Ghana’s Acting Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Richard Quayson, has called for strong support of the media and the citizenry in fighting corruption, by providing evidence rather than mere complains.
He indicated that Ghana’s quest to nib corruption in the bud could not succeed if people continued to raise alarms without any impeccable evidence to back their assertions.
Emphasising how it rendered the appropriate anti-corruption agencies ineffective in pursuing such cases, Mr. Quayson charged Ghanaians to be bold and come forward with evidence wherever and whenever they saw an act of corruption being perpetuated by any individual or group of persons.
At a meeting with journalists in Tamale to sensitise them on the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), Mr. Quayson also appealed to citizens and the media in particular to stop associating suspected corrupt people with political colours.
According to him, the practice whereby persons accused of corruption were tagged for being members of a political party in power or in opposition, was not helping government and institutions of state such as CHRAJ, the police and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to do their work effectively and efficiently, since their political parties always tend to defend them by every means possible.
NACAP was developed in 2012 following intensive consultations at the national, regional and district levels. It was coordinated by a national working group comprising representatives from CHRAJ, office of the president, parliament, EOCO, National Development Planning Commission, Ghana Integrity Initiative and Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition among others.
NACAP is a national plan of action to combat corruption in Ghana in the next ten years. Its main purpose is to create a sustainable democratic society in Ghana, which is founded on good governance and imbued with high ethics and integrity.
NACAP is to build public capacity to condemn and fight corruption and make its practice a high-risk, low-gain activity; to institutionalise efficiency, accountability and transparency in the public, private and not-for profit sectors; to engage individuals, media and civil society organisations report and combat corruption; and to conduct effective investigations and prosecution of corrupt conduct.
Director of Anti-Corruption at CHRAJ, Charles Ayamdoo, said that the media must be bold in publishing information about corrupt officials and corruption cases. “The media must be prepared to “name and shame” without compromise. It is by exposing incidents of corruption that there will be an environment in which corruption is a high-risk and low-gain undertaking”, he noted.
The media, he cautioned, should operate in an impartial manner and avoid sensationalising corruption cases. “Bias and sensationalism can undermine the ability of anti-corruption agencies to deal effectively with corruption”, Mr. Ayamdoo emphasised.
The Director of Anti-Corruption also called on journalists to be properly trained in principles and techniques of investigating and reporting corruption cases and monitoring corruption trends and practices in the country.