Parliament yesterday approved the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (2012-2020) (NACAP) for implementation.
The NACAP is expected to contextualize and mobilize efforts and resources of stakeholders to prevent and fight corruption through the promotion of high ethics and integrity as well as vigorous enforcement of applicable laws.
It aims to institutionalize efficiency, accountability and transparency in the public, private and not -for profit sectors as well as conduct effective investigations and prosecution of corrupt conduct.
It also focus on causes, effects and measures to control corruption and outlines measures for strengthening key anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies, improving investigation and prosecution.
A report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the action plan said "NACAP integrates anti-corruption measures into the programs and activities of public sector organizations and allows for collective action and sustained coordination of efforts as well as the judicious application of resources to combat corruption."
The report noted that the fight against corruption will bear no fruits without raising the awareness of public officials and the general public to the dangers of corruption and the success of NACAP would depend on human resource capacity and adequate funding of the various institutions involved in fighting corruption.
The report also recommends the adoption of a definition of corruption in Ghana to "encompass and capture all aspects and types of corruption" and proposes a definition as "the misuse or abuse of office or power for parochial or private gains".
It recommended the passage of a comprehensive code of conduct and rules of ethics to govern the actions and inactions and create a value base society, implementation and practice of an all-inclusive participatory, transparent and accountable good or smart governance, as well as the appointment of persons with necessary competence to be in charge of monitoring, evaluation and periodic review of all these national plans against corruption.
In a contribution to a motion moved on Thursday, 26 June 2014 by the Chairman of the committee, Mr Alban S.K. Bagbin, for adoption of the report, Ben Abdalah Banda, Deputy ranking member of the committee noted that in spite of the numerous laws on corruption the practice is on the astronomical rise, adding that the Plan would help strengthen institutions to fight corruption.
He said the Plan when adopted and approved by the House would serve as a trigger for donor support, adding that no investor would want to invest in an economy devastated by corruption.
He stressed the need for governments to show commitment and political will in the fight against the practice.
"It is the opinion of the committee that given all these measures and anti-corruption agency if there is no political will and commitments all these efforts will be in vain and all agencies cannot do their work. There is therefore the need for government to show the political will such that if any corrupt practices are discovered the government will not drag its feet such that such officials are punish and brought to book," he said.
A former Minister for Health, Joseph Yeileh Chireh, (MP) on his part "urged members to be less protective of each other whenever it comes to issues of corruption."
He called for measures to ensure accountability and criticised the winner -takes system where the political party with the most votes whether or not a majority is achieved is the absolute winner.
Joseph Osie Owusu, MP for Bekwai, on his part touched on the challenges anti -corruption agencies faced in the country and observed "we as a country does not seem to have a culture that supports and sustains anti-corruption practices."
He, however, noted the "such a culture can only be built by making sure that is no tolerance of breach of any rule."
NACAP integrates anti-corruption measures into the programmes and activities of public sector organisations, particularly MDAs and MMDAs, and key actors in the private sector. It enables collective action and sustained co-ordination of efforts, as well as the judicious application of resources of stakeholders to combat corruption and constitutes the benchmark to assess the performance of stakeholders, especially government, in the fight against corruption.
It adopts a long term strategic perspective and utilises a three-prong approach to the fight against corruption, namely prevention, education, investigation and enforcement.
Source: ISD (Gilbert Ankrah)