The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has urged Members of Parliament to maintain political neutrality in the performance of their official functions as Public Officials.

“Whilst the Minister or Public Office Holder may be a politician, the public office he or she occupies is established to serve all members of the public and must be depoliticised.

“Under the Generic Code of Conduct for Public Officials, all Public Officers including MPs are mandated to maintain political neutrality in the performance of public duties, Mr Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner, CHRAJ stated at a validation of Integrity Compliance Tools workshop in Accra.

He explained that Public Officials “shall not, in the performance of official duties, act as agents for or further the interest of political parties – Public office are not party office.

“Public Officials shall not engage in political activity that may compromise or be seen to compromise the political neutrality of public office”.

Mr Quayson explained that the Generic Code of Conduct seeks to promote a high standard of ethics in public service, encourage good governance, transparency and accountability in Public Offices and improve the image of the Public Service in Ghana.

He said the Generic Code of Conduct is also to ensure that public officials are accountable to the people and discharge their duties with responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty.

It also seeks to promote selfless, dedicated and faithful service to the State, which enjoins the Public Officers to honour and abide by the Constitution and the Laws of Ghana in the performance of their official duties with dignity, integrity and professionalism.

The CHRAJ Deputy Commissioner explained that Public Officers in the performance of their official duties are mandated to act with professionalism and integrity and serve the State with honesty, fairness, integrity, neutrality and impartiality.

He said Public Officials are under obligation to ensure that their personal interests or activities do not interfere with or appear to interfere with their obligations to serve the State.

“Public Officers shall not bring the Public Service into disrepute through their official or private activities; shall not allow their personal interests, activities or conduct to interfere with the performance of their duties and shall not engage in any activity that may influence or give the appearance of impropriety in the exercise of official duties.

He said Public Officials are also not to conduct themselves in a manner that undermines the integrity of public service, and shall not put themselves in positions where their personal interests conflict or are likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of their office.

Other mandates of a Pubic Officer includes forbidden from the use of the public office directly or indirectly for private gain, solicit gifts or favours directly or indirectly from any person or accept gifts or favours directly or indirectly from any person when such gifts or favours may compromise the objective performance of official duties.

Mr Quayson said Public Officials prohibited from the use of State property for activities not associated with the performance of official duties.

He said Chapter 24 of the 1992 Constitution provides for the Code of Conduct for Public Officers and the methods for dealing with breaches, which sets forth the values and ethics of public service to guide and support public officers in their work.

It is to secure integrity in the Public Service and enhance public confidence.

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 in Public Service Integrity Programme.

The Officials were also schooled on the Gift Management Policy and Disclosure Reporting Template, and the Code of Conduct Compliance Tools.

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Source: CDA Consult

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