THE Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has organised a day’s training programme on the code of conduct for 35 public officers drawn from the Western Region.
They were taken through topics such as the importance of a code of conduct for public officers, general overview of the code of conduct for public officers, role of public officers in the implementation of the code of conduct for public officers in Ghana, the role of National Ethics Advisory Committee and tools for monitoring compliance with the code of conduct at the workshop held in Sekondi.
In an address read on his behalf to open the training, the Western Regional Minister, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, said Chapter 24 of the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution enjoined public office holders to eschew unethical behaviours or conducts, such as conflict of interest, illicit enrichment and all other improper conducts.
He said the quest for a code of conduct among public officers remained the major preoccupation of government and civil society organisations.
“It will be very undesirable if public officers use their positions to manipulate power, abuse both public management and professional authority for personal benefit, regardless of their status or that of the institution”, he added.
Mr Aidoo said the code of conduct became more important if we were to win the battle of eradicating corruption, adding that “this is rightly so because in a developing country like Ghana which has myriad of problems militating against the provision of quality education, health, infrastructure, agriculture and other services, it is incumbent to ensure that every resource is judiciously used to improve these services for the benefit of all.”
In the performance of duties, he said public officers must uphold public interest, regard public service as a public trust requiring employees to place loyalty above private gains.
The minister said public officers should not engage in transactions, use confidential information or allow the improper use of such information to further any private gain.
Also, he said public servants should not concur in the use of public funds contrary to existing laws, discard favouritism or nepotism and avoid furthering interests of foreign countries to the detriment of the motherland.
“We should adhere to maintain codes as prescribed to promote a strong public image and strive to operate with the utmost of integrity and honour,” he stressed, adding: ”As public officers, we should be able to confront the challenges that we meet on a daily basis in the line of duty such as potential conflicts of interest, mismanagement of contracts and agreements.”
The Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Mr Richard Quayson, noted that a code of conduct for public officers was extremely important in any democratic society.
He said a code of conduct for public officers increased the probability of public officers behaving in ways generally acceptable to the society.
According to Mr Quayson, public officers were expected to be persons of high moral character and integrity since all provisions in the constitution upheld the integrity of a public office.
“The Constitution expects public officers to do right to all manner of persons,” he stressed.
He explained that the code was a generic one based on which all ministries, departments and agencies were required to develop codes of conducts specific to them within the framework of the code, adding that “the code of conduct for public officers is a generic document setting out the minimum standards required of all public officers.”