The Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (CSPOG) has called on lawmakers to consider amending the weaknesses in the country’s anti-corruption legal framework which thwarts government’s efforts to effectively prevent or prosecute corruption in the extractive sector.
The group averred that while corruption has assumed greater sophistication in nature and from Ghana’s legislative framework has not fully criminalized the new forms of corrupt conduct.
“Though to a limited extent, some applicable sections of Ghana Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) may apply to transnational corrupt practices, bribery of foreign public officials and officials of international organizations have not been categorically criminalized. In the same vein both overt and covert bribery in the private sector are often overlooked unless they involve public procurement,” it said.
This was contained in the findings of CSPOG Anti Corruption Report, ‘Lifting the Veil on the Typologies and Nature of Corruption Risks in Ghana’s Mining, Oil and Gas Sectors,’ undertaken with funding from star Ghana.
Presenting the findings of the report, Samuel Bekoe, CSPOG member, said the nature of corruption risks in Ghana’s extractive sector, in many respects, depart from the generic forms of corruption that the country has been attempting to address through the National Anti Corruption Action Plan (NACAP).
“Indeed we find Ghana’s extractive industry, the usual suspects such as bribery, influence peddling, conflict of interest but there are also sector-specific, highly sophisticated forms in which corruption manifests its self in the extractive industry including the abuse of use of shell companies, Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS_, Transfer Pricing Tin Capitalization and so on,” he said.
Mr. Bekoe thus noted that while there is the need to broaden the scope of the country’s fight against corruption to include these new forms, it is even more imperative to revise the anticorruption legal framework to criminalize the acts.
Dr. Steve Manteaw, Chairman for the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) in his remarks said for Ghana to optionally benefit from extractives, corruption prevention efforts should be strengthened across all levels of the extractive decision chain.
“This is expected not only to help develop tailored measures and tighten any legislative and regulatory loopholes but also ensure system effectiveness, boost revenues, improve the fiscal situation of Ghana and ultimately enhance human development outcomes,” he added.
An anti-corruption campaign was also launched at the event.