Ensure adequate funds for OSP- Group to Akufo-Addo
A group of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working on anti-corruption and good governance issues called on the Special Prosecutor (SP), Mr. Kissi Agyebeng at his office to deliberate on how both parties can work to make corruption a risky activity and expensive to engage in.
The meeting held on Tuesday in Accra was also to ensure that the OSP has adequate funding for the first crucial year of its operations.
The Group expressed their dismayed to hear the GHS 1.2 billion budget for capital and recurrent expenditure, only GHS 80 million was allocated for the 2022 financial year representing only 6.6% of what was requested.
“This is far below what was even allocated by government in the 2018 financial year for the setting up of the Office, although the money was never accessed. We acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on government resources and there are many essential competing needs”, The Group stressed.
A statement issued and signed by the Group noted how the SP’s vision is focused strongly on asset recovery, use of plea bargaining, and of course, prosecution, backed by good forensic work and investigations.
The statement said “the SP laid out his vision for the Office which included focusing on corruption prevention activities targeted at addressing issues such as gift-giving, developing and preparing integrity plans for public agencies, conducting corruption risk assessments for major financial transactions, production of a manual to guide citizens on the operations of the Office and the launch of a flagship tool to track the progress of institutions called the Corruption League Table.”
It also noted how the CSOs commended the SP for the Office’s effort to communicate and engage with citizens through the media and online platforms and recommended that this activity be extended to the regions to help educate Ghanaians on the work of the OSP.
” the CSOs also observed that the OSP has moved into a new ten-story building at Ridge although it was currently occupying one floor as the OSP is yet to retrofit the rest of the floors, recruit the necessary staff and set up the Office fully”, the statement said.
The statement further indicated how the CSOs commended government for providing the OSP with the appropriate space to set up its operations.
” However, there is still a lot to do for the OSP to be fully operational to pursue all its functions”, it stated.
” Nonetheless, we urge government to do its best to ensure the OSP is finally able to get off the ground so it can do its important integrity building and anti-corruption work, an agenda that the President and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have identified as a key development priority if Ghana is to transform and go beyond aid”, it said.
Also, the Group appealed to the President to expedite action on the formation of the new OSP board to allow the Office recruit its staff in accordance with the OSP Act 2017 (Act 959).
“Corruption remains a serious challenge in Ghana and all key investigative and prosecutorial agencies are needed to effectively work to help the country achieve its objectives. We remain resolute in our commitment to promote integrity in public life and we assure the OSP of our unflinching support”, the statement noted.
Members of the Group includes:
Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition
Ghana Integrity Initiative
Ghana Center for Democratic Development
Africa Center for Energy Policy
Citizens Movement Against Corruption
Star Ghana Foundation
Media Foundation for West Africa
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Parliamentary Network Africa
CSO Platform on SDGs, Ghana
Africa Centre for International Law & Accountability
Source: africaneditors.com/Eric Nii Sackey