Civil society organisations are demanding criminal prosecution of public officials found to have engaged in conflict of interest during oil, gas and mining licensing and in the regulation of operations in the extractive industry.
The groups also want an open and competitive process for awarding oil, gas and mining concessions, as well as a mandatory requirement for the disclosure of oil, gas and mining contracts.
Additionally, the CSOs suggest there be a mandatory requirement for the establishment of a public register of beneficial owners in the extractive industries and all their associated interest in Ghana and abroad.
“This could be done through a number of planned legislations – the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Bill or the Companies Bill,” the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) said in a statement following a dialogue by the CSOs on anti-corruption in the extractive industries organised by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) on 9 May 2015, as a prelude to the UK Anti-Corruption Summit.
The CSOs, which considered the hotspots for corruption in Ghana at the Dialogue, said the Government of Ghana must declare its commitment to fighting corruption in Ghana and in the extractive industries in particular by also doing the following:
1. The passage of the Right to Information Bill
2. The passage of the Petroleum (Explorations and Production) Bill
3. The Subscription to Open Data Standards
across Ministries Departments and Agencies
4. Confirm Appointed Heads of Institutions in time to ensure their independence and security of tenure
5. Sign on to the Voluntary and Automatic Frameworks for exchange of information to address illicit financial flows
6. Effectively implement the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) or transform it into an Anti-Corruption Law.
“These commitments should also be backed by timelines to enable citizens to hold the President to account,” ACEP said in a statement.
The CSOs agreed that much of the commitment to fight corruption in the past has been “mere rhetoric without timelines and clarity on actions to be taken.”
“It is our belief that our President, who will be among world leaders to address the UK anti-corruption summit, will use this great platform to commit the government to an anti-corruption agenda that will lay the foundation for a transformative society in Ghana, in which official impunity, corruption and mismanagement of public resources will be stopped.”