Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has said the fight against corruption must be extended beyond the public sector to include all sectors of society.
He said the Public Sector was the main focus when the subject of corruption was raised; “this has made it difficult for the nation to make significant progress with its anti-corruption efforts.”
In a speech delivered on his behalf by Madam Mercy Larbi, Deputy Commissioner, CHRAJ at a ceremony held in Accra to commemorate the 2020 International Anti-corruption Day said this year in Ghana presented a unique opportunity to reflect more on efforts to address corruption.
Speaking on the theme: “Recover with Integrity; the role of stakeholders,” the Deputy CHRAJ Commissioner said as the nation transitioned from addressing the crisis of COVID-19 to focusing on recovery, integrity violations may continue to rise and undermine efforts.
Mr Quayson said the fundamental safeguards of public integrity must not be weakened or compromised, but rather reinforce existing systems with robust anti-corruption procedures, to recover from the pandemic with integrity.
He said unfortunately, all sectors had paid lip-service to the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), “if they had paid honest attention to its implementation, the nation would have been better prepared for COVID-19-related corruption, as well as efforts to recover”.
He said recovery with integrity means inclusiveness and no one is left out or behind in their collective recovery.
Mr Bernard Henebeng Asamoah, Programme Coordinator, United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) said the outbreak of the pandemic opened new avenues for corrupt practices mainly in the area of procurement and sole sourcing.
He said more than 100 million people were plunged into poverty globally and now more than ever governments needed to support its citizens; many had taken advantage of this urgency to indulge in corrupt practices.
He called on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), government, parliamentarians and the public to take interest and stand united in the fight against corruption.
Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Executive Director, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), a local chapter of Transparency International said corruption thrived in times of crisis and the ongoing pandemic was no exception.
She said various risks assessments undertaken on COVID-19 interventions indicated that the pandemic’s disastrous implication on anti-corruption efforts included; violation of procurement rules and regulations, price gouging and bribery in accessing public services such as health care.
She said GII believed that there was the need to integrate transparency, accountability and anti-corruption measures in the recovery efforts.
Mrs Ofori-Kwafo said the efforts could be actualized when whistleblowers were safe to report with the assurance of a strong political will and leadership to address corruption through measures of investigation, prosecution and sanction of the corrupt.
She expressed GII’s gratitude to, CHRAJ, Transparency International, Germany, Global Affairs Canada and all network partners for their support towards the Day’s Celebration.