The Auditor-General of Ghana, Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelevo, has called for a concerted effort involving all Ghanaians to win the fight against corruption in the country.
In line with this, Mr. Domelevo charged ordinary Ghanaians to collaborate with those in responsible positions to use their good offices to fight the menace of corruption, which cut across all facets of national life.
“In fact, some of us (Public Officers) have the mandate to fight corruption, but we may not be capable. You (ordinary Ghanaians) may be capable but you have no mandate. Therefore, we must come together so that I can use your capacity to fight this cancer(corruption),” he said.
Mr. Domelevo was speaking at the 5th Jurists’ Confab organised by the Faculty of Law on the theme “The Urgent Need to Win the Fight against Corruption to Ensure Ghana’s Sustainable Development – the Role of the Law”.
The well-attended event was aimed at creating a platform for members of the bench, the bar and other distinguished scholars to interact with one another and to confer recent development in the law with the view to building the capacity of the key operations in the legal sectors. To win the war against corruption, he called for right leadership to be at the helm of affairs at every sector of the society and not to limit leadership to the presidency.
“If you have the right leadership, you will get the right results. Leadership as not in His Excellency the President only…”, he added.
The Auditor- General who spoke on “Urgent need to Win the Fight Against Corruption to Ensure Sustainable Development”, suggested effective and strong legislation to win the fight against the menace, pointing out that the Financial Administration Act 2003 was a better legislation as compared to the current Public Financial Management ACT 2016.
Mr. Domelevo recommended that citizens should be educated from crèche to the tertiary level on the dangers of corruption and the need for them not to indulge in the canker to deprive the country of massive development. He called for the cancellation of post retirement contracts awarded to senior citizens who were on compulsory retirement to enable the youth to get employment in the country.
That, he noted, would reduce the rising incidence of corrupt practices which had bedeviled the country. He said asset disclosure and decentralization of public service were the way to go if the war against corruption could be won.
For his part, the Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD- Ghana), Prof. Henry Kwasi Prempeh, who spoke on “Harnessing the full Potential of the Law in the Fight Against Corruption: Looking beyond the Criminal Act”, said the Criminal Law made provision for the country to rely solely on centralised authority to initiate prosecutorial powers to fight corruption. He noted that public offices such as the Economic and organised Crime Office were understaffed with limited resources to fight corrupt practices at all levels of the society.
Prof. Prempeh advocated a decentralisation system where every citizen could become a privateadministrative laws, among others, as complementary legal tools to win the fight against graft.
Speaking on “Fighting Corruption Why the Law is Crucial but it is not Enough”, the Vice-President of IMANI Ghana, Mr. Kofi Bentil, stressed that written law was important but not enough as compared to living laws of citizens in a group. He said the “Living Law is built within circles where people in an association respect their rules which bind them, but do not respect the country’s laws”. He mentioned that Living Law could be virtuous in several instances, citing an example where some Canadian doctors protested against their pay raises because they already make too much money.
Mr. Bentil, therefore, called for the closure of the gap between Living law and Written law in the society. “… What you have to do is to build a society where the gap is narrow as such as possible between living law and written law,” he said. He decried the practice where traditional authorities and high level officials in the society intervene for accused corrupt officials who were in the grips of the law to be freed.
The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, Prof. Letlhokwa George Mpedi, who delivered an address on the theme “The Role of the Law in the Fight Against Corruption in the Republic of South Africa: Are there any Lessons for the Republic of Ghana?”, enumerated many legislations aimed at fighting corruption in South Africa.
Among others, he mentioned the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, Public Financial Management Act, Public Administrative Act, Financial Intelligent Center Act and Prevention and Combating Corruption Act. He said some of the agencies charged with the responsibility to fight corruption include Police, Special Unit, Office of the Public Protector, among several others.
Prof. Mpedi touched on the Public Financial Management, Naming and Shaming and Hot lines as some of the preventive measures in the war against graft in South Africa. He noted that inability of companies to report corrupt officials, lack of resources of state institutions and the lack of effective cooperation between South Africa and other countries as some of the obstacles facing his country to battle corruption. He pointed out that independent media, leadership, civil society organisations and institutions of higher learning as key players in the war against graft in South Africa.
The confab, which was interspersed with musical interlude from the Euphonics, was attended by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Mr. Kujo McDave, Judges, Provosts, Law students and members of the public.