President John Mahama, in London for the Anti-Corruption Summit has said Ghana is committed to the fight against corruption, and while the goals of the summit “generally align” to Ghana's own anti-corruption strategies, there is no “one size fits all” solution.
President John Mahama, in London for the Anti-Corruption Summit, has said Ghana is committed to the fight against corruption, and while the goals of the summit “generally align” to Ghana's own anti-corruption strategies, there is no “one size fits all” solution.
The summit called for global cooperation to stamp out corruption, as a way to end poverty, promote prosperity and defeat terrorism and extremism.
World leaders from about 40 countries committed to “expose corruption wherever it is found, to pursue and punish those who perpetrate, facilitate or are complicit in it, to support the communities who have suffered from it, and to ensure it does not fester in our government institutions, businesses and communities”.
In a statement on the UK Government website about Ghana's involvement in the summit, President Mahama said the event was important to Ghana's own anti-corruption agenda and while the goals of the summit “generally align” to Ghana's own anti-corruption strategies, there is no “one size fits all” solution.
He outlined the measures Ghana was taking against corruption through different industries and entities.
He said Ghana was working on measures to support and encourage the public to report corruption “without fear of victimisation” he said this would be done through enacting the Witness Protection Bill before Parliament, improving and extending the recently established Citizens Complaints Centre in Accra to other regions of the country.
In the business and oil and gas realms, Mahama said Ghana was committed to further strengthening both the Companies Bill and the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill that are currently before Parliament to ensure Ghana has public beneficial ownership information and central register for all sectors, including the oil and gas sector.
He added that Ghana was committed to strengthening partnerships with other countries to lift bank secrecy, curb tax avoidance by companies registered in offshore tax havens.
Money-laundering was also mentioned in his statement: "Ghana is strengthening measures to combat money laundering and countering financing of terrorism, corruption and other predicate offences.
" Ghana commits to implementing the recommendations contained in the National Risk Assessment Report of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), launched in Accra on 28th April 2016, as soon as the implementation plan is validated.”
He also spoke about public procurement and fiscal transparency, stating that while conduct that could lead to debarment is already a criminal offence under Ghanaian law.
“Ghana is committed to exploring further options for improving transparency and openness in the area of public contracting and will continue to blacklist and debar service providers and contractors who engage in corrupt and other related misconduct in public procurement,” he said.
He said the government would enact a legislative instrument for the effective implementation of the new Public Procurement Act, and would work towards making government public procurement ‘open by default’ – beginning with Open Contracting Data Standards for high value contracts and contracts in the oil, gas and mining sector.
Ghanaians can also expect new legislation to focus on asset recovery – Mahama said Ghana was working to strengthen further its assets recovery capability, including by introducing unexplained wealth orders legislation.
The government was also looking at expanding the scope of non-conviction based forfeiture
legislation and adopting measures to manage and regulate the administration of frozen, seized or confiscated property.
Mahama also spoke about corruption in sports, a hot topic in recent years.
"Ghana commits to work with International Sports Bodies and other key stakeholders to build a strong partnership to support the International Sports Bodies’ efforts to deliver reform and to underpin the wider fight to eliminate corruption in sport,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Civil Society Anti-Corruption Agenda on Extractive Industries have called on the Government of Ghana to declare its commitment to fight corruption in Ghana and in the extractive industries in particular, outlining a 10-point agenda.
This includes open and competitive process for awarding oil, gas and mining concessions, a mandatory requirement for the disclosure of oil, gas and mining contracts and a mandatory requirement for the establishment of a public register of beneficial owners in the extractive industries and all their associated interest in Ghana and abroad.
They said this could be done by planned legislations – the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Bill or the Companies Bill, passing the Right to Information Bill and the Petroleum (Explorations and Production) Bill.
The group said much of the commitment to fight corruption in the past has been "mere rhetoric without timelines and clarity" on actions to be taken.