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2020 elections: Anti-corruption strategies in NDC and NPP manifestos

Mon, 14 Sep 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The upcoming election is very much about which of the two main political parties – National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – has the best policies for fighting corruption.

Ghana loses billions to graft every year. Corruption keeps many Ghanaians poor and shatters their dreams.

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), which is Transparency International’s local chapter, warned last year that the country “loses close to $3 billion to corruption annually.”

In acknowledgment of the importance of sound strategies to fight corruption, both the NDC and NPP covered anti-graft policies extensively in their policy documents.

NDC

- Restore the integrity and strengthening of independent anti-corruption institutions;

- Build strong institutions by taking bold steps to ensure increased and adequate funding and engaging well-qualified and staff of proven integrity to manage and lead existing anti-corruption agencies like Parliament, the Audit Service, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), and the Financial and Intelligence Centre;

- Adequately empower and resource the office of the special prosecutor and other anti-corruption agencies to do their work effectively.

- Introduce legislation to regulate Agency Representation and the Conduct of Business Practices of multinational companies in line with international best practices.

- Review and strengthen Guidelines for Political Office Holders

- Operation STING

a. The NDC promises to launch ‘Operation Sting’ as part of its Integrity for Development Action Plan;

b. Codify conflict of interest situations for the various categories of public officials and enforce applicable sanctions;

c. Make single-sourced procurement (sole-sourcing) an exception and not the rule; d. Introduce conflict of interest, moral and civic education in the high school curriculum;

e. Enact conflict of interest legislation for all Government officials including the executive and legislature;

f. Increase support for EOCO, NACOB, Financial and Intelligence Centre and other the anti-corruption institutions;

g. Strengthen collaboration between NACOB and the Food and Drugs Authority;

h. Strengthen the Auditor-General’s Office by safeguarding its independence.

NPP

Being the incumbent government, the NPP’s strategy in the 2020 manifesto was to state what it promised to do in 2016 and what it has achieved so far.

a. In 2016, the NPP promised to “reform the regulatory and institutional framework for anti-corruption.”

The NPP believes it has made significant progress on this front by passing into law:

1. The Witness Protection Act, 2018 (Act 959);

2. The Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959);

3. Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency Act, 2020 (Act 1015);

4. Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 (LI 2378), among others.

According to the NPP, more than 40 high profile persons have been charged with various acts arising out of actions and activities superintended by the previous NDC administration.

b. Request Parliament to amend the law to provide for public disclosure of asset declarations.

According to the NPP, this 2016 manifesto promise is currently part of the Public Officials Code of Conduct Bill before Parliament.

c. Publish and enforce a Code of Conduct for public officials to give effect to Article 284 of the Constitution.

The NPP says in its 2020 manifesto that the Public Officials Code of Conduct Bill, currently before Parliament, will address this issue.

d. In 2016, the NPP promised to ensure strict enforcement of the Public Procurement Act.

The NPP believes that through the implementation of the e-Procurement platform and the “Common User Average Price List,” the National Procurement Authority (NPA) is ensuring compliance with the Procurement Act.

e. In 2016, the NPP promised to resource the Auditor General’s Office to set up a Procurement Audit Unit to conduct Value-for-Money audits.

According to the NPP, “budgetary allocation to the Office of the Auditor-General has been significantly increased to enable it to perform its duties. Compared to 2016, the 2019 budget for the Office has increased by 177%. Year-on-Year, the budget increased by 28% in 2017, 70% in 2018, and 27% in 2019.”

f. The NPP promised in 2016 to resource other anti-corruption and governance institutions.

In the 2020 manifesto, the NPP says it has improved the financing of governance and anti-corruption MDAs like the Ministry of Justice and Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Special Prosecutor, NCCE, CHRAJ, and EOCO.

g. The NPP said in 2016 that it will establish a Transaction Price Database to track typical project costs.

According to the NPP, the National Procurement Authority has designed and implemented this under the Common User Items Average Prices List.

h. The NPP promised in 2016 to decentralise Land Valuation Board to provide direct technical support on property valuation to MMDAs.

According to the NPP, in collaboration with GIZ, the first phase is currently being implemented across 49 Districts

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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