Chairman of Ghana’s Chapter of the Africa Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC), Hon Emmanuel Kwesi Bedzrah has cautioned that when impunity becomes the culture and the crime of corruption is not tackled, it makes citizens lose confidence in Parliamentary democracy and erodes the legitimacy of public officers and government.
According to him, corruption affects underdeveloped countries the most because it takes away the ability to provide the needed development for the citizens, especially the vulnerable.
This, he said has made corruption an extreme crime against humanity and any effort to fight it must be tackled with honesty and sacrifices.
Mr. Bedzrah made the comments when he took his turn to present Ghana’s Chapter report on corruption at the ongoing 8th Biennial General Meeting of Africa Parliamentarians Network against Corruption at Cotonou, Benin on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.
“ GHANA SHARE IN THE GENERAL BELIEVES THAT CORRUPTION UNDERMINES DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW, LEADS TO VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, HAMPERS POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC STABILITY AND THWART THE EFFORT AT ACHIEVING AFRICA DEVELOPMENT AGENDA 2063 AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS,” HE SAID.
Presenting Ghana Chapter’s report on corruption at the APNAC, the Chairman, said despite the daunting challenges in the fight against corruption, the Country is making progress as MPs who stood on their grounds to fight corruption become the target and are often rejected by their constituents for resisting the temptation.
He said as part of Ghana’s effort in the fight against corruption, the government through parliament has passed laws and established anti-graft institutions including the most recent Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) to tackle corruption and its related crimes.
“Ghana also believes that corruption could best be controlled by strengthening systems of accountability, transparency, and public participation in the governance architecture. The role of Members of Parliament, as the embodiment of the sovereign will of the people, is indispensable in the fight against corruption,” the Ho West lawmaker indicated.
He admitted the task is huge and challenging but believed with a time of advocacy and campaign awareness, the corruption canker would be minimized if not eradicated.
Some of the anti-graft laws and institutions which support the fight against corruption, Mr. Bedzrah said were the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), the Assets Declaration Act and the Public Financial Management Act.
He added that, at the legislative House, the Public Accounts Committee is chaired by a Minority side member, while ensuring that the Ranking from the Majority side is a member of the APNAC Chapter as part of the strategies to make corruption less attractive.
He noted that, despite the COVID-19 Pandemic which has rendered the Chapter helpless to carry out some of the awareness campaigns as expected, the National Chapter was able to undertake a few activities including workshops and awareness campaigns to build the commitment and capacity of its members to hold public institutions accountable.
“As part of building members’ capacity, workshops were organized on the role of APNAC in the fight against corruption, conflict of interest and abuse of power. In addition to that, members participated in seminars organized by state Anti-corruption Institutions and Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) and as well create and promote awareness with statements on the floor of parliament,” the Ghana Chapter Chairman stated.
He admitted that corruption not only deprived development and paints the government in a bad light, but it also dents all hopes for a prosperous nation and for that reason he insisted, that fighting corruption must remain a priority for every African who wants to see the continent developed.
Corruption-fighting institutions, he said, should fear nothing and support APNAC, especially at the national and regional level to make the canker less attractive.
The other members of Ghana’s delegation to the 8th Biennial General Meeting include Hon Dr. Emmanuel Marfo, MP for Oforikrom, Hon Kofi Okyere Agyekum, MP for Fanteakwa South, Hon Elvis Morris Donkor, MP for Asebu/Abura/Kwamankese, Hon Albert Akuka Alalzuuga, MP for Garu, Hon Peter Kwakye-Ackah, MP for Amenfi Central and Mr. Kofi Menkah, of the Parliamentary Services.
The four-day anti- corruption conference is on the theme: “Creating Synergies for an Efficient Fight against Corruption-the Role of Parliament and Parliamentarians.”
MPs from over 15 Africa Countries are attending the Anti-corruption conference to strategies ways and means by which Parliament and Parliamentarians could help fight corruption in the African continent which has become a canker destroying and depriving development.
The Biennial General Meeting centered on issues including achievements, challenges and lessons learned in the fight against corruption by national chapters as well as regional and national chapters giving reports on corruption fights in their countries and sharing knowledge and experience.
APNAC is an organization that aims to coordinate, involve and strengthen the capacities of African parliamentarians to fight corruption and promote good governance.
It was formed in 1999 in Kampala, Uganda, APNAC has promoted accountability, transparency, and public participation in the processes of government, as the best ways to control corruption.
Membership is mostly the elected representatives of the people known commonly as Members of Parliament.
The objectives of APNAC are to build the capacity of parliamentarians to exercise oversight roles, especially on financial matters
It is also aimed to share information on best anti-corruption strategies and practices, promote projects to control corruption based on best practices and as well cooperate with other organizations and civil society members with shared objectives.
Source: Felix Nyaaba/Benin