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General News Tue, 19 Sep 2006

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Let's get definition for corruption - Batidam

Dodowa (GAR), Sept. 19, GNA 96 Mr. Daniel Batidam, Executive Secretary of the Ghana Integrity Initiative has called on the government and Parliament to take the appropriate steps to incorporate into the country's laws an elaborate definition of corruption to reflect the internationally accepted definitions, which clearly criminalises the offence.

There is also the need to bring together the scattered pieces of legislation on corruption into a unique and holistic one to make the fight against the canker easier.

Mr. Batidan, said it was necessary to establish clear parameters as to which actions constituted corruption and those which did not to spare the public the confusion about the use of the word.

"We clearly need to delineate when actions such as abuse of power and conflict of interest amount to corruption and when they do not to stem the confusion," Mr. Batidam told participants at a workshop on corruption and good governance at Dodowa on Tuesday. The two-day workshop was to provide local communities with the opportunity to participate effectively in the country's democratic system of governance by putting into practice principles of accountability, transparency and integrity at the lowest level of governance.

Mr. Batidam said, while existing laws on corruption were inadequate and open to legal challenge, international governance standards could be used as proof of action, which constituted corruption.

He said, it was necessary for all to demand accountability from people who had been put in position of trust, adding that the absence of such probes provided the fertile grounds for corruption.

Stressing on weak institutions, Mr. Batidam asked the government to reduce opportunities for corruption through strengthening governance institutions and tackling systemic issues to promote transparency. " This role is important to ensure that whatever financial resources are put into the economy are applied to make the desired impact," he said.

One sure way to fight the canker is to apply the law impartially to ensure that people were given the deserved punishment for the actions that they took, he said.

"The application of the law across board will inspire confidence and trust and also put fear in the people that no matter which position they occupy the will be dealt with according to law," he added. In a speech read for him by Mr Emmanuel Nortey, Deputy Director Dangbe West District, Mr Michael Adjorwey Nortey, District Chief Executive, said corruption had the tendency to threaten peace and democracy because of the injustice and sufferings that it portended.

He said there was the need for commitment in the fight against corruption to safeguard the country's democracy and promote good governance.

Source: GNA

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