Mr Paolo Salvia, European Union Chargé d’Affaires to Ghana, has commended the Government, for the creation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the subsequent appointment of Mr Martin Amidu, as Special Prosecutor.
“We are looking forward to seeing the concrete results of his work as well as a reinforced engagement by the other institutions involved in this fight,” Mr Salvia stated at the EU Day Celebration Cocktail Reception in Accra.
He said the EU and its Member States, with several programmes such as Anti-Corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability Programme (ARAP), Strengthening Action against Corruption (STAAC) and others, stand ready to support your efforts in this domain.
He said communication and access to information were key elements of transparency and accountability.
“This also explains our interest in Press Freedom and the Right to Information which this year, as in the past, got particular prominence during the EU week. Communication is a two-way process.”
He said important fields for collaboration between the EU and Ghana; related to public finance management, the fight against corruption and the decentralisation process, where Ghana had the historic opportunity to build a consensual proposal for the direct election of local authorities.
“The world is changing and we must adapt our relations and determine a way forward based on our mutual interests and shared values, building on the strong foundations we have laid,” he said.
Mr Salvia, who is also the Acting Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana, said he believed that with renewed commitment and energy from both the EU and Ghana, their partnership might become a reference in the context of the post Cotonou debate.
He recounted that the EU Delegations in this part of the world, started as development offices, focusing on action rather than communication; stating that in some way, the 2007 Lisbon Treaty was the start of their own ‘Beyond Aid’ process.
He explained that the focus was more and more on peace and security, climate change, job creation, trade and investment.
Mr Dominic Nitiwul, Minister of Defence, who represented President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the event, said Ghana and the EU had enduring relations rooted in our mutual commitment to peace and democratic values.
Mr Nitiwul said the current cooperation between Ghana and EU began after the Lomé Convention in 1975.
“We have since then enjoyed fruitful socio-economic and political cooperation, as you rightly indicated, the EU is Ghana’s largest multilateral development and trade partner, offering free access to the EU market via Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA),” he said.
He said Government also acknowledged the EU’s €175 million financial agreement with Ghana for a stipulated period of seven years to support the implementation of specific development projects in the areas of Public Financial Management (PFM), the Stepping Stone Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Sustainable Agricultural Development in the Savannah Ecological Zone, decentralisation and climate change.
He said the interim EPA was ratified by the Parliament of Ghana and the European Parliament in 2016; thus securing Ghana’s access to the EU market.
He said it was obvious that the Government’s desire to improve the country‘s PFM goes hand in hand with the need to fight corruption.
Mr Nitiwul said the initiatives in this sector required accountability, prudent use of resources and transparency in public fund management; declaring that it was in this vein that the Special Prosecutor‘s Office had been established.
He said the Office was expected to ensure accountability as well as effective and efficient use of the resources of the state.
“I want to assure you that the Special Prosecutor will discharge his duties without hindrance even from the Government. This is an important step to manage our public finance,” the Defence Minister said.
He reaffirmed Government’s commitment and determination to strengthening the existing excellent bonds of cooperation and friendship that so happily exist between Ghana and the EU.
“We are confident that Ghana can continue to count on the EU as a valuable development partner in finding solutions to current global challenges such as irregular migration, insecurity and human right violations, radicalism and terrorism, human and drug trafficking, piracy as well as climate change and its attendant impact on the environment and livelihoods,” he said.