Mr Roberto Quiroz II, the Public Affairs Officer of the United States Embassy, in Accra, has said Ghana should become a model state for anti-corruption with all Ghanaians working towards making the law blind in dealing with offenders.
To achieve this, he said, there should be more national engagements that would identify what constituted corruption in everyday life, and not only in officialdom; as well as how to deal effectively with offenders without fear or favour.
Mr Quiroz was speaking to the Ghana News Agency, in an interview, on the sidelines of a reception, organised to welcome him to his new job, in Accra.
The interview was a follow-up on his pledge to work with the US Ambassador and his team to support in its bid to Ghana to build a prosperous, democratically stronger and corrupt-free society, with a maximum adherence to the rule of law.
“All of us citizens, in America, as much as in Ghana, have the responsibility, to set the example for fighting corruption,” he stated. “We must lead by example in whatever we do, as citizens, and nobody should be excused or considered above the law when they breach the law.”
Commenting on the practice where influential people would put pressure on the authorities to free some offenders because of their standing in society or some affiliation, Mr Quiroz said that attitude did not augur well for building a healthy society.
He explained that the America, in the 1920s, also faced high levels of corruption, bootlegging and organised crime but it had been able to effectively fight them with strong institutions such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and ensuring that all persons, irrespective of class or position, were punished for corruption or crimes.
“People were punished for corruption; people were jailed for committing crimes,” he stated.
“The law becomes very blind in these matters; it doesn’t matter if you are a citizen or the President of the United States; you will be held accountable to the law,” he said.
“President Nixon had to resign from the White House because no one is above the law.”
Ghana, Mr Quiroz said, had to wake up to the fact that its young people had awakened to that reality about using democratic procedures in talking about corruption and fighting it.
He said Africa must, however, not settle for using the West as its model in the fight against corruption because that model could be made in Africa.
He commended Ghana for the efforts made in fighting corruption over the years, but said these efforts should be intensified to achieve maximum results for the sake of its young people.