The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local branch of Transparency International, is reminding Ghana on African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Day of alleged corruption cases that require urgent and transparent investigation.
A statement from the GII, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the corruption allegations in Russia’s procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine (Sputnik V) were unresolved and the government’s silence on the matter was deafening.
It said another area of major concern was the secrecy surrounding the government’s contract with Frontiers HealthCare Services to conduct COVID-19 testing of passengers at Kotoka International Airport.
“It is GII’s hope that the government will conduct a transparent investigation into these cases and where it has already been done proactively, make the report public to reassure the Ghanaians,” the statement said.
It noted that July 11, 2021 was the fifth anniversary of the AU’s promulgation of African Anti-Corruption Day, which in 2016 was dubbed “Africa Anti-Corruption Day”.
The statement was made on the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC).
The theme for 2021 is: “Regional Economic Communities: Key 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 devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It noted that several studies had underlined the increasing corruption risk associated with national emergencies and joined other Transparency International Chapters on the continent to order the African Union to keep anti-corruption on the agenda of member states.
“While GII would like to commend the AU for its efforts to date, we are also aware that member states, including Ghana, need much more to beat the innocent cancer of corruption,” it said.
The statement states that the AU Advisory Board on Corruption (AUCPCC) has continuously requested member states to promote compliance with the various articles of the Board.
It said this year’s theme therefore highlighted the need for all regional agencies and stakeholders to work together and coordinate efforts to ensure that opportunities to achieve the AUCPCC’s goal are maximized.
In line with efforts to promote 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 review focused on Article 6 – Money laundering of the proceeds of corruption, Article 7 – Combating corruption and related crimes in the public service, Article 8 – Illegal enrichment, Article 9 – Access to information, Article 10 – Financing political parties and Article 12 – civil society and the media,” it said.
The findings indicated that Ghana partially met most of the articles reviewed with some outstanding issues, the statement said.
This includes Article 7, Civil Service Conflicts of Interest Matters which are not criminalized; with officials in public office who came into conflict with the administrative sanction(s).
The statement said that the 1992 Constitution provided only in Article 287(2) that the CHRAJ Commissioner or the Chief Justice “…take such measures as they deem appropriate…”.
It said on the assets statement that Section 286(1) required officials to declare their assets and liabilities before taking up public office, every four years and at the end of the tenure.
The statement stated that only some specified officers were subject to the requirements and that the Public Office Holders Act (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) of 1998 (Act 550) provided for the inclusion of other officers on the list in Section Three and the schedule.
It said the GII has therefore called on the executive branch and parliament to prioritize the adoption of the Code of Conduct for the Civil Service Act (2018), as most of the identified flaws with current asset declaration, conflict of interest and code of conduct laws officials were addressed in the bill.