Last year the Salt & Light Ministries under the leadership of Dr Joyce Rosalind Aryee held a couple of seminars dubbed ‘Transformational Seminar on Transparency and Anti-corruption’.
Ahead of one of those seminars Dr Aryee granted an interview to the Public Agenda in which she articulated her views on how the monster of corruption could be dealt with. This write-up brings to our valued readers some of her perspectives on subject.
That the social canker called corruption has been with humanity since creation is a pedestrian fact, which I believe, will not occasion any contrary view. Dissension and controversy associated with it almost always emerge when how to uproot it from among society comes up. Dr Joyce Aryee, Executive Director, Salt & Light Ministries, is of the view that if we want to conduct ourselves in a manner that reflects integrity, then transparency and anti-corruption must define our behaviour.
She maintains, “Transparency and anti-corruption must define our character, mind-set and behaviour. The two must undergird everything we do—our relationship, work and wherever we find ourselves,” adding, “we have a sacred duty that we build on good values, starting from the home.”
She believes that “if you are transparent and stand up against corruption, you will deepen your integrity.” She says one critical question Ghanaians should be musing about and whose answer has many ramifications for the growth of our society is: “What will I do to add positive value to my nation Ghana?”
Dr Aryee is convinced that until one makes a personal commitment to live by these tenets, nothing much could be achieved. “People must show personal commitment towards accountability and responsibility” if we want to nip corruption in the bud.
She notes that the thinking among the generality of Ghanaians is that it is the minority who occupy the upper echelons in society and hold high offices who engage in corrupt acts and not the less privileged majority. But Madam Aryee observes that many Ghanaians are “compromising towards corruptibility” and such an attitude does not augur well for the progress and development of our nation.
The Salt & Light Ministries’ boss submits that there are many who hold positions of high office and are buffeted daily by subtle moves to get them corrupted, but with their unalloyed belief in integrity as a core value they have kept themselves clean.
According to her, sections of the society tend to justify corrupt acts. “We justify it by saying that corruption is pervasive and everybody is doing it.” She, however, points out that such an attitude is harmful to both our personal and national psyche.
She said persons of integrity lead lives that spur others on determined to practice transparency and anti-corruption. She is convinced that individuals in various fields of endeavours can make a huge difference. “It’s amazing what the power of one can do,” she notes.
Dr Aryee said the focus of the skills-oriented transformational seminar is for all who believe change was to imbue participants with values that make them “leave the seminar feeling energised, strengthened and empowered to do the right thing.” The seminars are to challenge all of us that it is possible to have a virtually corrupt-free society. She adds, “People should be strengthened by the experience of speakers’ testimony and lives of those who have proven to be incorruptible.”
Some of the great minds who spoke at the seminars included Keli Gadzekpo, C.E.O. Enterprise Group, who shared his experience relative to Corporate Governance; Dr Esi Ansah, Associate Prof, Ashesi University and CEO of Axis Capital, who spoke from the perspective of a lecturer and as head of a human capital organisation; Manasseh Azure Awuni of Joy FM, who spoke on his experience as an Investigative Journalists and the challenges involved; and Dr Kofi Osei-Kusi of Osei-Kusi Foundation, who brought the perspectives of the youth to bear on corruption,
Dr Aryee, former CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, submits, “If you exhibit neutrality to corruption, if you do nothing about it then you are supporting corruption.”
Besides, personal commitment to fighting corruption, she equally believes that laws against corruption should be stiffer enough to make it an unattractive venture. Similarly, she holds the view that transparency should be made rewarding.
Corruption has become a topical issue in this country following the Judicial corruption scandals expose’ by award-winning journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
In the 2015 Transparency International report headed, People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015, a report it partnered with Afrobarometer for its preparation, Ghana was perceived as the second most corrupt country after South Africa. Ghana is closely followed by oil rich Nigeria making up the top three worst performing nations in the corruption index.
Meanwhile President John Mahama says a “false interpretation” has been put on a Transparency International report. President Mahama insists the claim is false and has caused a bad image for the country outside.
He made those comments at a high-level meeting on the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan in Accra.
Coincidentally that particular day, December 9, was celebrated as International Anti-corruption Day under the theme: Break the Corruption Chain. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption and how to combat and prevent it.
According to the UN, corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability.
Corruption, the UN notes, attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes. Economic development is stunted because foreign direct investment is discouraged and small businesses within the country often find it impossible to overcome the “start-up costs” required because of corruption.
The campaign theme, Break the Chain, also highlights that corruption is a cross-cutting crime, impacting many areas. It shows that acting against corruption is imperative to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
In a statement on Day, UN Secretary- General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, observed that global attitudes towards corruption have changed dramatically. “Where once bribery, corruption and illicit financial flows were often considered part of the cost of doing business, today corruption is widely — and rightly — understood as criminal and corrosive,” Mr Ki-moon stated.
The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our plan to end poverty and ensure lives of dignity for all, recognizes the need to fight corruption in all its aspects and calls for significant reductions in illicit financial flows as well as for the recovery of stolen assets.
Corruption has disastrous impacts on development when funds that should be devoted to schools, health clinics and other vital public services are instead diverted into the hands of criminals or dishonest officials.
Corruption, he adds, exacerbates violence and insecurity. It can lead to dissatisfaction with public institutions, disillusion with government in general, and spirals of anger and unrest.
Mr Ki-moon accordingly called for united efforts to deliver a clear message around the world that firmly rejected corruption and embraced instead the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance. “This will benefit communities and countries, helping to usher in a better future for all,” he states.
Source: Public Agenda
By Ebenezer T. Hanson