Fellow Countrymen, the greatest danger facing Ghana today is that of corruption of officers placed in higher positions to man the affairs of the Country. This social disease has eating into the very fabric of the Ghanaian society to the extent that there is not a single day that passes without such people benefiting from this crime. This social problem is now acting as a catalyst to attract other criminals from some Countries to use Ghana as a springboard for dispensing criminal activities to the western world. Some of these activities are internet fraudsters from foreigners who are now located in Ghana and are duping foreign investors and also drug pushers who are using Ghana as a transit point for dispensing hard drugs like cocaine to the western world. Corruption has become endemic in the Ghanaian society to the extent that, it is gradually being accepted as a norm. For example, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Police Officers, Headmasters etc who had noting to boast of before assumption of Offices can now boast of luxury bungalows, huge foreign bank accounts etc. There is no respect for law as a result people put in places of responsibility do whatever they want.
Nevertheless no country has ever developed with this type of attitude. To stop this social cancer from destroying the Ghanaian society, it is imperative that measures are put in place to uproot the same.
Fellow countrymen, over the past 20 years many African Countries have decreed in their constitutions that all public officers must before they assume office declare their assets in order to eradicate corruption. As an example, let us re-visit the 1979 Constitution, which ushered in Dr. Hilla Liman. The Constitution declared that the President, Cabinet Ministers, Principal Secretaries and all Heads of Corporations must on the assumption of office fill in an asset declaration form. The follow- up Constitution, which brought in the NDC to power, also stipulated the same condition. We stand to be corrected. The essence of the exercise in both cases was to stop Heads of States and public officers from amassing wealth by misusing public funds. It promulgated that a form should be distributed by Principal Secretaries of various government ministries to the Ministers and Heads of Department that would indicate assets owned jointly with spouses, farms for private use, commercial operations and real estate such as buildings and other premises.
The declaration forms were meant to be filled in, when they began their jobs, while at jobs and when they resigned, noting that if there were assets which an individual could not declare and account for when he left office, he would be called upon to explain where he got the asset from. It was also a criminal offence to submit false declaration of information regarding their assets. Unfortunately apart from Dr.Liman who declared his assets and insisted that all ministers and Heads of Corporation must declare their assets, the Heads of State and other Cabinet Ministers who have assumed office since 1981, when he was overthrown, had not declared their assets. We stand to be corrected if they have. If they did, then we challenge his predecessors and their Ministers to publish their assets declaration forms so that the public can compare what they owned before and after their assumption of office.
We can all remember in 1979 some of the armed forces personals were shot for using their position to acquire wealth. These very same people who carried out such barbaric punishment changed the goal post when they were in office. As previously indicated, because heads of state and other responsible people in positions of trust are amassing wealth without being challenged, corruption has now become endemic in the Ghanaian society. You have a situation of cocaine getting lost in police custody. We hear of the involvement of paramount chiefs involved in cocaine deals. You have policemen openly taking bribes and using the proceed to build houses. You have Custom officers at points of Entry taking bribes, taking any item of their choice during inspection, putting up huge mansions and doing things which are beyond their means and yet they do not fear being challenged about where they got the money to build the houses. You have civil Servants in the Passport Office taking bribes and issuing Ghanaian passports to other nationals who are disgracing the image of Ghana. Some of these nationals have become armed robbers terrorising innocent Ghanaians. Some of them have become Internet fraudsters using Ghana as a base to swindle money from foreign businessmen. Even though these criminal activities are taking place under the noses of the law enforcing agencies, they are reluctant to arrest the culprits and send them to Court. The reason is that if they manage and arrest these criminals to court, the judges also take bribes and give them bail so that they can ran away from the Country. The law enforcing agencies see their colleagues in politics, armed forces, Custom Offices amassing wealth with their position.
This "Demonstration Effect" portrayed by the Politicians and Heads of Department has acted as a catalyst to their action. If the top men are stealing then who can stop them from doing the same. The country is now becoming a den of hypocrites and thieves. (Even some of the religious leaders who are to preach morality as spokesmen of God have now become apostles of preaching lies to the poor so that the poor will part with little that they have as tithes to enable the preachers live ostentatiously. The infestation of fraudster in both public and private life must stop now. To keep Ghana clean is a task that must be done. We take the position that the integrity and moral sanctity of the Heads of State, Cabinet Ministers, Heads of Department, the Police Armed Forces, Custom Department etc must never be allowed to be compromised by dishonourable scavengers. We demand that fraudster within any organ of government must be immediately exposed and dealt with. Our people have a right to expect a high standard of decency among their legislators, executive and Judiciary and we believe that these institutions not only have a certain obligation but also a sacred duty as well, to uphold the dignity of the nation.
To uphold this dignity and eradicate corruption from public officers and the nation at large, it is important to note that, we cannot combat this crime unless a leader is created out of people who have compassion for his people. One of the Management maxims is that “an organisation cannot be different from its Chief Executive”. If the top is rotten then those below the top are also rotten. We must now stop the growth of this dangerous social cancer in the Ghanaian society otherwise we shall continue to fail as a nation.
Why have we failed as a nation? Your guesses are as good as ours. A lawless country is a useless country. It is like the desert. You cannot grow anything in the desert unless you channel water to the desert i.e. find a remedy to make it fertile. For this reason, we members of ICPPF calls on the CPP to pursue the Assets Declaration Bill once and for all to liberate Ghanaians from the hands of such unproductive leaders. Ghanaians have suffered for far too long and we demand justice for them now.
ICPPF is a consortium group consisting of professionals in various disciplines. Supporters and prospective individuals seeking to join or support the International Convention People's Party Forum can contact the secretariat for further information. Home address: CPP Germany, Morse Street 5. 40215 Dusseldorf. Tel: 0049-211-3849790 or 0049-162-3524741. [email protected]
On behalf of ICPPF executives and members,