Give us legal backing to prosecute corrupt actors – Chiefs

Anthony Apubeo, GNA

Bolgatanga, Oct 18,
GNA – Paramount Chiefs in the Upper East Region have advocated the enactment of
a Legislative Instrument (LI) that would empower traditional authorities in the
country to prosecute people who engage in corrupt practices.

They made the call
in Bolgatanga during the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACAP) awareness
engagement forum organised for the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs.

The ten-year
anti-corruption campaign was organised by the Commission on Human Rights and
Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in collaboration with the Ghana Integrity
Initiative (GII) with financial support from the Transparency International.

NACAP seeks to
create a sustainable democratic society founded on good governance and imbued
with high ethics and integrity, devoid of corruption, through public

They said the
traditional authorities were committed to assisting the mandated institutions
to end the phenomenon of corruption however they did not have the mandate to
punish people who engaged in the act, to serve as deterrent to others.

Naba Baba Salifu
Atamale Lemyaarum, the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, said due
to the current system that restricted the traditional authorities from
prosecuting corrupt officials in their jurisdictions, culprits often got away
with evil acts, “because they have money they sometimes threaten to sue the
chiefs who stand in their way”, he added.

Naba Lemyaarum who
is also the Vice President of the Region’s House of Chiefs, therefore called
for the amendment of some provisions in the 1992 Constitution to give legal
backing to the custodians of land including; the paramount, divisional and sub
chiefs to crack the whip whenever one was found guilty.

He further asked for
the amendment of the Constitution to restrict lawyers from defending corrupt
officials in court so as to help speed up justice.

Mr Richard Quayson,
the Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, said Ghana lost about 20 per cent of the
annual budget to corrupt activities and about 30 per cent of every amount
government spent on procurement activity was lost through corruption.

He attributed the
cause to high indiscipline and lawlessness and added, “It is argued that what
we lose through corruption in a year is about 200 per cent more than all the
aid we receive in a year.”

The Deputy
Commissioner said corruption was a threat to national development and the
efforts to achieve Ghana beyond aid agenda and called on the traditional
authorities to use their influence to educate their subjects on the need to end
corruption for sustainable development.

Madam Mary Awelana
Addah, Programmes Manager, GII, stated that true democracy depended on the will
and ability of citizens to fully participate in the governance of the country
by demanding accountability from duty bearers and reporting corrupt officials
to mandated institutions for proper investigation and prosecution.

Mr Jaladeen Abdulai,
the Regional Director, CHRAJ, urged the citizenry to employ the Whistle Blowers
Act as an effective mechanism to expose corrupt activities to ensure
sustainable development.