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Regional News Mon, 7 Jun 2010

Journalists in Western Region attends anti-corruption workshop

Takoradi June 7, GNA - The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) at the weekend organised a day's workshop on the Whistleblowers Act for some journalists in Takoradi in the Western Region. GACC, which seeks to facilitate anti-corruption activities in Ghana through the concerted efforts of its members in collaboration with vital stakeholders like the media, has since 2009 been engaging journalists in such workshops.

Mrs Florence Dennis, Executive Secretary of the Coalition said the Whistle blowing was a crucial tool for exposing corrupt practices. She said whistle blowing programme was one of the best practices and operational expressions of corporate entities to build a responsible and ethical organisational culture that required conscious and unwavering commitment. Mrs Dennis said although the Act was passed in 2006, its implementation had caused controversies mainly due to lack of understanding of the whistleblowers and the organisations that should provide information to them. She said lack of understanding of the purpose of whistle blowing tend to put the individual at risk. Mrs Dennis said the Act offered opportunities and protection for whistleblowers and this should be understood by the people who would make use of them. She said anybody could blow the whistle about any person or institution as long he or she had good reason to so, explaining that reliable information that indicates impropriety was good grounds for one to blow the whistle.

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The Executive Secretary said impropriety could be disclosed to an employer, a Police Officer, the Attorney General, Auditor General, a staff of the intelligence agencies, a member of parliament, Serious Fraud Office, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, National Media Commission, Narcotics Board, a chief or traditional elder. Others are a head of a recognised religious body, a member of the District Assembly, a Minister of State, the Office of the President, Ghana Revenue Commission and a District Chief Executive. Mrs Dennis said the law encouraged and supported disclosure about impropriety that had already occurred, is occurring or about to occur. She said the most important thing was that the disclosure must be based on facts and not suspicions, suppositions and conjectures. "Under the law, a person who intends to make a disclosure of impropriety must have reasonable cause for doing so and the law does not permit individuals to make disclosures based only on suspicion, speculation, haunches or guesses," she stressed.

Mrs Dennis said the law protects only persons who follow the prescribed steps in making a disclosure of impropriety and in order to be protected, a whistleblower must make the revelation only to persons or institutions specified by the law.

Source: GNA
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