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General News
Politicians are not the only corrupt – Aliu 5/25/2007
Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama has observed that civil society is the primary beneficiary of good governance and must therefore engage government to implement comprehensive anti-corruption programmes.

"The assumption that politicians and senior public officers are solely responsible for corruption and therefore its eradication is wrong and must be discarded," he said.

Vice President Mahama made the observation when he opened a seminar on Democracy and Governance Training Programme in Accra, which brought together government and civil society personnel from Ghana, Liberia, Mali and Nigeria to sharpen their skills to improve accountability and good governance practices.

The six-week seminar is being organised by the US-based Les Aspin Centre for Democracy and Good Governance with assistance from the United States Agency International for Development (USAID).

"Probably because of its role as the custodian of the public purse, government, and the public tend to be the main targets of anti-corruption efforts," Vice President Mahama noted.

He said the approach is not practical in the long term.

He said when civil society failed to exercise its rights to participation, it resulted in apathy and waste.

The Vice President said the process leading to the passing of the Representation of the People Amendment Bill and the Domestic Violence Bill had jolted the relationship between government and civil society.

He commended the media for holding government accountable and raising issues on indiscipline.

"The Ghanaian media has been up to the task, even though it sometimes exhibit over enthusiasm to the consternation of public service actors."

The US Ambassador, Ms Pamela Bridgewater said the 2005 World Economic Forum and Global Competitiveness report had noted that tackling corruption was an important factor in improving economic competitiveness.

She said: "Countries that tackle corruption and improve rule of law increase their national incomes four-fold."

Ms Bridgewater said although Ghana had adopted sound anti-corruption framework and for submitting itself to the African Peer Review Mechanism, such efforts were not enough to dismiss public perception about the upsurge of corruption.

She said the US in partnership with Ghana Integrity Initiative, was supporting the Auditor -General''s Department to implement the Asset Declaration Law, while the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice was being supported to create public awareness on the country''s Conflict of Interest guidelines.

"These efforts include, building a closer working relationship between civil society, media, and accountability agencies to build a platform for co-ordinated action against corruption and support critical legislation like the Freedom of Information Bill," she said.

Mr Rudolph P. von Ballmoos, Liberian Ambassador said although efforts by his war-torn country for post-war reconstruction were tedious, such training programmes would equip Liberians to mainstream accountability and good governance to facilitate the process.

Source: GNA

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