Ghana: Update Ghanaians On Your Activities - Gii Tasks Osp

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has called on the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to update Ghanaians on its activities so far, in line with section 3 of the Special Prosecutor Act that establishes it.

According to the anti-corruption group, public trust in the OSP was gradually waning as little 'action' had so far been seen from that quarter's in the fight against corruption, which continues to bedevil the country.

"The OSP should fast-track investigations and prosecutions of the many corruption cases pending. By now, Ghanaians should be aware of what they have done so far and where these cases are, per section 3 of the OSP Act," Programmes Manager of the GII, Mary Awelana Addah, said.

She made the call yesterday during the launch of the Africa report of the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB), as part of activities marking this year's African Union Day against Corruption.

It had the theme: 'Towards a common African position on asset recovery.'

The GCB, which detailed citizens' views on bribery and other forms of corruption in Africa to engender public discourse on anti-corruption efforts, sampled experiences of 47,000 citizens in 35 countries on the Africa continent.

Conducted between September 2016 and September 2018, the report established that more than one in four people who accessed public services such as health care and education on the continent paid bribe.

It found among others that corruption was still on the rise with more than half (55 per cent) of respondents alluding to the increase, while 59 per cent of respondents rated their respective government's performance in tackling the canker as bad.

In the case of Ghana, the survey which focused on areas such as, bribery rates, changes in the levels of corruption, participation of ordinary people in the fight against corruption, corruption by institutions and whether government was doing good or bad in the fight against corruption, indicated that a significant number of Ghanaians thought government was doing a good job in the area.

However, in assessing citizens' perception of corruption by institutions, the Ghana Police Service (GPS) again topped as the most corrupt with 59 per cent of respondents alluding to the fact.

The Judiciary followed suit attaining 38 per cent, with government officials (35 per cent) and Parliament (32 per cent) cited as the third and fourth most corrupt institutions in the country.

The report nonetheless stated that 60 per cent of respondents believed ordinary people could make a difference in the fight against the menace.

To this end, the GII urged the state to increase efforts towards educating citizens on the Whistleblower's Act 2006 (Act 720) and the recently passed Witness Protection Law, to encourage the culture of corruption reporting in the country.

"The state must intensify its efforts towards the fight against corruption by adequately resourcing the key anti-corruption institutions to discharge their mandate.

"There must be a monitoring framework in place and enforced to ensure that these institutions live up to expectation," Mrs Addah argued.

To her, the electronic procurement platform among other measures instituted by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), "must lead to a drastic reduction in cases of corruption in procurement procedures and ensure that value for money is obtained in all public procurement, to save the nation valuable resources needed for development".

The Office of the Special Prosecutor of Ghana was established by an Act of Parliament and passed in July 2017.

The purpose of the office as a specialised agency is to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers, politically-exposed persons, as well as individuals in the private sector implicated in corrupt practices and to prosecute these offences on the authority of the Attorney-General.

The OSP is also to investigate and prosecute certain categories of cases and allegations of corruption and other criminal wrongdoing, including those involving alleged violations of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and cases implicating public officers and politically-exposed persons.

It is also expected to help reduce the workload on existing investigative agencies, and thereby, enhance their effectiveness.

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