Despite corruption being real and visible in all facet of our lives and some culprits having been prosecuted with some being jailed and others having been made to refund monies dishonestly appropriated, some Ghanaians in our opinion, erroneously think that it is still a perception.
Corruption which is by far a global issue due to so many cases of it all over the world, we think that the fight against corruption in Ghana is not receiving the needed attention and therefore, require genuine commitment and holistic approach to dealing with the canker affecting our economic growth and development.
Many Political leaders have urged their appointees to refrain from corrupt practices to enable the country makes progress in its socio-economic development. However, this call always goes unheeded or largely disregarded making the incidence of corruption in government and other spheres of the country very pervasive. The alleged complicity sometimes of some appointing authorities make the general populace look helpless and in the state of disbelief in the face of this menace. Is there going to be an end to this?
Local and foreign businesses are always making reference to corruption as an obstacle to doing business in Ghana. The level of the practice in the award of government contracts which are sometimes sublet to other organisations or individuals for huge contract sum percentages, alleged to be ranging between 15% and 18% is the major reason for shoddy works in Ghana. This really puts a strain on the national purse because as a country, we always end up paying about three or four times the cost of any project being undertaken in the nation. This is wickedness and the country is virtually on its knees with the very leaky public purse. According to a study by IMANI Africa, Ghana loses more than 3 billion dollars every year through corruption. This amount is said to be about 300 per cent of all the aid it receives in the same period. That is between 2012 and 2014. Why will donors not look at us as people who are really ‘joking’ about all these corruption fight mantra?
We urge the government to really be tough in dealing with the incidence of corruption going forward to make it an unattractive venture. Pure commitment and walking the talk, we think, will be the way forward in dealing with the menace decisively. So far, even though there are attempts being made by successive governments to deal with the practice, the situation on the grounds as we are all witnessing, do not give any indication that the battle on this canker is being won. There is, therefore, the need for a paradigm shift in the approach to save the country the billions of cedis being lost to those involved in the practice.
Governments of the day since the inception of the Fourth Republic, always deny the existence of corruption among its appointees. Even when pieces of evidence are thrown out there, someway somehow, technicalities are used to make those accused, left off the hook. Obviously, others in the administration take a cue and it becomes business as usual. The previous Mahama-government faced a number of high-ranking and highly publicized cases of corruption in office, which shaped its public image and contributed to its downfall. We can talk about the smartty’s bus branding saga, several sole-sourcing of contracts, GYEEDA and SADA scandals among others.
Nana Akufo Addo’s Presidency is not an exception. Prior to the coming into office of the current administration, the public was full of high expectations as far as this administration’s resolve to deal with corruption is concerned. But among the populace today, there is not much of a significant difference from what has been the case. This is quite disappointing because the allegations keep rising with not much being seen to be done or at least, the notice of a downward trend in the practice in the eyes of the public. The government is bedeviled with quite a number of corruption allegations. We can mention the BOST contaminated fuel saga, Kelni-GVG saga, Australia 2018, 21st Commonwealth Games Visa scandal among others.
We think that by referring to Ghanaians who criticize the government (across the divide) on corruption and other governmental issues as enemies and not having the interest of the country at heart to a large extent is not suggestive of our maturing democracy. We call on the political parties to work together in this fight because it is at the heart of our economic survival as a sovereign nation.
We would like to appeal the government of the day to step up the corruption fight letting the populace feel that decisive actions are being taken to deal with those found to be corrupt within and outside the ruling party. It is only when this is seen to be carried out by the citizens across the length and breadth of the country that the confidence will be won back and sustained. Of course, we are not denying the fact that some efforts are being made like all other previous governments. But we are really looking out for a fight against the canker with a difference.
The Special prosecutor have mentioned heads of Government institutions on several occasions as people obstructing his work by denying him information and refusing to cooperate with him, the government should demonstrate leadership and call these sabotaging heads of Government institutions to order to allow the special prosecutor do his work effectively and efficiently.
Corruption is a reality and almost a convention. It is in our churches, markets, schools, companies/cooperation, and in government business and private business as well and calls for all hands on deck approach to fighting it than leaving it to governments whose effort of fighting corruption is only in imaginably thought.
James Kwaku Dumenyah