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General News | Dec 14, 2004

Dossier Of Corruption

Ibrahim Sannie Daara, reports from the UK
Dossier Of Corruption

Police, CEPS and utility companies top corruption list Just as President Kufuor was celebrating his election victory last Thursday, the Ghana leader was given a bitter look into the country's corruption record indicating that there is more work to be done in his next four years in power.

Key institutions for the enhancement of democracy like the police, the judiciary, political parties and the tax system in Ghana have been rated as the most corrupt according to a new global opinion poll released to coincide with the first UN International Anti- Corruption Day.

The survey, by the independent Berlin-based Transparency International (TI), found that the Ghana Police topped the league of corrupt institutions in the country, as an astonishing 90 per cent of Ghanaians believe that the law-enforcing agency has failed in its bid to shirk itself of this awful image.

Closely tailing the Ghana Police is Customs with 86 per cent as reports of rampant bribery at the country's ports and harbours seemed to have formed this view in the minds of Ghanaian.

Poor services proffered by public utility companies at exorbitant prices catapulted it to the third position. Nearly four out of every five Ghanaians think this sector is filled with dishonesty.

Worryingly, three major institutions that provide the backbone to Ghana's fledgling democracy tied at fourth. The judiciary, which administers justice, the tax system that is expected to charge fairly and the political parties who are the major players in democratic system, are viewed by 74 per cent of Ghanaians as crooked.

Similarly, the educational system, which is expected to mould the future leaders of the country, looks not to be serving its purpose according to the TI report. Frequent examination question paper leaks, falsification of exam results, news of bribery at university and secondary school admissions have led 70 per cent of Ghanaians to believe this.

The report is apprehensive for the business sector, medical services; permit services and parliament as they take the middle rung.

However, there are institutions that have the respect of Ghanaians according to the TI report. The military maintains its long held dignity of somewhat free from corruption as it finishes last on the 15-team league. Just two out of every five Ghanaians think it is shady. The media, religious organisations and NGO's enjoy a good bill of health.

Government would be pleased to know that of the African countries surveyed, Nigerians and Cameroonians were the most pessimistic. Ghanaians were the most optimistic with one in four believing there would be a lot less corruption over the next three years.

Anti-Corruption Day marks the anniversary of the signing of the U.N. Convention Against Corruption in Merida, Mexico, in December 2003. As of December 3, 2004, the convention had 113 signatories (excluding Ghana) and 12 ratifications. The treaty will enter into force when 30 countries have ratified it, according to the United Nations.

The convention includes rules for preventing and criminalizing a wide range of corrupt acts and provides for the recovery of illicitly acquired assets. It provides for greater cooperation among countries in areas such as prevention, investigation, asset recovery, and the prosecution of offenders.

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