The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says his government has undertaken, arguably, the boldest initiatives since independence to reform and strengthen the capacity of the nation’s institutions to tackle corruption in the public sector.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “government has fought corruption not in words, but in concrete deeds. We have shunned mere exhortations and showy denunciations of unproved corruption. It has been a holistic approach.”
Delivering the keynote address at the National Anti-Corruption Conference, organized by the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), on Friday, 10th December 2021, the President stated emphatically that “we have protected the public purse, we have made institutional reforms, we have enacted additional, requisite laws, and we have resourced more adequately the accountability organs of state. Our fight against corruption has been grounded on legislative, financial and institutional action, and not on lip-service.”
Outlining the initiatives put forth by his government, since coming into office in 2017, he stated that he has, first, had to make sure that every single alleged act of corruption levelled against any of his appointees have been investigated by independent bodies, such as CHRAJ, the CID, and, in some cases, by Parliament itself.
Citing the example of the suspension of the then head of the Public Procurement Agency, the President indicated that “following recommendations from CHRAJ, based on their investigation, I removed him from office in October 2020, and the Office of Special Prosecutor is seized with the matter of prosecution. If an appointee is cleared of any wrongdoing, the evidence adduced and recommendations made by these agencies, after the investigations are concluded, are what clear the accused persons, not myself.”
Continuing, President Akufo-Addo indicated that “there are some who refuse to accept my method of proceeding, and have characterised me as a ‘clearing agent’, because, for them, the mere allegation without more is enough to merit condemnation of the public official, even though they did not apply this principle when they were in office. For my part, I will not set aside due process in the fight against corruption, no matter how much opprobrium this incurs for me.”
With a clear understanding that corruption thrives in an atmosphere conducive to its concealment, he told the gathering that his government has ensured the passage of the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), which will foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs.
In addition to this, President Akufo-Addo revealed that Parliament has passed the Witness Protection Act, 2018, (Act 975), to which he gave his assent on 24th August the same year. The Act, he explained, established a Witness Protection Agency to establish a witness protection scheme as a vehicle for offering protection to persons, who are required to co-operate with law enforcement agencies as witnesses in the investigation and prosecution of cases, particularly corruption cases affecting public officers.