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Parliament is most 'disappointing' body in corruption fight – Vitus Azeem

BY: Felix A. Baidoo
Vitus Azeem
Vitus Azeem

An anti-corruption crusader, Mr Vitus Azeem, has described Parliament as the most “disappointing” institution in the fight against corruption.

According to him, instead of Parliament setting good example for others to emulate, Parliamentarians have rather chosen to shield their members when accused of indulging in corrupt activites.

Mr Azeem explained that instead of Parliament allowing independent bodies to investigate its members when accused of any wrong doing, it prefer covering their own by only investigating its members and ending up allowing them to go free in a manner that seems like working for themselves and not the nation.

Mr Azeem who is a former Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) said this in an interview with Graphic Online at the sidelines of the closing ceremony of a two-day anti-corruption training and manual validation workshop for coordinators of integrity clubs at the Samaritan Village in Kumasi.

In attendance at the workshop were 20 teachers who are coordinators of the integrity clubs in their schools from all the ten regions.

The workshop was also used to validate anti-corruption manuals which are going to be the guiding and operating document for the various integrity clubs across the country.


Background

Following the rising incidents of corruption in the country, the Forum for Actions on Inclusion, Transparency and Harmony (FAITH) in Ghana alliance which is made up of various faith-based organizations in the country teamed up with the Catholic Bishops Conference to find a lasting solution to the canker.

The anti-corruption project dubbed “ I-Shame corruption in Ghana” is aimed at educating the youth in schools to understand what corruption was all about and its effects.

For a start, 20 integrity clubs comprising two clubs from each region are being formed in the selected schools and piloted for two years before being rolled out across the country with support from Star Ghana, UKAID and other stakeholders.

Challenge

The anti-corruption crusader, Mr Vitus Azeem questioned, “how can you pass laws on corruption and when there is a case against any member of yours, you rather want to investigate yourself.”

Adding, he said until Parliament do the right thing by allowing independent bodies to investigate them, no one would take them seriously.

He recounted the various accusations leveled against parliamentarians such as the double salary saga, the bribery allegation against the appointment committee among others which should have been investigated by independent institutions to get to the bottom of the issue.

Mr Azeem also challenged civil society groups in the country to do more by organizing the populace to demonstrate against and marching to Parliament House to protest against what was going on in the country so they would begin to do the right thing.

He asked “When was the last time they were able to come out with bad findings about a member after they investigated the person so that other institutions would emulate them.

Commendation

Mrs Irene D. Minston-Amihere, a Civic Education Officer at the National Commission for Civic Education, lauded the FAITH alliance for the move towards the formation of the clubs since it would go a long way to put some fear in the youth to desist from being corrupt.

She said the “I-Shame corruption in Ghana project” was in line with another project being executed by the NCCE dubbed, Anti-corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability Project (ARAP) which requires people in leadership positions to be accountable to the people they led.

The Civic Education Officer reminded the coordinators to be beyond reproach by allow themselves to be influenced so others would emulate their good leadership roles.

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