Government’s new bill on the conduct of public officers, has been described by an anti-corruption expert, as a piecemeal approach to dealing with corruption in the country.
Daniel Batidam says the new bill only scrapes the surface of a major national policy on corruption which has been abandoned by government in favour of a narrower policy.
Deputy Information and Media Relations Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu announced at Tuesday’s daily media briefing at the Flagstaff House that Cabinet approved the Bill at its last meeting.
The Bill, he said, will inform officers holders on the “dos and don’ts” so that they will be aware of the “pitfalls” in order to avoid them.
But Mr Batidam, who heads the African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption, believes government should have rather legalized the National Anti Corruption Action Plan – a holistic 10 year anti-corruption plan from 2012 -2021.
“Why go for less when you can go more?” he questioned.
He implied that the narrow view of corruption affected the outcome of a High Court ruling that freed a Minister of Health Dr. Richard Winfred Anane in 2006.
Dr. Richard Anane walked out of court a free man after he challenged the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) who had found him guilty of conflict of interest and abuse of office.
The Anti-Corruption campaigner described it as an “absurdity” because in the view of the court the action of Dr. Anane was not corruption. But, he explained this is because corruption has not been properly defined by the legal code.
Ghana was ranked 65th out of 176 countries in the 2012 Global Corruption Perception Index conducted by Transparency International . A score below 50 indicates a serious corruption problem.
Batidam revealed that Ghana ratified a UN and AU conventions on corruption in 2005 and 2006 but the country is yet to domesticate the conventions. He suggested that had the convention been domesticated a more effective fight against corruption could be launched in the case of Dr. Richard Anane.
He challenged government to pass the over 18 months old National Anti-corruption plan to make a bolder assault on corruption in the public service.
Presently, government is only addressing the menace piecemeal, he assessed, adding “if you define only a part of it, you will be tackling only a part of it”.