The quest to grow Ghana’s economy ‘Beyond Aid’ may not be achieved if corruption was not adequately highlighted and holistically dealt with, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAG), has said.
It was sad that an estimated 20 per cent of the National Budget, representing 200 per cent of all foreign aids, received annually and 30 per cent of all procurements done by the State were lost through endemic and systemic acts of corruption, it said.
Mr Richard Quayson, the Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, expressed these fears at a sensitisation forum on Corruption Reporting Format, organised in Cape Coast on Thursday, to solicit support of the Central Regional House of Chiefs for the National Anti-corruption Action Plan (NACAP).
It was put together by CHRAJ in collaboration with the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), as part of the GII’s Integrity, Mobilization, Participation, Accountability, Anti-corruption and Transparency (IMPACT) project.
Mr Quayson said corruption had a disproportionate impact on the poor and most vulnerable, increasing costs and reducing access and affordability to vital social services like health, education, roads and justice.
“Corruption is a challenge to all societies, sadly, Ghana has high tolerance for it. Adults, children, men, women, leaders and followers, almost all of us openly engage in the illegal practice with impunity,” he said.
He mentioned public cynicism, apathy towards corruption, limited awareness on impact of corruption on fundamental human rights, weak political will and politicization of corruption cases, and weak public financial management systems as some of the setbacks to the fight against the canker.
Also hampering the fight against corruption are limited investigative journalism; weak enforcement of legislation; weak assets declaration regime; limited attention to gender in anti-corruption programmes; and unregulated discretion in the use of public authority and international cooperation.
The CHRAJ Deputy Boss appealed to Ghanaians to change the habit of seeing corruption as normal and develop strong abhorrence for it.
He called on all stakeholders, especially traditional and religious leaders, to employ the necessary mechanisms to detect, prevent or help eradicate corruption and its related offences in public and private spheres.
Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, the Executive Director, GII, said the main objective of any corruption prevention strategy was to reduce the opportunity for, and occurrence of the phenomenon and called for increased awareness creation to end it.
She said her organisation would continue to work to ensure that anti-corruption measures were put in place to foster strong collaboration among agencies working towards addressing the menace.
Obrempong Nyanful Krampah XI, the Paramount Chief of Gomoa Ajumako Traditional Area, and the President of the Regional House of Chiefs, rallied the support of all to ensure that all acts of corruption were prevented.