The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has tasked Management of Public Sector Institutions to demonstrate commitment and support to the goals of corruption prevention and integrity development.
“Government Officials, Ministers, Departments and Agency Heads must publicly exhibit dedication to combat corruption, openly proclaim institutional statements on Zero Tolerance, Values and Ethics, Mr Richard Quayson, CHRAJ Deputy Commissioner stated at a two-day validation of Integrity Compliance Tools workshop in Accra.
He also challenged Public Institutions to publish an In-House Policy on Code of Conduct for staffs to partners, whilst urging leaderships to allocate budget lines for anti-corruption activities within their establishment.
Mr Quayson also noted, Heads of Public Institutions are under obligation to educate their staffs on the Assets Declaration Mechanism, modalities for conflict of interest disclosure and include code of conduct provisions in contract of employment.
The CHRAJ Deputy Commissioner also charged leadership of the public sector institutions to infuse into staff induction and continuous training compliance with the Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest rules, Ethics Advisory, and Confidential Guidelines.
Mr Quayson said all public institutions are mandated to appoint Ethics and Compliance Officers, set up Ethics Committees to regularly review and monitoring complaint, internal investigation and discipline mechanisms
He said Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are authorized to conduct staff ethics training and develop activities, such as seminars, and workshops, to promote healthy life style at institutional levels.
He said CHRAJ had already trained the first batch of 50 Ethics and Compliance Officers who are also to serve as trainer of trainees within the public service.
The responsibilities of the Ethics Officers includes; to monitor the implementation of the Code of Conduct and other Anti-corruption measures, encourage employees to report corruption, suspected and attempted corruption and set up a hotline for receiving complaints.
The Ethics Officers are also to formulate policies and procedures to protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers, set up internal investigation mechanism to investigate complaints/reports and set up internal audit and surprise check system.
He said Ministries, Departments and Agencies are also obligated to adopt institution-specific Code of Conduct including clear policy guidelines for gifts, loans and entertainment.
“Staff recruitment within the public sector must be conducted transparently,” he said.
He said integrity clauses must be included in staff contracts, and in staff appraisal.
He said Public Institutions are additionally obligated to set-out clear procedures and mechanisms to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability.
“MDAs must roll-out modalities to assess corruption vulnerability in their organizations, review systems and procedures to make them more efficient and responsive to public needs and strengthen internal controls.
“Public Institutions must also set-out mechanisms to monitor the implementation of anti-corruption and integrity programmes and ensure that staffs comply with such measures,” he said.
Mr Quayson said Senior Managers are also to promote a clean departmental culture, managing staff integrity, set-out system control and guidelines on conduct and discipline as safeguards against corruption and malpractice
He said Front-line Staff are also to adhere to anti-corruption laws, and related rules and regulations, remain alert to corruption pitfalls and maintain prudent financial management, and report attempts made to corruptly influence the performance of their duties as public officers.
“Public expectations are rising, and public officials are increasingly being called to account for their decisions and actions in office.
“The public does not demand that public officials be superhuman or infallible, all that the public demands is to be reassured that decisions made in public offices are not actuated by self-interest,” he said.
The two-day seminar was attended by Senior Public Officers from Ministries, Departments and Agencies which was also used to update the skills of the officers on the Public Service Integrity Programme.
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