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Ga East NCCE engages stakeholders on accountability and environmental governance

Accra, Sept 5, GNA — Participants at a day’s stakeholders forum on enhancing public accountability and environmental governance have urged government to ensure that it sets up offices of anti-corruption institutions at all municipal and district levels.
     This, they said would ensure that citizens had easy access to such mandated institutions to report any act of corruption, especially at the local levels without hassle.
     They noted that institutions such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), among others which were mandated to fight the canker at all levels, had their offices limited to the regional capitals and only few municipalities across the country, a situation they bemoaned hindered the fight against corruption, especially at the local level.
     The forum, organized by the Ga East Municipal branch of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), was to empower community members to demand for accountability from duty bearers and report all acts of corruption to appropriate authorities.
    It forms part of the Commission’s Anti-Corruption, Rule of law and Accountability Programme (ARAP) and the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP)
    The ARAP programme funded by the European Union (EU) is targeted at reducing corruption and improving accountability and compliance of citizens on the rule of law in the country.
    It was attended by officials from NCCE, CHRAJ, assembly members, traditional leaders, police, Civil Society Organisations, religious leaders, opinion leaders, among others.
    Mr Sulemana Bayensi, the Ga East Municipal Director of NCCE in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of the forum, noted that consistent dialogue and education were imperative if citizens were to demand for accountability from duty bearers as well as to report acts of corruption in the society.
    “I think there is the need for more education. If people are empowered and they know that there is the Whistle Blowers’ Act which protects a person who reports acts of corruption it will encourage people to do that.
    “Really looking at the situation whistle blowing or social auditing is a process, not an event so it will take time for people to be more empowered to readily report issues concerning corruption. I believe people are willing but if they are empowered more, if they get to know that there is something backing them, they will feel free to report issues concerning corruption,” he said.
     He assured community members of the Commission’s commitment to partner with other corruption fighting agencies to ensure that the canker was mitigated within the Municipality.
     “Since we started this project against corruption in 2006, we have not relented in our efforts to bring in other stakeholders like CHRAJ, EOCO, the police and other organisations that are at the forefront of fighting against corruption. We have been doing it and we will continue to do it, through collaboration,” he stated.
     Mr Bayensi also urged community members to desist from acts that tended to litter and degrade the environment to ensure that it was sustained.
     Mrs Darflue Ansah Nartey, a resource person from the Amasaman Division of CHRAJ, also reiterated the need for citizens to actively participate in the governance of the state, especially at the local levels.
     She said this would ensure that they held authorities at such levels accountable for power vested in them.
     Mrs Nartey also urged participants to take advantage of the Whistle Blowers Act by reporting all acts of corruption to the mandated agencies.

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