Mr Richard Quayson, a Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), has said that for any significant gains to be made in the fight against corruption it must be the collective responsibility of all Ghanaians.

He said people needed to know the negative effects corruption had on the economy of the country and the resultant inability of government to mobilise enough resources to execute its development agenda for the welfare of the people.

Mr. Quayson was addressing a public forum on, “Promoting transparency and accountability in the public service: A focus on the guidelines on conflict of interest for public officials” in Tamale on Tuesday.

The Forum is to assist public officials identify, manage and resolve conflicts of interest in the discharge of their duties. It is to also engender a level of consensus on what constitutes conflict of interest.

Topics to be discussed at the forum include: “The anti-corruption mandate of the CHRAJ”, Overview of the whistleblower Act 2006, (Act 720), “Conflict of interest and its importance in fighting corruption”, “Overview of the new guidelines on conflict of interest” and “Identifying conflict of interest situations”.

Mr. Quayson said there was the need for people to understand the causes of corruption and urged public officials in particular to monitor, supervise and cross-check one another in order to plug the avenues of corruption.

He noted that more often than not, people tended to associate corruption with government officials only and said this was not always the case, adding that “government can not have its eyes and ears” everywhere to check corruption and it was therefore the collective responsibility of all to fight it.

The Deputy Commissioner said the conflict of interest was the root cause of corruption because people in public office were sometimes unaware that by their position they were “acting in conflict of interest” or deliberately bending the rules to put their interest above that of the nation.

He said the nation needed to show more seriousness in the fight against corruption and one means to address this “is to bring aboard everybody and letting them understand that corruption affects each and everyone of us”.

Mr. Iddrisu Dajiah, Northern Regional Director of CHRAJ said conflict of interest was pervasive in all spheres of “our national life” saying, “only we do not take it seriously”.

He hoped the Forum would enable public officials to know more about what constitutes conflict of interest to guide them to avoid taking decisions that might constitute it.

Source: GNA

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