State Bodies Must Be Firm
An Associate Professor at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Prof. Ken Attafuah, has challenged heads of anti- corruption agencies to prove that they deserve the positions to which they have been appointed and that they have an obligation to serve the state and not the government or any official that appoints them.
He has also urged them to shift from the sense of personal gratitude to the appointing authorities to a sense of fortitude and self-worth.
Prof Attafuah was speaking at a workshop in Accra yesterday to discuss a report prepared by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) on ways of empowering the SFO through a review of the SFO Act.
The report recommended that the SFO Act be amended to limit the influence of the executive arm of government in general and the Attorney General’s Office in particular over the appointment process, prosecutorial discretion and the funding of the SFO.
In connection with the limitation of the Attorney-General’s control of the SFO, the report advised that a board should be empowered to fill the void that would otherwise be created in the governance structure, adding that the board, like other boards of directors of corporate entities, should be made responsible for the SFO and accountable to the executive and the legislature.
That, the report recommended that arrangement could be made possible through altering the make-up of the board, empowering alternative appointing authorities to fill vacancies on the board, increasing the security of tenure of members of the board, limiting the period of time during which an acting executive director might head the SFO prior to the appointment of a substantive executive director and permitting the board to deal directly with the Minister of Finance on budgetary matters, among others.
Prof Attafuah also urged the government to ensure that anti-corruption agencies were operationally and financially independent to insulate them from governmental control and to ensure that they performed their duties without fear or favour.
He noted that there was “too little money” and “ too little incentive” for anti-corruption bodies and said although lack of money in the kitty could be an alibi by government to fail to adequately resource anti-corruption agencies, there appeared to be little motivation for the government to adequately resource the agencies to render them effective watchdogs over it.
He said the government needed to visualise effective anti-corruption agencies as vital net contributors to income generation and contributors to the provision of conducive atmosphere for investment and promotion of personal and public decency and national development.
Prof Attafuah noted that corruption was a canker that could engender poverty, deprivation and hinder economic development and said the government needed to muster the necessary political will and determination to deal with it.
He said there was the need for proper knowledge of the scope and dimensions of corruption and the personal and collective determination on the part of government to combat it, and the “stamina” and resources to pursue anti-corruption initiatives.
Prof Attafuah said the government also needed to muster courage to investigate, prosecute or discipline corrupt individuals, be they friends or foes in order to eliminate corrupting and cover-up tendencies.
The acting Executive Director of the SFO, Mr Theophilus Cudjoe, said the office had proven that it was non-partisan and was bold enough to carry out its functions without compromise.
He noted that the structure of the SFO needed to be looked at once again and called for reform of the institution.
Mr Cudjoe said anti-corruption agencies were very important in every country, but was saddened by the fact that there had not been enough political will to address the many problems confronting the SFO such as poor salaries.
The Executive Director of the CDD-Ghana, Prof Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, said it was unfortunate that the nation was yet to tap the full potential of the SFO, after more than a decade of its establishment.
“This is most regrettable against the background of high perception of public corruption and woefully inadequate official measures to curb the canker,” he added.
Source: Daily Graphic