Standard Chartered Bank has organised its maiden anti-bribery and corruption forum to tackle bribery and corruption, specifically in the private sector of the country.
Speakers at the forum, who included the Head of Financial Crime Compliance at Standard Chartered Bank, Ghana, Mr Julian Wrigley, the Co-Chair of the Citizens Movement Against Corruption (CMaC), Mr Edem Senan, and the Executive Director of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Mr Frank Adu-Poku, came to a consensus that corruption in the country was endemic hence the need for an all hands on deck to fight the canker.
They maintained that the private sector and civil society groups played a key role in pushing the government to fight corruption.
Public must join in the fight
Mr Adu-Poku urged the public to join in the fight against corruption by releasing information on corrupt activities to the relevant authorities.
“The Whistle Blower Act was passed in 2006 as part of the fight against corruption and they wanted to encourage members of the public to be active participants in the fight against corruption,” he stated.
He said the Act considers about six areas which included reporting on economic crime, injustices in the system, environment degradation, stealing and embezzlement.
“This Act was passed for people to be convinced that they are also partners in fighting crime and there is a reward system in it,” he noted.
He said although this system had worked perfectly in other jurisdictions, it had worked well in Ghana due to the reluctance of individuals to release information on bribery and corruption activities.
Private sector corruption
Mr Senanu Edem, on the other hand, said civil society organisations had not done enough as far as private sector corruption in the country was concerned.
He said this was due to the lack of a legal and policy framework in the private sector.
“Traditionally, civil society has seen itself as the fifth estate of the realm and we like to engage governments in a bid to hold them accountable and typically, that is because the legal framework and policy framework are well defined.
“We usually want to find out what the Constitution says and what the policies say and how we can use the right tool approach to hold a duty bearer accountable.
“It is easy for us to engage public sector entities and make them do the right thing but we have not paid much attention to the private sector due to the unavailability of a framework,” he said.
Provoking issues of national importance
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Standard Chartered Bank, Dr Emmanuel Oteng Kumah, said the forum was one of the bank’s thought leadership ideas to provoke issues of national importance.
He explained that organising the forum was to engage key stakeholders in the corruption fight to come out with more practical solutions in curbing this vice.
“As a bank, hosting this event demonstrates our commitment to fight bribery and corruption and broader financial crimes like money laundering and terrorism financing and so on,” he stated.