Wednesday 2nd April , 2014 2:38 pm
The World Bank (WB) African Region Governance and Anti-corruption Adviser, Dr Sahr Kpundeh has emphasized the need for regional governments to provide incentives to whistleblowers to expose corrupt dealings in institutional and individual circles.
He said whistleblowing remains the most powerful weapon against fraud and nations are increasingly offering more support to protect and enable them to report anonymously.
Dr Kpundeh said this on Tuesday at the opening of the four- day West African Contract Monitoring Network (WACMN) regional forum, aimed at promoting transparency and social accountability in the region.
Whistleblowers play a crucial role in saving resources and lives by exposing multi-million- dollar financial scams as well as dangerous medical practices.
The WB adviser said there is the need to give people the necessary incentives and protection to be able to report corruption cases without intimidation.
According to Dr Kpundeh, who is also the WACMN Project Task Team Leader, whistleblowing has the potential of lessening fraud threefold.
He cited instances where community projects have been executed using wrong or shoddy materials, undermining development objectives of enhancing lives.
He observed some nations have provided millions of dollars as incentives to whistleblowers in an effort to deal with fraud which undermines development efforts and worsens poverty.
Dr. Kpundeh said the WB is gradually recognising the critical role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in dealing with corruption manifesting in procurement and construction.
The Bank has created a platform for CSOs to be able to source funding from it without necessarily passing through governments.
He noted that efforts by the contract monitoring group needs serious attention and support, and called on stakeholders to generate better and innovative ideas to address the canker of corruption.
Mr. Vitus Azeem, Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative, expressed wonder over high cost of loans contract with sometimes more than 10 years repayment period, to construct roads which last less than five years.
He said it is embarrassing for Ghana’s inability to pass the Right to Information Bill into law since it was initiated in 2003.
In some countries, blowing the whistle can carry high personal risk, particularly when there is little legal protection against dismissal, humiliation or even physical abuse.
WACMN was conceived as an initiative of the WB in 2010 supported with $983,120 funding from the Institution Development Fund managed by the WB African region.
It was aimed at establishing an effective and robust multi-stakeholder country level contract monitoring coalitions in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
Ghana coalition sought to address the challenge of contracts not meeting specifications and lacking value for the tax payers’ money, while Nigeria was to address the poor quality of service delivery in the power sector by bringing to bear transparency and accountability in power sector procurement process.
The Liberian coalition sought to deal with the problem of opaque procurement and contracting processes that have allowed corruption to flourish while undermining effective provision of services to citizens while Sierra Leone sought to address limited public awareness and involvement in the implementation of contracts.