Let’s change burden of proof in prosecution of corrupt offences— Kofi Abotsi

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A former Dean of the GIMPA Law School, Mr Ernest Kofi Abotsi, has advocated for changes in the burden of proof in the prosecution of corrupt offences.

In his view, accused persons must be presumed guilty until they prove their innocence.

He said the current practice in which persons accused of corrupt practices were presumed innocent, requiring the state to prove otherwise, undermined the effective prosecution of corrupt cases because the state might not be able to gather enough information against the accused.

Panel discussion

Mr Abotsi was contributing to a panel discussion on ways the country could fight corruption at a forum organised by the Private Sector Led Anti-Corruption Group (PSACG) in Accra last Tuesday.

The PSACG is a project initiated by the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) and funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID’s) strengthening Action Against Corruption (STAAC) programme.

PSACG’s key mission is to aid engagement by the private sector with the government of Ghana through the Office of the Vice President, to tackle corruption because it negatively affects the cost of doing business and investment flows into Ghana.

Current practice

According to Mr Abotsi the current practice was a contributory factor to the many instances of the state having to discontinue cases on grounds of inadequate evidence against the accused.

He argued that the accused person “is the one who has the repository of information to prove otherwise,” and therefore, should be required to do so to spare the state the toil of gathering information “which may be concealed by the alleged perpetrators.”

“The one who is corrupt has all the information. The one who is alleging the corruption may have little information against the accused.

The Attorney General now has to put things together through the various state agencies to be able to make a case against the accused.

“For a country where we do not have enough lawyers and attorney general departments which are not even well resourced, it is easy for the accused to invest in the case and win even when they may be guilty,” he stated.

Other members

Other members of the panel were the Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo and the Technical Advisor to the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr Henry Yentumi.

The rest are the Managing Partner of Addison Bright Sloane, a consultancy firm, Ms Victoria Bright and the Executive Director of Peverett Maxwell, a consultancy firm, Ms Leticia Adu-Ampoma.

In the discussion, all the panellists mentioned corruption as a major impediment to the growth of the private sector by discouraging a free and fair competition on the market and undermining investor confidence.

Mrs Ofori-Kwafo, for instance, expressed dissatisfaction at what she described as the over centredness of corruption on the public sector although “many cases of corruption in the public sector had private sector involvements.”

Ms Adu-Ampoma agreed with Mrs Ofori-Kwafo that there were gaps in the country’s anti-corruption laws but called for stringent enforcement of the current laws because “they are considerably enough to handle the problem.”

Assistance

For his part, Mr Yentumi called on the private sector to assist the public sector to develop systems that would make it easier for the public to access services in public institutions with ease.

According to him, the delays in seeking services in public institutions bred corruption and that, he added, could be resolved by the private sector because “they have the expertise in developing systems that can help shorten the processes involved.”

source: www.graphic.com.gh

Private Sector Anti-Corruption Group (PSACG) Presents Policy Paper on Corruption and Business In Ghana To H.E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President Of The Republic Of Ghana.

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The Private Sector Anti-Corruption Group (PSACG) on Friday, 5th April 2019 presented a policy report on corruption and business in Ghana to the Vice President H.E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia at the Jubilee house Accra. This is in recognition of his role as the Chairman of the Economic Management Team of Government.
The report highlighted the key challenges faced by local and multinational companies operating in Ghana, which predispose them to corruption, how the identified operational bottlenecks affect their businesses and proposed policy recommendations to tackle these challenges.
The findings were put together with primary data collected from a Safe Space forum, which provided a platform for over 30 CEOs of local and multinational businesses to share their experiences on how corruption adversely affects businesses in Ghana. Other sources included key informant interviews with officials from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, and the Chamber of Pharmacy Ghana.
PSACG acknowledged the Government of Ghana’s efforts to improve the business environment through the implementation of various reform initiatives including anti-corruption measures, public sector reforms, reduction of tax burden on businesses, efficient regulatory regime for businesses, and improvement in macro-economic conditions amongst others. However, to them, businesses continue to face significant challenges, which they believe emanated from a number of systemic and institutional hindrances resulting in the high cost of doing business in the country.
PSACG, therefore, took the initiative to contribute to government’s efforts by collating the voices of private sector actors on how corruption hurts their operations. The policy report has been distilled around key themes that reflect the major causes of corruption in doing business including inadequate information on processes and cost of services, multiple regulatory agencies with duplicating and overlapping functions among others.
To help address these challenges, PSACG has proposed practical recommendations and pledged its commitment and support to help the government deal with corruption. Among the key recommendations proposed are implementing a national digital web monitoring complaints system for reporting service ineptitude and corruption. In addition, PSACG proposes establishing 2 a clear governance structure at the ports to regulate inter-agency relations and simplify business
processes.
At the presentation of the policy report, the leader of the PSACG delegation, Mr Charles Zwennes said: “There is clear evidence in Ghana that historically, the fight against corruption has not been as effective as is required to achieve the desired effect. We must however applaud the renewed efforts made by the current government to reduce the incidence of the canker for the sake of improving efficiency and economic growth. We recognise however that it is critical
for these efforts to be sustained and intensified in order to improve economic growth and the general welfare of the nation at large since corruption is the social ill which affects private sector efforts at nation building. PSACG is committed to working closely with government in the efforts to see its eradication”.

The Vice President, H.E. Dr. Bawumia in receiving the policy document welcomed the report and mentioned that some of the recommendations were already being implemented by government through the digitization of processes and that the remainder will be considered seriously. He added that his office is willing to partner with PSACG to continue engaging on
eradicating bribery and corruption from the public sector to aid business efficiency. He said, “As policy makers we are concerned about improving the ease of doing business to improve productivity, efficiency and overall create more jobs. We have therefore put in the following measures to enhance the operations of businesses in the country:
• digitization of the Ports, DVLA, Passport Office, NHIS, Land registry, GRA filing, in which the private sector companies are being engaged
• improved financial inclusion through mobile interoperability with banks and mobile money services
The PSACG will also hold a stakeholder forum with private sector businesses to further discuss issues on enhancing the business environment.

About Private Sector Anti-Corruption Group (PSACG)

Private Sector Anti-Corruption Group (PSACG) established in 2018, is a project initiated by the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) and funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID)’s Strengthening Action Against Corruption (STAAC) program. PSACG’s key mission is to aid engagement with the Government of Ghana, through the Office of the Vice President, in tackling corruption that affects the cost of doing business and enhances investment flows into Ghana.

The UK Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) with support from the heads of the chambers of commerce comprising Canada Ghana Chamber of Commerce (CGCC), European Business Organization (EBO), the Ghana Netherlands Business and Culture Council (GNBCC), and the American Chamber of Commerce, Ghana (AMCHAM) leads PSACG.

For more information about PSACG, contact:
UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce
British High Commission, Accra
Tel: +233 (0) 302 213 214
Email: [email protected]

NB
The challenges and recommendations presented by PSACG are listed below:
Key themes that reflect the major causes of corruption
i. Inadequate information on processes and cost of services;
ii. Multiple regulatory agencies with duplicating and overlapping functions;
iii. Multiple taxes, fees and charges for duplicated services;
iv. Multiple law enforcement agencies performing varied regulatory functions at the ports;
v. Lack of or inadequate channels for reporting corruption; and
vi. Political party funding.
Recommendations by PSACG
(i) Providing regular updates on the publication of services, timelines for delivery, costs of
services on the websites and notice boards of service delivery agencies; as well as adopt
mobile apps and other digital applications for effective information dissemination in all
service delivery agencies,
(ii) Establish a clear governance structure at the ports to regulate inter-agency relations and
simplify business processes;
(iii) Expedite action on the recommendations of the Ports Fees/Charges Committee and
establish similar committees to review charges in other sectors;
(iv) Institute a national inter-sectoral and cross-sectoral review of agencies and their enabling
legislations to remove regulatory redundancies and functional overlaps that constrain
business growth;
(v) Ensure effective coordination of all security agencies operating at the ports, monitor
activities of security officials at the port on CCTV, and apply swift and hefty sanctions
for officers who are found engaging in corrupt activities;
(vi) Establish a national hotline for reporting corruption, clarify the appeal processes for the
resolution of corruption complaints, institute annual mandatory ethics training for all
public servants, get Parliament to pass the Code of Conduct for Public Officers’ Bill, and
mandate CHRAJ to prepare a separate annual report on corruption in administrative
agencies for the Presidency; and
(vii) Explore the feasibility of state funding for political parties including the option to
resource the Electoral Commission to conduct internal political party elections, as well
as revise campaign-financing rules to reduce cost of elections.

Average base rate of banks hits 25.7%

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The average base rate among commercial banks is 25.7 percent.

This represents a 3.4 percent change from the 26.6 percent recorded in September.

According to the Bank of Ghana’s Annual Percentage and Average Interest report, Unibank remains the bank that offers the highest percentage on base rate.

Their interest stands at 35.7 percent. This is however a reduction from the previously recorded 36.8 percent it recorded in August.

Meanwhile Bank of Baroda still offers the lowest base rate of 15.1 percent. It previously recorded 15 percent in September this year.

The base rate is the lowest rate at which a bank would lend to its customers.

Of the 31 banks that were surveyed by the Bank of Ghana, Unibank offers the highest base rate at 35.7 percent.

It is closely followed at the second position by Sovereign Bank whose base rate is at 33.7 percent base rate.

The Royal Bank and Premium Bank occupy the third and fourth highest positions. Their base rates are 33.5 and 33 percent respectively. Omni Bank and National Investment Bank placed fifth with their base rates at 30.4 percent.

Meanwhile Of the thirty one banks surveyed, Bank of Baroda’s 15.1 percent is the least preceded by Standard Chartered Bank and Barclays Bank with base rates at 17.8 and 18.1 percent respectively.

The fourth and Fifth positions are occupied by Societe General and Stanbic Bank with base rates at 18.6 percent and 18.9 percent.

Source: citibusinessnews.com

Agriculture to get 11% of Barclays Bank’s loans

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Barclays Bank Ghana Limited says it is committed to ensuring that farmers get financial support in order to improve productivity.

To show commitment, the bank has set up Agribusiness Desk primarily to address financial concerns of farmers. The bank has also invested over US$57 million into the maize and soya value chain from 2014 to 2017.

The Head of Agribusiness at Barclays Bank Ghana, Mr Andrew Ahiaku, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS after a media dialogue on Wednesday, September 13 in Accra, that the bank had dedicated 11 per cent of its entire loan portfolio to finance agriculture.

He stated that the bank has develope agricultural policy and a strategy aimed at supporting agribusiness in a quest to encourage growth in the sector.

“For us at Barclays Bank Ghana, we see and treat agribusiness as the business of agricultural production,” he said and added that financing of the sector must be approached from the value chain perspective.

Agribusiness is the business of agricultural production, which focuses on agrochemicals, breeding, crop production (farming and contract farming), distribution, farm machinery, processing and seed supply, as well as marketing and retail sales .

Supporting the sector

Touching on projects undertaken by Barclays Bank, Mr Ahiaku noted that the bank had already embarked on several projects such as supporting Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL) in their sorghum project in the northern part of the country.

“Beyond this, the bank has also supported the biggest poultry farmer in the country (Akate Farms) with about GH¢4 million in 2016,” he said.

“Though government wants banks to dedicate 10 per cent for agricultural financing,” he said and added that Barclays Bank had taken a step further to do 11 per cent.

Mitigate risks associated with agricultural financing

Mr Ahiaku called on the government to help mitigate risks associated with the agricultural sector in order to encourage banks to support the sector.

“If the government was able to support the sector such that there was a strong market to sell produce then the only thing banks or farmers will think about was production risk which could be addressed by agricultural insurance,” he added.

So far, he said: “What Barclays Bank is doing is to partner with other stakeholders to mitigate the risks associated with agricultural financing in the country.”

 

Mr Ahiaku was speaking ahead of this year’s National Food and Agric Show (FAGRO), which is slated for Tamale from September 26 to September 30, 2017.

Some of the activities lined up for this year’s event include a leadership summit for women in agriculture, an agricultural colleges dialogue, a seminar on how to structure strong farmers cooperatives, a business plan writing boot-camp for agribusiness players and a forum to discuss the government one- district, one- factory (1D1F) agenda.

UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce marks 1st anniversary

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The United Kingdom-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) has marked one-year of operations in Ghana. It also used the occasion to introduce its new High Commissioner, Mr Iain Walker.

Taking over the ambassadorial position from Jon Benjamin in August, Mr Walker is poised to continue strengthening the relationship between UK and Ghana.

Addressing guests at the cocktail event held in Accra, the new High Commissioner said: “UKGCC is proud to be a year old and more grateful for the opportunity to connect businesses and create further opportunities.”

He congratulated the UKGCC team for achieving enviable milestones within this short period.

The High Commissioner called on the business community to go into more partnerships, highlighting the huge benefits both organisations stood to gain.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Tony Burkson, Chief Executive Officer of UKGCC thanked members of the chamber for believing in the role of the chamber and always being ready to take part in activities that promote and boost their business relationship.

Dignitaries present at the anniversary cocktail included Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

The cocktail provided great networking opportunities for members of the chamber who were present.

The Chamber

The UKGCC is a robust organisation made up of local experts and professionals that will be the voice for British businesses looking to access and engage with the Ghanaian market, while providing assistance to Ghanaian companies investing in the UK.

It facilitates and promotes trade and commercial relations between the UK and Ghana and provides support for its members through the sharing of knowledge and ideas whilst hosting various activities designed to build stronger networks that will connect business and create further opportunities.

Source: Daily Graphic