GACC celebrates its 20th Anniversary

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GACC's 20th Anniversary Celebration
GACC's 20th Anniversary Celebration

The Executive Secretary of GACC, Mrs. Beauty Emefa Nerteh, has posited two decades ago, the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition was founded to confront corruption and governance issues with a concerted approach from government, civil society, and the private sector.

She was speaking at the commemoration of its 20th anniversary with the aim of taking stock of progress, challenges as well as setting the agenda for the next decade of concerted efforts in the fight against corruption in Ghana.

The occasion Dubbed, “building partnership in the fight against corruption”, to place on Tuesday, 7th December 2021, at the Fiesta Royal Hotel in Accra.

According to her, the formation of GACC followed the 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference held in Durban, South Africa, in October, 1999, which among others, produced a consideration for a more holistically approach with the broad spectrum of stakeholders playing an active part in the anti-corruption fight.

She indicated that, in Ghana, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) held the National Integrity Workshop in Accra on the heels of the conference in Dubai. “The recommendations from these two events contributed to an informal mobilization of anti-corruption actors, termed the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC),” Mrs. Nerteh noted.

She further disclosed that, the World Bank in August 2000 supported the Government of Ghana to undertake a diagnostic study of the phenomenon of corruption in Ghana. The study entitled the Ghana Governance and Corruption Survey Evidence from Households, Enterprises and Public Officials was undertaken by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD -Ghana).

This study according to her recommended, inter alia, the broadening of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition by involving a wider range of stakeholders – government, the business sector and NGOs; including religious bodies.

The survey recommendations inspired the formal registration of the GACC with a certificate to commence business on the 13th of March 2001.

The GACC, initially hosted by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (Gll), was established as a unique cross-sectoral grouping of public, private, and civil society organizations with a vision to create a society in which transparency, accountability and integrity are upheld.

The GACC sought to coordinate the running of a wide based platform capable of effectively tackling corruption issues within Ghana. The membership of GACC has grown from seven (7) to thirteen (13) during the last two decades.

The Executive Secretary of GACC, continued that, the Coalition has over the years carried out various activities including, research, corruption monitoring, CSO and citizen capacity building on anti-corruption issues, and local, national, and sub-regional level advocacy to impact change.

Due to that, the coalition has gained recognition and credibility, as well as legitimacy among public, private, and civil society organizations in Ghana, the sub region and beyond. GACC’s concerted approach to the fight against corruption particularly at the local level, prompted the creation of Local Accountability Networks (LANets) in 34 districts in 13 of Ghana’s 16 administrative regions.

The LANet brings together members of local civil society, ensuring that its membership is representative of the district’s citizen sub-groups.

“Over the years, their efforts have resulted in increased collaboration between local government, service providers, and citizens to ensure timely delivery of infrastructure and services, as well as quality infrastructure and better services, and more importantly accountable governance.

GACC also supports the LANets to monitor the implementation of audit recommendations of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA) to ensure local governments responsiveness to audit recommendations and thereby, strengthen their financial systems.

At the national level, GACC initiated the periodic anti-corruption CSOs engagement platform with ‘the three arms of government (the Executive, legislature, and the Judiciary) in 2017 to discuss concerns of mutual interest and proffer evidence-based recommendations on issues bothering on corruption, governance, and decentralization.

GACC has also contributed to the passage and implementation of critical Ghana anti-corruption legislations such as; Whistleblowers Act of 2006 (Act 720) passed.

GACC also developed a simple handbook to help people comprehend the Act, which was translated into four different Ghanaian languages. Influence the Whistle Blower Amendment process with findings from nationwide stakeholder engagements, Right to Information Act of 2019 (Act 989), Office of the Special Prosecutor Act Of 2018 (Act 959), Witness Protection Act of 2018 (Act 975), and Public Financial Management Regulations of 2019 (L.1 2378) etc.

In the sub region, GACC also coordinated procurement and contract monitoring activities in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia. Currently, GACC is supporting CSO procurement and Audit implementation monitoring work in Sierra Leone and Benin.” She added.

Mrs. Nerteh, emphasized that, “Today, we pause to look back at the journey this far. We look back to celebrate our achievements as a coalition and to recognize the institutions and the men and women that have sacrificed to keep the GACC relevant and functional. We look back to take stock of our contribution to anti-corruption and good governance in Ghana, and West Africa. As happy as we are about our achievements, we recognize that more needs to be done to make the desired impact against corruption in Ghana. Against this background, we deem today as a solemn occasion for reflection with the view to learn from the past to inform the future.”

The coalition, has been emboldened with its new five year (2020 to 2024) strategic plan, shifted strategic focus to a catalytic enabler of the anti-corruption space in Ghana. “Today’s event thus affords us the opportunity to examine the anti-corruption landscape in Ghana and make a determination on the relevance of our strategic priorities in the current climate.” She concluded.

Hon. Alfred Tuah Yeboah, Deputy Attorney General, MoJAGD, in his keynote address stated that, it is a perfect time to reflect on and take into account the road travelled thus far and the paths to follow in the arduous journey of the fight against corruption.

He said, “I salute the Executives and organizers for their efforts in leading this important discussion on a key priority of this government’s commitment to fight corruption and restore public trust in our system.”

The Deputy Attorney General, emphasized that, “all gathered here are fully aware that corruption has a cost: Llyord Distant Jnr., President of Jamaica Chamber Commerce stated that “corruption in the public sphere represents an insidious surcharge destined for the pockets of the few, that are funded by the many, specifically by the taxpayer”.

According to him, corruption weakens the foundations of the rule of law, stunts the growth of our economy and feeds on a wide range of areas such as education, health, politics, sports, national security, water, and other poverty alleviation measures, but its worst effect is causing demoralization and hopelessness.

“It is an existential threat that needs to be uprooted and flushed out with every strength we have.
This Government led by H.E. Nana Akuffo-Addo in its desire not to let corruption go unchecked, even at a time when the country is grasped in the devastating clutches of the Covid-19 pandemic, has intensified the reforms, through a reinvigorated set of plans, mechanisms and tools targeting the policy, legal, institutional, and administrative levels,” he stressed.

Hon. Tuah, continued that, through the bold leadership of H.E. The President, who has not only grasped the nettle through consistent and relentless public support to the Anti-Corruption objective, but also provided the political leadership to nurture every single step of progress achieved thus far.

He said, of all previous governments’ efforts, this is by far the most daring affront against corruption we have witnessed.

Adding, “this administration has made full and effective use of our Anti-Corruption arsenal. I will take this opportunity to cite a few examples of these efforts:
As part of steps to enhance transparency, efficiency and accountability, our public sector organizations have initiated and sustained the automation of key processes as part of good governance ideals. Examples include: the mobile money interoperability system, which creates convenience for mobile money users to transact business from their comfort places and would improve the efficiency of the country’s tax collections efforts and stem capital flight; the digitalization of the tax system, which improves the tax system, enhancing revenue collection and sealing revenue leakages.

This Administration is committed to ridding our nation of corruption, as is evidenced by the passage of these sunshine legislations of the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), which gives substance to Article 21(1)(f) as a fundamental human right guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution; the Witness Protection Act, 2018 (Act 975), Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 (L.I. 2378) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959) which established the Office of the Special Prosecutor, an institution of which we are very proud.

In 2016, the Government withdrew the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Bill, known as the “spy bill”, from parliamentary consideration which would have had the potential to undermine the right to privacy in private communications. This has ensured the continual key role played by the media as a stakeholder in tackling corruption.”

He underscored the need for all of us to also play our part by reporting corrupt activities to the relevant authorities. This, he said will ensure effective prosecution of corruption related cases backed with cogent evidence and consequently render corruption a high risk activity.

On behalf of the Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Richard Quayson, who’s the Vice Board Chairman of GACC and Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo, congratulated GACC for the successes chalked in the past 2 decades.

Indicating that, “GACC boasts 13 organizations that work together to fight corruption and promote good governance. Eight of these organizations have been in the coalition for the past 20 years. It is no mere feat to have many organizations working together for so long. There is a reason we don’t see a GACC-esque coalition everyday. It takes a lot of work to sustain coalitions.”

She however said, the prevalence and pervasiveness of corruption today requires that we put on an older head as a coalition and operate innovatively in order to rise up to the challenge. “We are here to celebrate, but we are also here to chart a new anti-corruption path.

Today’s celebration is not limited to the entity known as GACC. It is a celebration of all the institutional members of the Coalition;
1. Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana)
2. Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ)
3. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
4. Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO)
5. Ghana Audit Service
6. Ghana Conference of Religions for Peace
7. Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII)
8. Ghana Journalists Association (GJA)
9. Good Governance Africa (GGA)
10. National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE)
11. Private Enterprise Federation (PEF)
12. Public Procurement Authority (PPA)
13. Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)

There is no need to belabour the difficulty of partnerships, any kind of partnership. However, I therefore will like to say Ayekoo to all the institutional members.

There are many stakeholders that have given us support over the years and I will like to say Ayekoo to you as well, development partners, the media and other CSOs in the governance space. We are here today to celebrate your work with us and your support for us over the years. I am certain we can count on it for many more years to come.”

Dr. Angela Lusigi, Resident Representative of UNDP Ghana, in a goodwill message read on her behalf, by
Dr. Edward Ampietwum, indicated that through the work of Civil Society Organizations across the globe, there have been some movement on the anti-corruption agenda, and the case of Ghana is not too different. He said, “I may not want to bore you with statistics on corruption indicators, yet, across the globe, we know that Corruption is one of the biggest impediments achieving the SDGs.”

According to the UNDP representative, Dr. Edward Ampietwum, “Globally, every year 1 USD trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated 2.6 trillion USD are stolen annually through corruption. Compare that with the financing gap for the SDGs that is estitnated at 2.5 trillion USD per year in developing countries. The money we lose in corruption is money that is lost for the development of our societies. The UN estimates that funds lost to corruption represents 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

UNDP wishes to pledge our support to the work that GACC and other CSOs are doing towards promoting a culture of integrity and anti-corruption in Ghana.

We call on all actors to accelerate efforts towards the achievements of the SDGs by promoting a space for social-accountability, public trust and integrity for development to thrive in Ghana and beyond.”

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