Make illicit enrichment an offence, GII report urges Government

Accra� The Ghana Integrity Initiative’s (GII) new study report on the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) has called on government to consider establishing illicit enrichment as an offence.

It said this would go a long way to prevent illegal acquisition of wealth not by public officials only but by any person-private or public.

The AUCPCC is a shared roadmap for states to implement governance and anti-corruption policies and systems on a national and regional level.

The convention contains strong provisions that could go a long way in resolving corruption challenges across the continent.

However, resolution is only feasible if individual country adopts and implements these provisions nationally. Currently, only 38 of 54 member states ratified the AUCPCC. Yet, those that ratified have not reported progress on implementation.

To this end, GII with support from Transparency International identified the need and conducted a study on the AUCPCC with the extent to which Ghana has discharged her obligations under the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC), as a state party.

Mr Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), who launched the report in Accra, said it would go a long way to help promote to the fight against corruption in the country.

Specifically, the Study covered selected articles related to money laundering, illicit enrichment, funding of political parties, civil society and seizure of proceeds and instrumentalities of corruption.

The study was premised on the following objective; to document anti-corruption commitment of Ghana under the AU Convention and to monitor the domestication by Ghana of the selected commitments of the AU Convention.

It is to advocate and support national level implementation of anti-corruption commitments of the Government of Ghana, and to advocate for stronger enforcement of regional-level anti-corruption commitments during the 2018 the Africa Anti-Corruption Year.

Mr Charles Ayamdo, the Director of Anti-Corruption, CHRAJ, who gave an overview of the report said it indicates that the existing legislative and measures show that illicit enrichment conflict of interest have not yet been established as offences as the first option.

He said Ghana was in compliance with the minimal requirements of article five, paragraph one and article eight, paragraph one of the AU Convention, which require states parties to either criminalise it, or provide assistance and cooperate with other states making a request, it is non complaint with article 20 of the UNCAC, which contains no option other than criminalise illicit enrichment.

Mr Ayamdo noted that study was carried out within a limited period in July this year.

Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, the Executive Director, GII, said all the findings of the report from the ten areas, would be put out in a global report to be published later.

She said Ghana was implementing most of the provisions of the AU Convention Against Corruption; adding that however on a number of them such as Access to Information, the country does have a law.

She appealed to the Government to ensure the passage of the Right To Information (RTI) Bill into law.

She said the findings of the study report indicates that civil society was not on the AU’s Board; declaring that is about time we get civil society on the AU’s Board, that has the responsibility of implementing the anti-corruption agenda of the AU.

With regards to laundering of proceeds of corruption (money laundering), the report said in terms of Ghana’s obligations under Article six of the AU Convention, the analysis shows that Ghana was in full compliance.

It said the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2007 (Act 749) as amended by Act 874, criminalises money laundering and had also gone further to establish the FIC to assist in the implementation of the Act, something not provided for by article 6 of AU Convention.

The study recommended that Ghana should, as a matter of urgency, enact the Right to Information Bill which has been pending for nine years.

It said the Government should speed up reforms of the assets declaration regime to curtail, for instance, anticipatory declarations and ensure more transparency in the regime.

It noted that it should also expand the coverage of the law to include other key public officials.

The report also urged the Government to nominate one lead institution responsible for ensuring the reporting of the implementation of the AU Convention similar to what pertains in relation to the UNCAC.

It also recommended that in order to improve reporting and monitoring by the board; the board should work very closely with the Anti-Corruption Agencies.

Source: Ghana News Agency