in effect, encouraged the government of Ghana to pursue and step up its fight against the canker, since it was gradually getting out of hand.

The EU made this observation at a political dialogue meeting with the Ghana government, held on July 3, 2012, in Accra.

The meeting was under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, which demands political dialogue meetings between ECOWAS member countries and their development partners.

The event was co-chaired by the Vice President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, and the Ambassador of the EU delegation to Ghana, M. Claude Maerten.

Present on the Ghanaian side was Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration, Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei, Minister of Energy, Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science & Technology, Seth Terkper, Deputy Minister of Finance & Economic Planning, Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade & Industry, and Leslie Kojo Christian, Chief Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration.

The EU contingent had the ambassadors of the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and Ireland participating in the meeting.

Corruption in the country has seen little efforts by the government in combating it. From the road sector to the agricultural industry, millions of Ghana cedis are either misappropriated or unaccounted for.

Promotion and recruitment into the Police Service have had its share of the challenge, with state intervention programmes such as the School Feeding Programme and National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) being used as havens in amassing wealth, not to mention the Civil Service.

On the other side of the aisle are political appointees who have, in one way or the other, been made to step down or resign their posts without being tried for allegedly engaging themselves in corrupt practices while in office.

What makes things worse for the country is the presentation of fictitious documents by certain individuals or organisations to claim a chunk of the Ghanaian tax payer's money from the government treasury for, apparently, no work done.

Currently, a self-acclaimed financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alfred Agbesi Woyome, is standing trial for fraud and causing financial loss to the state, to the tune of GH¢51 million judgment debt awarded him.

Another issue doing rounds in the public domain is the GH¢17 million Gallopers, which cost has suddenly ballooned to $1.5 billion over the past decade.

These and other matters, the EU noted, must be reduced to the barest minimum, if not completely eliminated.

It welcomed Ghana's commitment within the framework of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA), to prioritising transparency and accountability, peace, stability and national cohesion, as the main underlying principles of the national development plan.

The EU and its member states stressed the importance of ensuring the effective protection of all human rights for all Ghanaians, including persons belonging to minorities.

The development partners further welcomed the work done by the Constitutional Review Commission in 2010-2011, the issuance of the white paper by the Government on June 20, 2012, and called for its smooth implementation by the Implementation Committee.

They praised the decision taken by the government in its white paper to completely abolish the death penalty in the country's Constitution, and also took note of the important steps taken with the adoption of the Presidential Transition Act, and the inclusive political process carried out to achieve this result.

Both partners reaffirmed their ambition to maintain and develop a deep and long-term strategic partnership, based on the shared values of the Cotonou Agreement, that is, respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including respect for fundamental social rights, and democracy based on the rule of law and transparent, accountable and good governance.

They also shared their common analysis on the peace and security challenges in the country, and the West African region in general, where they highlighted the need for a holistic approach to address the root causes of insecurity by combining security and developmental policies.

The Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) and the Africa-EU Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment were considered by the parties as the overarching frameworks for the further strengthening of the EU-Ghana partnership on Migration and Mobility.

They underlined the importance of the four equally important thematic pillars of the GAMM;

a) organising and facilitating legal migration and mobility; b) preventing and reducing irregular migration and trafficking in human beings; c) promoting international protection and enhancing the external dimension of asylum policy and; d) maximising the development impact of migration and mobility.

On trade and investment, both parties emphasised the need to promote sustainable economic growth and diversification, trade liberalization, and an environment conducive for private sector development.

They agreed on the importance of the transformation of raw materials to value-added products to promote industrialisation, the modernisation of agriculture, and to enhance the competitiveness of the private sector.

The EU and Ghana shared a common objective to conclude the negotiations of an ECOWAS-EU Economic Partnership Agreement.

They acknowledged the benefits accruing from the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement initialed in 2007 between Ghana and the EU, and that its implementation should be finalised in order to promote further the investment climate between the two partners, and to offer additional opportunities for economic partnership, diversification and job creation.

The two parties, again, reaffirmed their commitment to co-operate in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations, in support of adopting a single global and comprehensive instrument applicable to all parties by 2015.

On the regional front, the participants welcomed the increasingly effectively leadership role ECOWAS was playing in promoting peace, security and stability in West Africa. They pledged their commitment to support ECOWAS in addressing security and development challenges in the Sahel and Gulf of Guinea.

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