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03.04.2014 Feature Article

On The Corruption In Ghana---Part 2

On The Corruption In Ghana---Part 2
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Continuing on the corruption in Ghana . On March 9 2014 I was returning to my base via British Airways, after all my frustration with all kinds of corruption and bribery all over the municipality . I got to the airport to weigh my luggage and I had one extra luggage and two over weight bags.

This young girl who could pass for my son and working for the British Airways, requested to help us with the weighing, which I could do by myself. After all the bags were weighed she{Name withheld} asked that we made some adjustments to balance the weights ,so I asked her why is she been so nice to us, but her response was " am always nice" so I took her for her word.

Apparently this young lady was so corrupt and wanted to corrupt us. We were supposed to pay $ 200.00 for the extra luggage and $60.00 each for the two over-weight luggage bringing the total money to be paid to $320.00. This British Airways front office lady had over 6 different receipt books for all kinds of transactions. She wrote a receipt for $ 200.00 for us to pay ,and give her the remaining $120.00 so as she can "split" her corrupt money with with the other clerks at the British Airways counter to enable us pass our other luggage through for free whilst she and the other staff members pocket $120.00 from us.

I asked my wife, don't you think this girl is CORRUPT like most Ghanaians and trying to CORRUPT us as well and therefore am not going to fall for this corruption which is the canker of the Ghanaian society to enrich this irresponsible and corrupt, British Airways front desk clerk ,so we asked her to issue a payment slip for the full amount which is $320.00 and she shamefully did and we paid the full amount.

This is the corrupt practices, the Ghanaian employees of the British Airways are using to bring the integrity and reputation of the airline into disrepute. I would want to strongly advise the management of the British Airways to strengthen their system to avoid losing huge sums of money unsuspecting and uninformed passengers pay to these unwise citizens in Ghana. I was very disappointed because this girl whose name am tempted to mention has no fear, shame or the need to protect the integrity of the company .

This is the attitude the president Mahama expressed concern about, but the sad part is, the president has not able to take a strong stand to address the numerous calls regarding the corrupt practices of his ministers, chief directors, municipal chief executives among others

One of the reasons, Mahama will have difficulty in changing the attitude of Ghanaians stem from the fact that majority of the population witness politicians rise from grass to grace instantly .

This informs the population that this or that politician is corrupt and that is only the means to becoming a rich person. These same politicians and persons in position of trust live in affluence and luxury while the majority of them cannot afford the basic necessities like food, shelter and water and since most people witness some of these corrupt practices they join in and those on top has no moral justification to raise a finger because they are equally guilty.

A case for example was Vicky Hammah who was secretly recorded of how she was to make $ 1 million before she exit politics. Some Ghanaians can read and write and therefore when such information gets to the public and they witness these corrupt officials, how could you change their attitude Mr President Mahama?.

I do not intend to mention names but President Mahama there are too many political appointees who have become very rich over night whom you might want to question their source of wealth which obviously does not come from their pay check and once you are able to change their attitude, they in turn can effect a change those down the ladder.

What majority of Ghanaians witness is, corruption in high places to the highest order without any sense of the will to sacrifice for the betterment of the whole country and this attitudinal change should start from the top to the buttom.

Measures could also be put in place to strengthen all governments institutions to eliminate corruption. One of them is mortuary attendant has no business of collecting money meant for the cashier or the hospital. Neither should the girl at the weighing stand be there because most of the passengers are either returning to Europe or US have vast knowledge of what are their responsibilities. She should be given only one check book for all her records for one flight, so she could be audited at the end of the day with her recordings.

When I was living Ohio, I had to weigh my bags on my own and once I knew what to pay in excess I paid it at the counter, so I did not have to deal with the corrupt girl of the British Airways The government functionaries are not just unpatriotic but as so corrupt that it gives room for others within their set up to follow what is been practice without any fear or been caught.

This girl at the British Airways was so bold that I believed she was doing this with the full knowledge of her supervisors ,otherwise she would not have been that confident of her corrupt practices Once the president has taken initiative to have persons of shady characters and life styles prosecuted and punished it will send some alert signals to others.

I don't think I have words to describe the corruption in the Ghana Police Force from an eye witness account. Disgrace and embarrassing is understatement. I had to run an errand at Prampram to cart some canopies and chairs for a function in Accra. On reaching the Tema Roundabout an MTTU police officer stopped the driver for unknown reason. Before we stopped, the driver said all the policeman needed was a cedi or two . So I sat very attentive observing what will be the reason for stopping the driver and what will exchange hands. As the police officer approached the driver from the passenger side he asked to see his license but instead the driver put in currency I always describe as the red one in a paper and handed it over to him ,off we went.

The corrupt officer has been offered just one cedi and the driver left off the hook . That is the marriage between the corrupt driver who corrupted the officer. These officers have no concept of why they are no the road. They are there to protecting life and property instead they see the road assignments as a means of enriching themselves instead of the reason for which they were enlisted. On our way back to Accra we got to another check point and the MTTU officer opened the passenger door of the KIA haulage truck we were travelling .

So I asked him why did he opened my door because I was not the driver and did not have any dealings with him so next time he needs my permission to open my door since I was not the designated driver. I knew my right and here again the driver just handed him NG 2.00 in the same old paper. My question is does these officers and the commercial drivers have any intelligence or integrity or any reason for the continuous exchange monies .

I had a discussion with the commander of one the police stations within the Accra Metropolis for a permit for a road closure.

The commander turned the request down on two occasions for unexplained reasons because were refused to bribe him ,so the third time I declined to accompanied my cousin for the third time because I refused to be corrupted, because the commander is corrupt. It was such a disgrace that he openly ask for money to grant or sign the permit.

Then a few days into the function a bunch of police officers misusing their sirens ,came to the function with the intent of creating a non existing situation for money. I stood my grounds and fired salvos at the corrupt practices and one of them I identified the second time we were at the station made it clear to us that they will need money from my family because the assignment was going to be a difficult one. So I went off on them because I knew he had organized them to come with the intention of been bribed. That is how corruption has been institutionalized in the police force in Ghana.

On another occasion I was returning from Elmina near Cape Coast , on the commercial vehicle with some luggage at the back , little did I realized that was a fertile ground to make money off the driver. The MTTU police officer signaled the driver to move on but on realizing that he had luggage at the back ,he blew his whistle for the driver to stop, it took almost half an hour between the driver and the officers to negotiate the bribe money. I got out of the vehicle to yelled at both the driver and the police and in disgrace finally allowed the driver to continue the trip which included foreigners who had visited the Elmina castle. It was very embarrassing to those of us who are Ghanaians especially the irresponsibly manner they conduct their fraudulent business.

Most of these commercial drivers do not have formal education or concept that they do not have to corrupt the officers so the only way they know is to bribe the officer and continue to drive their non road worthy vehicles ,putting majority of Ghanaians at risk.

A few days back ACP Kofi Boakye in Kumasi also made it clear that the attitude of the MTTU officers are embarrassing to the police institution and this should be a concern for the government, the police institution and the public at large. This is because if a concern is coming from one of their own especially a person in position of trust and authority then we are serious trouble as a country.

In the United States they police are not only trained to maintain law and order, but comes to the rescue of its citizens in every situation being accident, storm ,domestic dispute among others without thinking of benefiting financially or materially. I remember a week before I came to Ghana there was an old lady whose fingers had swollen that it was cutting into her skin.

So I called the police who directed that the Fire Service were the institution responsible for situations of that nature. They gave me the number and within 30 minutes there were there ,job done and gone . This is just part of service to the citizenry and did not look forward to any monetary reward.

I will encourage the Mahama government to take bold ,pragmatic measures as well as institutionalized systems to minimize corruption within the society for its a shame what I experience at the mortuary ,the airport and the eyesore of the police activities.The only way to change the attitude and the corrupt practices in the society is to start from the top and within.

Eric Ekow Okotah
Eric Ekow Okotah, © 2014

The author has 32 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: EricEkowOkotah

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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