Anto-corruption bodies exchange information (Page 20)

Representatives of key anti-corruption institutions have begun exchanging information and intelligence on checking corruption and fighting crime in the country.
A forum to facilitate the process was  launched in Accra onWednesday.
Known as the “Exchange of Information Forum,” it is expected to improve the systems for fighting against corruption and crime, increase co-ordination and information flow among key accountability institutions.
It also seeks to provide a systemic basis for clarifying mandates and also help to avoid mandate overlaps, conflicts and minimise the potential duplication of efforts in the execution of mandates among the member institutions.
The forum, which is the brain-child of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), and is open to all accountability institutions.
Currently it has the Commission of Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), the Judicial Service, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), the Ghana Audit Service and the Internal Audit Agency as members.
Ghana was ranked 69th among 180 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 2009, which is two spots from its 2008 ranking, with a score of 3.9 out of 10.
The index ranks the 180 participating countries according to the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians.
A recent survey by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) indicated that 86 per cent of households in Ghana saw corruption as a major problem in the public sector while 59 per cent thought it was the problem in the private sector.
Launching the initiative, the Minister of Information, Mr John Tia  Akologo, observed that corruption and crime did not only deny a country of its potential growth but also created a situation which made investment unattractive to both foreign and local investors.
He said in fighting corruption, there was the need to reform the judicial system to cut back on bureaucratic tendencies and reduce delays in justice delivery, enforcement of the companies code by the Registrar General’s Department and building the capacity of the human resource such as the training of more corporate lawyers and accountants.
The information minister expressed sadness  that some services were normally rendered after some unofficial payments had been made.
He alleged that “ it is not only in the area of services that payments are made ahead but even bride is paid for enstoolment, destoolment, employment, admission to schools, colleges and tertiary institutions and even for the transfer of reverend ministers to their places of preference.”
He commended the establishment of the forum saying it would create the appropriate platform to complement the government’s effort towards eradicating all forms of crime and corruption related practices in Ghana.
Mr Akologo urged institutions like the Controller and Accountant Generals Department, the Bureau of National Investigations and the Attorney Generals’ Department, institutions yet to join the forum, to take steps to do so.
A Deputy Commissioner of the CHRAJ, Mr Richard Quayson, lauded the establishment of the forum saying in spite of the progress made in fighting corruption and its related practices in Ghana, the country still faced formidable challenges in the area which required critical, open and informed discussions by accountability institutions, especially those engaged in the fight against corruption.
The Executive Secretary of the GII, Mr Vitus A. Azeem, had earlier in his welcoming address dismissed the fears of some institutions yet to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to join the forum on the basis that contents of the MOU contravened state secrecy laws and professional ethics.
He said the GII was willing to provide the necessary support to ensure that the forum achieved its objectives with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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