Modern Ghana logo

FEATURED: Ghana Needs A College Of Common Sense To Function Well...

body-container-line
Press Review | Oct 28, 2004

EDITORIAL- Corruption: in High And Low Places

Ghanaian Chronicle

The very nature of liberal democracy, which we now practice, room is created for corruption and despite all their protestations to the contrary, our politicians will remain corrupt so long as that system of political organization is continued.

By this, we may be sounding defeatist and by inference, would be admitting that we can do nothing about this canker that has become the bane of our development.

By the very nature of liberal democracy, which we now practice, room is created for corruption and despite all their protestations to the contrary, our politicians will remain corrupt so long as that system of political organization is continued.

By this, we may be sounding defeatist and by inference, would be admitting that we can do nothing about this canker that has become the bane of our development.

Corruption in Ghana is widespread; beginning from the very bottom of the social ladder right up to the top: from the messenger at the court who cannot "find" a sensitive docket but by some miracle locates it after some palm-greasing, to the chief director, even a minister who bypasses the recommendations of a tender board and awards the contract to a firm which "nicodemously" agrees to give him a substantial cut in the form of a kickback, the tentacles of corruption reach every where.

When the NPP government under President J.A. Kufuor blithely announced a "zero tolerance for corruption", many skeptical Ghanaians took it with a pinch of salt. They did so because the very nature of politics invites corruption. We expect our political leaders to literally "sweat" money and by doing so pass some on to those who follow them.

This attitude of most of us, by which a politician who does not readily hand out money is adjudged "Armstrong", is one of the major reasons why we continue to wallow in backwardness and poverty.

Indeed, it does not take a rocket scientist to see the linkage between corruption and under development.

To give just one example; a finance minister who spends a whopping ¢ 100 million on a birthday party cannot, by any stretch of imagination, convince anybody that someway somehow, he is not involved in corrupt dealings! And this happened right here in Ghana a few years ago.

Thus the battle to contain corruption within manageable parameters must begin with institutional reforms as well as a paradign shift in attitudes to wealth. In this respect, we must admit that the NPP government is setting the right example by the way it has allowed certain laws to be passed.

As the country Director of the World Bank, Mr. Mats Karlson has observed, corruption in Ghana will abate when the major financial reform programmes it has began - Public Procurement, Financial Administration and Internal Audit - kick off and begin to be strictly implemented.

This year, Ghana's score in the Corruption Perception Index (CDI) of Transparency International's (TI) corruption assessment, is really nothing to write home about. According to the Executive Secretary of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local arm of TI, Mr. Daniel Batidam, "when the score for this year (2004) is placed side by side with those from the last couple of years, it becomes clear that very little has changed on the anti- corruption front, indicating that we have been stagnating at the bottom third position."

The only saving grace we have had is the good international prices for cocoa and gold plus the huge increase in our cocoa production, which has given us some leverage apart from the savings from HIPC. Thus, the correlation between corruption and underdevelopment has not been too glaring. However, we call on the government and the good people of Ghana to wake up and realize that every dollar dissipated to corrupt practice means that a poor man somewhere cannot feed his family for a day.

Political handouts of paltry sums of money will not solve the problem and only reduce man's dignity. We, as a people, must realize that by expecting too many material things from our politicians, we merely encourage them to steal from the national coffers to our detriment.

We must learn to expect much more transparency and accountability from our public office holders, not simple monetary tokens that only reinforce our poverty and dependence. Corruption kills progress.Corruption in Ghana is widespread; beginning from the very bottom of the social ladder right up to the top: from the messenger at the court who cannot "find" a sensitive docket but by some miracle locates it after some palm-greasing, to the chief director, even a minister who bypasses the recommendations of a tender board and awards the contract to a firm which "nicodemously" agrees to give him a substantial cut in the form of a kickback, the tentacles of corruption reach every where.

When the NPP government under President J.A. Kufuor blithely announced a "zero tolerance for corruption", many skeptical Ghanaians took it with a pinch of salt. They did so because the very nature of politics invites corruption. We expect our political leaders to literally "sweat" money and by doing so pass some on to those who follow them.

This attitude of most of us, by which a politician who does not readily hand out money is adjudged "Armstrong", is one of the major reasons why we continue to wallow in backwardness and poverty.

Indeed, it does not take a rocket scientist to see the linkage between corruption and under development.

To give just one example; a finance minister who spends a whopping ¢ 100 million on a birthday party cannot, by any stretch of imagination, convince anybody that someway somehow, he is not involved in corrupt dealings! And this happened right here in Ghana a few years ago.

Thus the battle to contain corruption within manageable parameters must begin with institutional reforms as well as a paradign shift in attitudes to wealth. In this respect, we must admit that the NPP government is setting the right example by the way it has allowed certain laws to be passed.

As the country Director of the World Bank, Mr. Mats Karlson has observed, corruption in Ghana will abate when the major financial reform programmes it has began - Public Procurement, Financial Administration and Internal Audit - kick off and begin to be strictly implemented.

This year, Ghana's score in the Corruption Perception Index (CDI) of Transparency International's (TI) corruption assessment, is really nothing to write home about. According to the Executive Secretary of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local arm of TI, Mr. Daniel Batidam, "when the score for this year (2004) is placed side by side with those from the last couple of years, it becomes clear that very little has changed on the anti- corruption front, indicating that we have been stagnating at the bottom third position."

Relevant Links

West Africa Ghana Crime and Corruption

The only saving grace we have had is the good international prices for cocoa and gold plus the huge increase in our cocoa production, which has given us some leverage apart from the savings from HIPC. Thus, the correlation between corruption and underdevelopment has not been too glaring. However, we call on the government and the good people of Ghana to wake up and realize that every dollar dissipated to corrupt practice means that a poor man somewhere cannot feed his family for a day. Political handouts of paltry sums of money will not solve the problem and only reduce man's dignity. We, as a people, must realize that by expecting too many material things from our politicians, we merely encourage them to steal from the national coffers to our detriment.

We must learn to expect much more transparency and accountability from our public office holders, not simple monetary tokens that only reinforce our poverty and dependence. Corruption kills progress.

body-container-line