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Sep 5, 2015

Bill to support fight against corruption in the offing

A draft witness protection bill is in the offing to support the country’s effort at fighting corruption.

A witness protection regime is one of the key initiatives under the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), which is the integrated national plan in the fight against corruption.

The acting Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Richard Quayson, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said a witness protection legislation would give impetus to the effort at fighting corruption.

He said already, heads of key accountability institutions in the country had met to discuss the bill, as well as the implementation of the NACAP and had issued a communiqué emphasising their commitment to the fight against corruption.

The institutions included the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI), the Audit Service, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), CHRAJ, and representatives from the Office of the President.

The communiqué stressed that political will was critical for the successful implementation of the NACAP and requested ministers and heads of public sector institutions to comply with the president’s directives issued in March 2015, for all to collaborate in the implementation of the NACAP.

The heads further urged key accountability institutions to conduct effective public education on the NACAP and Whistle Blowers Act and also urged the Attorney General's Department and the Ministry of Justice to complete work on the bill and resubmit it to the Cabinet by mid-October, 2015.

The heads of the institutions also impressed upon the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to lay the bill before Parliament by the end of November, 2015.

They urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, working in collaboration with relevant institutions, to enter into agreement or arrangements with other states for the relocation of witnesses or victims; and urged the Office of the President to work with Parliament to ensure that the bill was passed into law by the end of June, 2016.

The institutions pledged to redouble their efforts to fight corruption in the country by meeting regularly to share information and experiences to ensure effective collaboration in combating corruption in the country.

The meeting afforded the agencies the opportunity to define their roles and eliminate duplication in efforts in the fight against corruption.

The meeting was facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). –Graphiconline