The Government has revealed that anti-corruption measures and policies put in place will soon halt practices of corrupt officials within the parameter of the law.
“Government’s Anti-Corruption sensor has been reactivated and directed towards all public institutions,” Mr Jonny Kofi Osei, Deputy Chief of Staff at the Office of President stated at Ada.
He revealed that President John Dramani Mahama and the government is committed to deal with corruption, irrespective of the political cost and warned that; “government will not cover up for any corrupt official.”
Mr Osei stated this at a Public Sector Ethics and Integrity Compliance Officers training, organized by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), in collaboration with the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) and sponsored by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
The officers were equipped with NACAP modalities for combating corruption; Nature, Principles and Core values of Public Service; Code of Conduct for Public Officers; the 1992 Constitution; and the Law and the Generic Code of Conduct for Public Officers.
The Deputy Chief of Staff noted that, government considers anti-corruption law enforcement agencies as key in the fight against corruption and tasked the agencies to execute their mandates effectively and also to improve on coordination, information sharing and collaboration.
“Anti-Corruption law enforcing agencies must also enhance their contribution in the fight against corruption within their own institutions as well as beyond...working within your statutory mandates, the codes of conduct for public office holders is among the most minimum expectations members of the public have of you.
“They must ensure transparency and impartiality in their work, avoid party political interests, and be answerable for their actions,” he said.
Mr Osei also challenged anti-corruption law enforcing agencies to work out effective ways to achieve synergies through co-ordinating investigations and prosecutions, and sharing of information and evidence.
The over 35 Public Sector Ethics and Integrity Compliance Officers were also equipped with skills for institutional Policing of the Code of Conduct, which hinges on prevention, education, investigation and sanctions.
Mr Richard Quayson, CHRAJ Acting Commissioner, stressed the need for consistent efforts, aimed at strengthening key anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies.
He said the successful implementation of the NACAP demands the effective resourcing and capacity-building of the various institutions involved in combating corruption.
Mr Quayson explained that, there is an urgent and perennial need to enhance the capacity and resource-base of anti-corruption institutions, such as CHRAJ, EOCO, Audit Service, Ghana Revenue Authority, Financial Intelligence Centre, Ghana Police Service and the Attorney Generals Department.
The Acting CHRAJ Commissioner tasked the institutions to pursue capacity building in institutional integrity, inter-agency relations, organisational support, infrastructure and access to information.
He noted that CHRAJ will intensify education of the public about the negative effect of corruption.
“Working in concert with other relevant stakeholders, CHRAJ will continue to use its strategic presence in the districts to appropriately educate the general public about the importance of combating corruption at the local level,” he said.
Speaking on the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, Mr Quayson explained that the provision seeks to promote a high standard of ethics in public service, ensure that public officials are accountable to the people and discharge their duties with responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty.
He said the Code also seeks to foster patriotism and justice; assist public officials to lead modest lives, and uphold public interest over personal interest; promote good governance, transparency and accountability in Public Offices and improve the image of the Public Service in Ghana.
Mr Quayson said the Code promotes selflessness, dedication and faithful service to the Republic of Ghana.
On the general principles of the code, the Acting CHRAJ Commissioner noted that, it enjoins public Officers to honour and abide by the Constitution and the Laws of Ghana in the performance of their official duties with dignity, integrity and professionalism.
“Public Officers in the performance of their official duties shall act with professionalism and integrity; serve the State with honesty, fairness, integrity, neutrality and impartiality.
“Ensure that their personal interests or activities do not interfere with or appear to interfere with their obligations to serve the State; perform their official duties with honesty and efficiency, adhering to appropriate standards and at all times have the public interest in mind,” he said.
He said Public Officers are also obligated to protect non-public, confidential and/or classified information at all times; not to disclose non-public, confidential and/or classified information without written authority.
Mr Quayson noted that, the Code of Conduct enjoins public officers not to seek or obtain personal or private benefit from the use of information acquired in the course of official duty, and serve the public in an unbiased and impartial manner.
“Public Officers shall not bring the Public Service into disrepute through their official or private activities and must not allow their personal interests, activities or conduct to interfere with the performance of their duties.
“Not engage in any activity that may influence or give the appearance of impropriety in the exercise of official duties and not to conduct themselves in a manner that undermines the integrity of public service,” he said.
The Ethics and Integrity Compliance Officer are equipped with skills to effectively coordinate integrity issues within their institutions.
The officers are also to act in an advisory capacity on integrity related matters; monitor compliance with the relevant code of conduct and ethics to enhance public sector integrity.
The Officers are tasked to plan, develop, implement and sustain integrity programmes within their respective institution, and act as focal persons to liaise with CHRAJ and the NACAP for support in matters relating to the code of conduct for public officers in particular and integrity in general.
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