Statement at the UN High-Level meeting on measures to prevent & combat corruption
Godfred Yeboah Dame
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice of Ghana
Ghana Permanent Mission to the United Nations
June 4-6, 2021, New York City
STATEMENT AT UN HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON CHALLENGES AND MEASURES TO PREVENT AND COMBAT CORRUPTION AND STRENGTHEN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure for me to make a statement on behalf of my country, the Republic of Ghana, at the opening of the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on challenges and measures to combat corruption and strengthen International Cooperation. The high-level representation and the large number of delegates gathered here for this Conference reflect the great importance the international community puts on this Session in particular and preventing and combating corruption at a global level, in general.
Allow me to join other delegates to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening this very important session.
Ghana congratulates the new States Parties to the Convention and appreciates the progress made by States Parties and the Secretariat on implementation of Conference resolutions 7/5 and 7/6 aimed at promoting the implementation of the Convention. We take note of the various initiatives undertaken by States Parties to prevent and combat corruption, and the technical assistance provided by the Secretariat. We would like to encourage continuous sharing of information on experiences, good practices and challenges in anti-corruption.
The fight against corruption continues to be a key priority for Ghana just as it is for all states parties to the Convention. As such, Ghana continues to adopt effective measures to address corruption in a holistic manner including strengthening the legislative framework after the 1st review cycle, in order to combat and prevent corruption, as well as facilitate and strengthen international cooperation. A number of legislations have been enacted to strengthen the arm of the nation in her effort to effectively fight corruption. These include the following:
- Public Procurement (Amendment) Act 2016 (Act 914)
- Public Financial Management Act 2016 (Act 921)
- Office of Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959)
- Witness Protection Act, 2018 (Act 975)
- Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), and
- Companies Act, 2019 (Act 992)
- Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act 749)
Indeed, the Companies Act, 2019 (Act 992) has introduced provisions in enhancing transparency in beneficial owner information. In 2018, the administration of H.E, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led the nation to take a bold leap in its anti-corruption fight by the establishment through the vehicle of an Act of Parliament, of the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Vested with the mandate to (i) investigate and prosecute alleged corruption or suspected corruption and corruption related offences, (ii) recover the proceeds of corruption and corruption related offences, and (iii) take steps to prevent corruption, the Office of Special Prosecutor represented the single-most significant machinery set up by the Republic to combat corruption. The hitherto monopoly of prosecutorial authority for corruption and corruption-related offences exercised by the Attorney-General of Ghana, who constitutionally is also a Minister of State, was broken by this law as the Office could investigate and prosecute for such offences without the direction or control of the Attorney-General.
Ghana is aware that, if not nipped in the bud, all her fine aspirations of making the nation a haven for business and commercial dispute resolution will be rendered futile by the ills of corruption. The true extent of damage caused by corruption lies not in the number of bribes paid or wrong contracts awarded and/or terminated, but in the misallocation of resources, the distortions created by discretionary incentives and the violation of human rights. Corruption has a deleterious effect on fundamental human rights and aggravates the poverty of the people.
Corruption thrives in an atmosphere conducive to its concealment and the absence of systems to ensure that consequences to the perpetration of corruption are applied in a fair and efficient manner. It is for this reason that the passage of the Right to Information Act, the Witnesses Protection Act and the Office of Special Prosecutor Act are particularly important. Fraud, cybercrime and money laundering are just some examples of how crime has become transnational and indicative of the complexities of modern-day corrupt activities.
Currently, Ghana is collaborating with the Secretariat (UNODC) to further enhance the implementation of the Convention. Preparations are far advance in conducting corruption risk assessments in Fisheries and Health Sectors in the country. Similarly, with the support of the Secretariat, a national corruption survey would be conducted by the end of the year.
We continue to implement the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) adopted unanimously in 2014 by the Parliament of Ghana, stepping up measures to promote public sector integrity, prevent corruption and ensure effective prosecution of corrupt conduct as well as implementing our international obligations under the Convention, which Ghana takes seriously.
Ghana participated in the review of Uganda, Central African Republic, Indonesia and Algeria and will like to place on record the unparalleled hospitality and friendship extended to our Expert reviewers during the country visits to these countries. We anxiously await the conclusion of the review of Ghana in the second cycle review and assure you that the recommendations of that review would be implemented.
Mr. President, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
To conclude, Ghana continues to address corruption in the country in several ways. We are closing legislative gaps revealed by the 1st cycle review, progressing in the implementation of the NACAP, and fulfilling our obligations under the Convention, among others. It is our expectation that this Special Session of the UN General Assembly, a welcome initiative, would provide further impetus to the fight against corruption.
Thank you. God bless the United Nations! God bless us all!!