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09.12.2005 General News

Fight against corruption needs strong leadership - TI

By GNA
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Accra, Dec. 9, GNA - The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) in marking the UN Anti-Corruption Day which fell today (December 9) re-echoed its call that stronger leadership was needed if corruption were to be defeated.

The GII, which is the local Chapter of Transparency International (TI), said worldwide public opinion poll revealed "widespread public alarm about corruption" and that a stronger anti-corruption leadership worldwide was needed to fight the canker.

A statement Mr Daniel Batidam, Executive Secretary of GII, signed in Accra called on the government to speed up the process of ratifying the UN Convention Against Corruption, which was signed by the Ghanaian Government in December 2004, as well as the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Related Offences also signed in 2003, and to put in place mechanisms for their enforcement.

A survey report on the level of corruption in the country attached to the statement revealed that Ghanaians paid an average amount of 181 dollars as bribes, as compared with 114 paid by Nigerians for the year 2005.

"This shows that the average amount paid in bribes per household per year, as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product per capita by both countries were more than 20 per cent each."

The GII said the Transparency International in the survey on the findings on the level of corruption in Ghana in year 2005, as, measured by the Global Corruption Barometer presented "a public opinion survey of about 55,000 people in 69 low, middle, and high income countries. The Barometer sought to understand how and in what ways corruption affected ordinary people's lives, providing an indication of the form and extent of corruption from the view of citizens around the world.

The findings which included the views of on about 1,005 Ghanaians, aged 15 years and above on different aspects of corruption in the country, revealed widespread public alarm about corruption According to the report Ghana's survey ranked the Police, Customs, political parties, the legal system and judiciary, utilities, tax collecting institutions, education, business and private sectors, registry and permit service as well as the media, as the 10 most corrupt institutions in the country.

The report said a critical analysis and comparison of years 2004 and 2005 corruption reports still placed the Police in the lead on the list of extremely corrupt institutions in the country, registering 4.7 out of the five scores awarded for 2005, as compared to 4.5 in 2004. Political parties were also rated as having 4.1 score, compared with the 3.7 registered in 2004, the Legislature was 3.1 in 2005 compared with the 3.0 in 2004, while the media had 3.1 scores as against 2.8 in 2004.

It said while the score for revenue collecting institutions, which was 3.7 and that of Education 3.5 for year 2005 stood the same as that of 2004, scores of the Customs, utilities, business and private sector and medical services were also said to have improved slightly, registering 4.2 against 4.5; 3.7 against 3.8; 3.2 against 3.3 and 2.9 against 3.3 in 2004 in that order.

The report said that almost half of respondents reported that the bribes they had paid were directly asked for, and 47 per cent said they offered bribes to avoid problems with the authorities, while in other "contexts bribery is an implicit requirement, that it is often a supply side and not just a demand side phenomenon."

It said the findings had reflected the general public's mistrust in their national political and justice systems, with political parties, Parliament, Police and the Judiciary, perceived to be the sectors most affected by corruption.

Overall corruption remained a big concern for citizens worldwide and it was also clear that bribery and petty corruption weighed heavily in many poor nations.

The report said the TI, as it commemorated the Anti-Corruption Day would continue to fight against corruption in societies to help to minimise its impact on the lives of millions of people.

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