Ghana Integrity Initiative urges Anane to quit


Mon, 18 Sep 2006 Source: GNA

Accra, Sept. 18, GNA - Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) on Monday urged Road Transportation Minister Dr Richard Anane to voluntarily resign, even as he pursues his legal rights at the appropriate quarters. He should do this in order to spare the public "unnecessary confusion about the standards of good governance observed in Ghana and/or by our government", it said in a statement signed by Dr Audrey Gadzekpo, Chairman of the Board of GII and Mr Daniel Batidam, Executive Secretary of GII.

The statement said GII endorsed the recommendations of the Commission for Human Rights and Administration (CHRAJ) and called on President John Agyekum Kufuor to "take a decisive action in support of CHRAJ's recommendations".

CHRAJ in its report on Dr Anane presented on Friday made findings of abuse of power and conflict of interest against him. The ruling of the Commission read by Ms. Anna Bossman, Acting Commissioner, at a packed conference room of the Commission in Accra, cleared the Mini ster of the allegation of corruption for lack of evidence.

It made findings of abuse of power and conflict of interest against the Minister when he contracted business on behalf of the Government. GII urged the Executive and Office of Accountability to be proactive in the fight against corruption by taking preventive measures in several areas.

These are elaborating codes of conduct for serving politicians and high public officials; anti-corruption training, including training on how to avoid conflict of interest, receiving gifts and abuse of office; and developing disciplinary measures and investigation procedures in corruption and related offences with a view to increasing efficiency in the public service.

GII said the government and Parliament, as a matter of urgency, must "take the necessary steps to domesticate" the definition of corruption by the African Union Convention and UN Convention Against Corruption and make the necessary amendments of the law on corruption in Ghana "to reflect the internationally acceptable definitions of corruption".

GII said it agreed with CRHAJ's view on conflict of interest in the Anane case and endorsed its recommendation that Ministers and their Deputies took compulsory courses on conflict of interest together with their Chief Directors and other key staff such as Special Assistants. On abuse of office, GII reiterated its stand for the need for all public office holders to regard public office as a trust.

"This is an issue we find very important, yet many Ghanaians are not sensitive to it in the discharge of their duties while in public office."

It recalled CHRAJ's recommendation for Dr Anane to apologise to Parliament for telling a lie before it and urged the House "to use this opportunity to clarify for itself issues relating to the conduct of Members of Parliament, whether before or outside Parliament, that brings the House into dispute".

It said parliament should propose appropriate sanctions, and, most importantly, make those issues and their sanctions public and transparent.

"We also call on Parliament, and in particular, the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC-Ghana) to spearhead the domestication of ECOWAS, AU UN and other international conventions on corruption and to work with anti-corruption agencies in elaborating anti-corruption legislation and guidelines for public officials." GII congratulated CHRAJ and the panel chaired by Ms Bossman on successfully concluding "this very important case".

The 18-month investigation stemmed from Dr Anane's relationship with an American woman, Alexandria O'Brien when he was Minister of Health and some 100,000 dollars that was transferred to her. The relationship developed into a love affair with Dr Anane and Ms O'Brien having a son.

In its first reaction, President John Agyekum Kufuor on Sunday assured the nation that government would act according to law and the right thing would be done in the case of recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) that Road Transportation Minister, Dr Richard Anane, be dismissed.

A statement signed in Accra by Mr. Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Information and National Orientation, said the contents of the report had been conveyed to President Kufuor, who is our of the country attending meetings of the Non-Aligned Movement and UN in Havana and New York respectively.

However, it said, neither the President nor the Attorney-General had received the official copies of the report.

"...The President has therefore, instructed the Attorney-General to obtain, speedily, the original report of CHRAJ for thorough and critical study in order to advise Government on it for appropriate action to be taken in accordance with the law.

"As His Excellency the President has always stated, nobody is above the law. He recognizes and respects this principle. "Government wishes to assure the nation of its commitment to the rule of law and the institutions of democracy, including CHRAJ. "The President further wishes to assure the nation that upon receipt of the advice of the Attorney-0Fgeneral, government will act according to law, and the right thing will be done."

The legal team of Dr. Anane on Sunday postponed a press conference to react to the findings and recommendations of CHRAJ. Mr Ken Anku, who described himself as Media Consultant to the Legal team of the Minister, apologized to disappointed journalists and the general public that the conference could not come off due to some serious setbacks and the fact that the team had not yet been given an official copy of the rulings.

Mr Anku told the press that the legal team would go to court to challenge the rulings of the CHRAJ. 18 Sept. 06

Source: GNA
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