Critical Perspectives No. 12 Making the Policy of "Zero Tolerance for Corruption" a reality in Ghan
01 January, 2003
Critical Perspectives No. 12
Making the Policy of "Zero Tolerance for Corruption" a reality in Ghana: A focus on the Serious Fraud Office
By H. Kwasi Prempeh (No. 12)
In this essay, Prempeh provides a concise description of the origin, structure and purpose of Ghana’s Serious Fraud Office (|SFO), thereby helping to demystify the agency's mandate and clarify its role in the country's fight against corruption.
He argues that by pursuing, investigating and helping to prosecute those responsible for fraud, the SFO helps the nation to avoid financial losses and save much-needed money. This makes the SFO highly relevant to Ghana's efforts to implement a policy of "zero tolerance for corruption."
Prempeh also undertakes an insightful review of the sources of the SFO's credibility and public image problems. While noting that initial fears of the SFO becoming a witch-hunting body with an agenda primarily driven by politics have proved largely unfounded, Prempeh draws attention to the inherent danger posed by the structure of appointment of the agency's board of directors and executive.
In addition to improving the structure and public image of the SFO and augmenting its resources, Prempeh recommends effective interagency cooperation as a key means by which the SFO could enhance its effectiveness and viability as a valuable defender of the public interest. To this end, he recommends a review of the SFO's complementary mandates with a view to enhancing interagency.