Eleven key accountable institutions (KAIs) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate and exchange information to combat corruption and crime in the country.
The agreement was spearheaded by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), with financial support from the Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Programme (ARAP), an EU-sponsored initiative.
The other 10 institutions which signed the MoU in Accra yesterday were the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Parliament, the Office of the Attorney-General
and Ministry of Justice, the Ghana Audit Service and the Ghana Police Service.
The rest were the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), the Internal Audit Agency, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
The signing was witnessed by representatives of civil society organisations, such as the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), the Association of Parliamentary Network Against Corruption, and some private sector representatives.
The agreement is in line with recommendations under the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), which was adopted by Parliament in 2014.
The plan identifies collaborations among anti-corruption agencies as a key activity that will enable the agencies to conduct effective investigations and prosecution of corrupt practices.
As part of the agreement, there will be exchange of information, promotion of synergy for better co-ordination of activities, enhancement of the capacity of the KAIs to address challenges of emerging methods of corruption and crime and minimising the potential for mandate overlaps.
In line with this, an information exchange forum will be established, where specific activities, including the sharing of information and experiences and periodic public engagements, will be undertaken every three months.
Additionally, the KAIs will develop mechanisms for case referrals, conduct joint activities and investigations and also develop a strategy for collaboration with civil society and private sector organisations.
The Deputy Commissioner of the CHRAJ, Mr Richard Ackom Quayson, said corruption was a very serious problem which had devastating effects on the development of a country.
Describing the canker as a threat to national security, he said it allowed organised crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish, and also undermined the capacity of the state and its institutions to function efficiently.
He said even though measures had been taken to combat corruption in the country over the years, the lack of coordination and collaboration among KAIs had made it difficult to win the fight.
The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal, said the public had high expectations of KAIs, and that the agreement would make it possible for all the KAIs to bring their energies together to combat crime and corruption.
“We all have a responsibility to collaborate and exchange information to help fight the canker of corruption and crime. We now have the Right to Information Act in place, so there is no need to hide information,” he said.
Mr Whittal urged the other KAIs to be dedicated and committed in their joint efforts to fight corruption and crime.
For his part, the Executive Director of EOCO, Commissioner of Police Mr Frank Adu-Poku (retd), expressed the commitment of his outfit to collaborate with the other partners to ensure the successful implementation of the initiative.
The Chief Executive of the FIC, Mr Kwaku Dua, also said “no institution or individual can fight corruption and crime alone. Without joining forces together, no one can fight corruption and win”.
The acting Executive Secretary of NACOB, Mr Francis Kofi Torkornoo, said the board was happy to be part of such a platform, where all key accountability institutions were determined to work together to fight to reduce corruption in the country.