President John Dramani Mahama on Monday called for the de-politicization of corruption in Africa, saying that the issue should rather be tackle impartially so as to find lasting solutions.
He said the use of corruption to score political points, whether in government or in opposition, should be discouraged to pave way for objective and impartial conversations on the issue for the development and growth of the African continent.
President Mahama made this call when he opened the fourth Commonwealth Regional Conference for Heads of anti-corruption agencies in Accra on the theme: “Coordinating Anti-Corruption Agenda within the Commonwealth”.
The five- day conference on anti-corruption is the fourth since its establishment, with previous conferences held in Botswana, Zambia, Mauritius.
It would among other issues bring out good practices throughout the world for under studying and find lasting lasting solutions to some of the corruption challenges that have bedeviled the African continent and developing countries as a whole.
President Mahama said although corruption had over the years become pervasive in all aspects of development on the continent, his administration had drawn an extensive programme to deal with some of the practices that were becoming inimical to the country’s development.
He said in addition to working around the clock to pass all laws that would ensure free flow of information through the Whistle Blowers Act and the Right to Information Bill, government had also initiated immediate measures to stem the practices.
The President mentioned some of the measures as the abolition of sale of government vehicles and bungalows to government officials and the process of empowering the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ ) to pursue cases of national interest without necessarily waiting for a formal report from an individual or group of people.
President Mahama said corruption was no longer a local issue but an international phenomenon and called for collective efforts by the citizenry and organisations to confront the issues head-on in the interest of society.
“Citizens have the power to expose and fight corruption and demand transparency and accountability which can subsequently help governments to exercise authority on the findings of such citizens,” President Mahama added.
He said World Bank reports indicated that developing countries lost between 20 and 40 billion dollars through corruption, and therefore called for cooperation and seriousness to fight the canker.
Mr Edward Hoseah, Chairman of the program said apart from undermining democracy and rule of law, corruption also thwarted development efforts in countries that were guilty of the practice.
He said corruption also had the tendency to discourage investors from doing business in such corrupt countries and therefore called for a holistic approach towards the elimination of the malpractice.
Apart from the delegates from 17 African Commonwealth nations, there were also representatives of the World Bank, Transparency International, Major Fraud Squad from Australia and the Commonwealth Secretariat.