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Anti Corruption In Ghana

1. Offenses’ Legal Framework

1.1 International Agreements

Ghana has signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, which were both adopted by Ghana’s Parliament on October 18, 2002.

1.2 Legislation at the National Level

The Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), as revised by the Criminal Offences (Amendment) Act, 2012, is the most important piece of national legislation in this domain (Act 849).

The applicable offenses can be found in a variety of legislative sources, including but not limited to the ones listed below.

It is illegal to offer, agree to grant, or arrange for a public officer any type of incentive for the performance or neglect of duty of that position, according to section 139 of the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891).

Accepting or receiving money or valuable consideration for the performance of an official duty is prohibited under Section 96(1)(e) & (3) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) for any official dealing with procurement or control of government stores, or the collection, management, or disbursement of amounts in respect of a public fund or a public trust. In the same way that the receiver of the consideration is penalized, the giver of the consideration is also penalized.

The act of giving or accepting a bribe for the aim of influencing public elections is illegal under Section 33 of the Representation of the People Law (PNDCL 284).

Any member of the Audit Service who demands or accepts bribes or rewards for the neglect or non-performance of his or her duty is penalized under Section 33(3)(a) of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (

The payment and receiving of bribes in the granting of certifications for government contracts is illegal under Section 2 of the Government Contracts (Protection) Act, 1979 (AFRCD 58).

Bribery and corruption are among the predicate offenses covered by the Economic and Organized Crime Office Act of 2010 (Act 804).

In addition, Article 286 of the Republic of Ghana’s Constitution of 1992 contains a broad asset-declaration clause. This requires anyone holding one of the public official posts named in clause 5 of that Article to submit a written declaration to the Auditor General of all property or assets owned by him or her, as well as all liabilities payable to him or her, whether directly or indirectly.

The President, Vice-President, Ministers of State, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and leaders of public corporations or firms in which the State has a dominant interest are among the positions listed.

1.3 National Legislation Interpretation and Enforcement Guidelines

The following are the guidelines:

  • Section 4 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) stipulates that the Act “must not be construed rigorously, either against the Republic or against the accused person,” but rather “shall be construed adequately and beneficially to give effect to the Act’s intentions.”

  • Under the “Directive Principles of State Policy,” Article 35(8) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana (the 1992 Constitution) enjoins the state to take actions to eliminate corruption and abuse of power.

  • The 1992 Constitution establishes a rule of conduct for public officials in Chapter 24; and

  • In general, courts use common law and Ghanaian case law to aid in the interpretation and implementation of laws, particularly Act 29. In addition, Section 10(2) of the Interpretation Act 2009 (Act 792) gives various assists in understanding Ghanaian legislation.

1.4 Key National Legislation Amendments in Recent Years

The Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill 2020, recently enacted by Parliament, classifies corruption as a crime punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not less than 12 years and not more than 25 years. The bill has yet to be signed into law by the president. The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) Legislative Instrument (LI) has been passed. The LIs are intended to govern the activities of the special prosecutor, whose mission is to prosecute corruption and associated offenses.


2. Constituent Elements and Classification

2.1 Bribery

The following are the applicable offenses:

  • Section 239 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) prohibits corruption of and by a public officer or juror.

  • a public officer issuing a false certificate in violation of Section 249 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29);

  • Sections 244 and 252 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) prohibit taking or offering a bribe to influence a public officer or jury.

Section 253 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) prohibits a judicial officer or juror from making a corrupt pledge.

Section 254 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) prohibits the selection of a juror by bribery; and

Election-related corruption, intimidation, and personation, in violation of Section 256 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

Elements Corruption by public officers: A public officer or juror commits corruption in the performance of official duties if he or she directly or indirectly agrees or offers to be influenced by the gift, promise, or prospect of a valuable consideration to be received by that person or a third party, as defined by Section 240 of Act 29.

Extortion occurs when a public officer acting in the “color of office” demands or obtains money or valued consideration from a person, whether for public objectives or personal benefit, or for another person, that the public officer knows he or she is not lawfully entitled to demand or obtain.

Bribe promise: when a secret agreement is made to offer or procure for a public officer valuable consideration for an act performed by the public officer, the offence is committed.

Bribery: It is illegal to give valuable consideration under the pretense or color of having duly influenced any person in relation to the functions of a public authority.

Acceptance of bribe: This offence is committed when a person who has performed an act as a public officer covertly agrees to take valued compensation for personal gain in exchange for the act performed.

Issuance of a fraudulent certificate: this offense occurs when a public official attests or certifies a document while knowing it to be false in material particulars.

Bribery legislation is a set of laws that prohibits people from bribing

The key laws on bribery and corruption, the Criminal Offences Act of 1960 (Act 29), does not define “bribery.”

Bribery is defined as the promise, offering, or giving, directly or indirectly, of an undue advantage to a public official in order for the official to act or refrain from acting in the performance of his or her official duties; and the solicitation or acceptance by a public official of an undue advantage for the official himself or herself or another person or entity.

Bribery is prohibited by Section 33 of the Representation of the People Law, 1992 (PNDCL 284) when it comes to the conduct of public elections. Bribery is committed in this context when a person, acting directly or via a third party, pays money other valuable consideration or acts corruptly in order to persuade a voter to vote in a certain way before, during, or after an election.

It is illegal for a public officer or juror to receive a bribe in the course of their responsibilities, according to Section 252 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

It is illegal for a public servant to surreptitiously receive a valuable consideration for personal gain or for any other person after performing his or her public job, according to Section 244 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960(Act 29).

It is illegal for a judicial officer or juror to make a corrupt promise in the course of their duties, according to Section 253 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

Any gift, cash, or valuable value provided to a public official with the intent of influencing the officer’s performance of official duties is considered a crime.

Bribery is not just motivated by monetary gain. It also covers any other useful consideration: for example, hospitality costs and facilitation payments are covered under the law.

In Ghana, there is no criminal penalty for failing to prevent bribery.

Under Ghanaian law, the word “public official” has no formal definition. In Ghanaian law, the word “public officer” is used instead. Section 3 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29); Public Officers Act, 1962 (Act 114); Section 77 of the Office of Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 describe a public officer as “a person who occupies a public office” (Act 959).

A “public office” is defined in Article 295 of the 1992 Constitution as an office with emoluments paid directly from the Consolidated Fund or directly from moneys provided by Parliament, as well as an office in a public corporation established entirely with public funds or monies provided by Parliament. Employees of state-owned businesses are covered in the preceding definition as well. Bribery of foreign public officials is illegal in Ghana, according to Act 29. Bribery between private parties in a commercial setting is not covered under Ghanaian law.

2.2 Peddling in Power

Under sections 244 and 255 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), the offence of corruption of and by a public officer or juror includes offenses including the exchange of influence on decision-making for an undue advantage. Foreign public officials’ influence is also prohibited under the law.