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Fight against corruption should start at leadership level

President John Evans Atta Mills at the week-end said that any fight against corruption should start at the leadership level, indicating that the menace often led to unpleasant results.

He said it must be demonstrated that corruption should not be encouraged and the passage of anti-corruption legislation was to strengthen the ability to monitor and check the vice in society.

In an interaction with former US President Jimmy Carter who called on him at the Osu Castle in Accra, President Mills indicated that Government intended to pass the Right to Information Law "with very little delay" to put the vice under check.

The former US President is leading a delegation to attend a three-day African Regional Conference on the Right and Access to Information, which opens on Sunday in Accra.

President Mills said the right and access to information and transparency was the basis for vibrant democracy and accountability in the management of public funds.

He said that checking corruption must transcend the public sector to include the private sector.

The President observed that the foundation for the Right to Information Law was laid by the past Kufuor Administration, and the present Government would continue from where the former administration left off.

President Mills stressed that there was the need for widespread education for people to understand the law as well as their rights and obligations.

The President said Ghanaians were justified in their high expectations in his administration adding that Government would under no circumstance abuse the confidence reposed in his administration.

President Mills said: "We want to make sure we maintain and improve upon what we have," and that Government was setting up a body to effectively manage the proceeds from Ghana's oil find.

On the success of the conduct of last year's General Election, President Mills attributed the success to divine intervention, explaining that Ghanaians prayed a lot for successful polls.

President Mills said "I think that God heard our prayers," but the presence of international monitoring bodies like the Carter Foundation also contributed to the success of the polls.

He thanked the Carter Foundation for supporting Ghana to go through free, fair and transparent polls last year.

"The very mention of the Carter Foundation send shivers down the spine of those who intend to cheat," President Mills said.

Former President Carter praised Ghana on her democratic credentials and pointed out that access to information was an essential for good democratic governance.

He said the Foundation was ready to assist with its expertise for the conduct of successful polls.

Participants to the conference would be drawn from governments, regional and international institutions, civil society, media and the private sector from at least 15 focus countries on the continent.

In-depth discussions will be held on the four main objectives of the conference - identify and explore challenges and potential solutions specific to Africa, bring together stakeholders to enhance a regional community of practice, encourage multi-stakeholder national clusters to advance the right of access to information; Create and disseminate regional findings and a plan of action

Source: GNA