The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has recommended urgent steps in fine-tuning the country’s justice system for a satisfactory global corruption image.
It comes after Ghana scored 43 out of 100 in the 2023 index published today, January 30, 2024, by the Transparency International (TI).
The index ranked Ghana 70th on a list of 180 countries worldwide and 8th in Sub-Sahara Africa, depicting a stagnated prevalence of corruption in the country.
TI noted that the decline and stagnation in the world is linked to weakening justice systems which is shielding public officials from accountability.
GII believes fast-tracking works on the Conduct of Public Officers’ Bill for onward Parliamentary approval will go a long way to deal with corruption in Ghana.
“The Executive should urgently take steps to lay the Conduct of Public Officers’ Bill in Parliament ensuring that provisions on assets declaration require verification and come with severe sanctions for non-compliance while GII also calls on the legislature to attach an equal level of urgency to its timely passage.”
It also proffers prosecution of public officials over unexplained wealth, influence peddling and other acts.
“The Executive and the Legislature must take steps to bridge the legal gaps necessary for the prosecution of selected corruption cases outside our current legal framework. These anti-corruption frameworks include unexplained wealth, influence peddling, and all aspects of the UNCAC, among others.”
Additionally, the GII recommended that the government give the justice system the resources and transparency needed to effectively punish all corruption offences and provide checks and balances on power.
It further called for reformation in libel and defamation laws that gag the media and prevent it from investigating and reporting suspected criminalities while journalists must be able to comment fairly on legal proceedings and report suspected or actual corruption or bias.
It added, “The Judicial Service should institute limited immunity for judges in matters related to judicial duties while excluding immunity in corruption or criminal cases.
“Expand, strengthen and increase knowledge of the public on the Public Relations and Complaint Unit (PRCU) of the Judicial Services. This will ensure a confidential and rigorous whistleblower policy for reporting suspected breaches, ensuring the involvement of lawyers, court users, prosecutors, police, media, and civil society.”