The impact of corruption cannot be underestimated, as it continues to hamper the development and democracy of Africa, and as well as impedes the ability to bring people out of abject poverty.
Corruption has rendered about 43 per cent of Africans into abject poverty, while over $50 billion worth of stolen national assets are sent out of Africa to other foreign countries every year.
We can imaging what these monies can do for us. It could be used to invest in jobs and other social interventions, where additional resources are mostly needed.
According to Transparency International (TI), “The African continent ranks lowest amongst global regions in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), our ranking of 180 countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. Countries in Africa average 32 out of 100 in their CPI scores, and six out of the bottom 10 countries are African.”
Meanwhile, the 2018 CPI scored Ghana 41 out of 100 and ranked the country 78 out of 180 countries included in the index.
Though it’s a good sign, a great deal of action is really required to free the whole of Africa from corruption. However, it is largely proven that, the failure of most governments to combat corruption, has greatly contributed to the weakening of democracy in a lot of countries around the globe.
TI also assessed that, “Corruption undermines transitions to democracy.
There are 31 countries which transitioned to democracy by the last quarter of the 20th century, but have since seen their democracies stagnate or even slip backwards. All but one of these have high levels of public sector corruption. Because they did not develop effective anti-corruption mechanisms when they first transitioned, they are finding themselves stuck in a cycle of high corruption and low performing democratic institutions.”
In Ghana, Act 1998 (Act 550) is the governing legislation for Asset Declaration. Parliament enacted pursuant to the provisions of Article 286 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
Article 286, which is dedicated to Declaration of Assets and Liabilities, provides in Clause (I) that “A person who holds a public office mentioned in clause (5) of this article shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all property or assets owned by, or liabilities owed by, him whether directly or indirectly (a) within three months after the coming into force of this Constitution or before taking office, as the case may be; (b) at the end of every four years; and (c) at the end of his term of office.
Clause (5) mentioned above provides a list of the public offices to which the provisions of this article apply. They include:
(a) the President of the Republic;
(b) the Vice-President of the Republic;
(c) the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and a member of Parliament
(d) Minister of State or Deputy Minister;
(e) Chief Justice, Justice of the Superior Court, Chairman of a Regional Tribunal, the Commissioner of Human Rights and Administrative Justice and his Deputies and all judicial officers;
(f) Ambassador or High Commissioner;
(g) Secretary of the Cabinet;
(h) Head of Ministry or government department or equivalent office in the Civil Service;
(i) chairman, managing director, general manager and departmental head of a public corporation or company in which the State has a controlling interest; and
(j) such officers in the public service and any other public institution as Parliament may prescribe.
Chatting a better way for the fight against corruption, the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition organized a National Accountability Forum, at the Coconut Groove Regency Hotel, on Wednesday, 20th February, 2019.
The forum registered many dignitaries and speakers including, former Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Linda Ofori Kwafo, who is also Chair of the governing board of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Board, Madam Beauty Emefa Narteh, Executive Secretary of Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC).
Speaking with the Auditor General, Mr. Daniel Domelevo, he indicated that, in order to fight corruption, there was the need to identify what constitutes corruption, as well as educating the public on such issues.
He also said that, before corruption could be eradicate or reduce significantly, there was the need to do a number of things including education. By identifying clearly what constitutes corruption.
According to him, “Under the directive principles of state policy in our constitution, the state is required to eradicate corruption and abuse of power. In checking what is the meaning of eradicating corruption, I saw eliminate entirely and I said in Ghana, it can never happen. Because, some said destroy completely, which can never happen.
The Auditor General, however, called for the country’s laws to be amended to allow individuals to take up prosecution of corruption-related cases, otherwise, it can never happen that corruption will be completely eradicated in the country.
On his part, the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr. Joseph Whittal, intimated that, the country stands to lose the fight against corruption in absence of strengthening statutory anti-corruption institutions such as the Audit Service, CHRAJ, EOCO and the others.
He explained that, dealing with corruption is not all about naming, shaming and prosecution, it’s about resourcing the institutions, addressing the weaknesses in the law establishing the bodies, providing sustainable funding, proper staff recruitment systems, and implementing the National Anti-corruption Action Plan (NACAP), in order to properly confiscate properties to recoup all stolen monies belonging to the state.
Mr. Whittal, however, underscored the need to amend the laws on the appointment of the heads of state anti-corruption institutions, which includes the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and EOCO, in order not to be controlled by the President.
However, according to U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, major governance indicators show that, Ghana has achieved significant progress over the last few years in terms of government effectiveness, transparency of the regulatory framework and control of corruption.
The Centre also says, although its not perceived as extensive as in most other African countries, corruption remains a significant problem in the country. It also notes that, Petty corruption is persistent and there is evidence of forms of political corruption including looting of state assets.
“Sectors most affected by corruption include the police, political parties, and public financial management – in particular with regard to public procurement, tax and customs administration. With the recent discovery of offshore oil fields, the country’s past record in managing its mineral wealth has raised concerns over its ability to manage oil revenues in a transparent manner and avoid a “resource curse”, the Centre reiterated.
In an exclusive interview with anti-corruption except and also the head of Public Sector Governance and Peace Directorate of the Commonwealth, Dr. Roger Oppong Koranteng, on how Ghana could proactively fight corruption, he said, it takes a vibrant networks of anti-corruption agencies to promote inter-agency collaboration and learning through sharing of experiences and best practices to fight the canker.
According to Dr. Koranteng, in his role as Adviser and Head of Public Sector Governance at the Commonwealth for over a decade, he developed a three-pronged innovative ways in effort to fight corruption across the globe, particularly in Commonwealth countries.
Amongst these approaches, he said, included forming an association of heads of anti-corruption agencies by sharing their innovative ways in fighting corruption, which was then peer reviewed and the best idea selected by members, where the members visited selected countries to understudy the effectiveness of the system. “Which yielded excellent results,” he said.
“Some of the outcome was that, the top 10 least corrupt countries in Africa were members of the Commonwealth,” he emphasized.
Considering everything aforementioned, it all indicates that, the fight against corruption could be achieved when governments bring together formal and informal processes, that is, by working with the government as well as non-governmental groups to change behavior and also monitor progress.
Governments should also create and enforce laws that addresses the proceeds of corruption, crime and money laundering.