President John Dramani Mahama Monday launched a manual of code of ethics for ministers of state and government appointees, with a call on public officials to guard against corruption and bribery.
He reminded ministers of state that there were issues that could be accepted in the traditional cultural context but were unacceptable under the ethics of government and legal conduct.
He, therefore, urged appointees to let the code of ethics serve as their guide, as it was couched to remove the ambiguities and uncertainties that lie at the foreground of decision making by public officials.
President Mahama launched the manual of the code of ethics at the Peduase Lodge in the presence of Vice-President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur, the Chief of Staff, Mr Prosper Douglas Bani, senior government advisors, ministers of state and deputy ministers.
He also used the occasion to formally open an orientation seminar for deputy ministers of state and government appointees.
President Mahama said one of the strongest ways to prevent unacceptable conduct and abuse of office by public officials was to demarcate the ethical boundaries within which the actions and inactions could be deemed to be acceptable or unacceptable.
Therefore, he said, the primary focus of the code of ethics was to assist ministers and government appointees to understand and anticipate areas of conflict of interest, self-dealing, bribery and inappropriate actions in the performance of their duties.
The President said the code of ethics reflected government's vision to maintain a clean government imbued with systems and clear procedures and guidelines for performance and delivery.
“It must be seen as a strong prima facie reason for all to err on the side of caution, especially in situations of ethical conflict. This manual is the first edition of our commitment to high ethical and moral delivery standard.
“It bears my utmost and onerous responsibility as President to lead and carry all of them along with me in this goal to uphold the public interest. It must be seen as extension to my abhorrence to unacceptable behaviours by government officials and the generality of population,” he said.
President Mahama said as President, his view was that corruption must be prosecuted when detected.
However, he said, first and foremost, systems should be put in place to prevent people from engaging in corruption.
“We must prioritise prevention of corruption. We must put in place the systems that prevent people from acting in a corrupt manner or that when they have acted in such manner, they are properly identified and dealt with.
“One of the strongest ways to prevent unacceptable conduct and abuse of office by public officials is to demarcate the ethical boundaries within which the actions and inactions can be deemed to be acceptable or unacceptable,” he said.
By Musah Yahaya Jafaru, Peduase/Daily Graphic/Ghana