On Wednesday 14th March, 2018, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) held a roundtable discussion on the theme: “Can Ghana Win the Fight Against Corruption?’’
The roundtable discussion was led by Justice Emile Short, former CHRAJ Commissioner and Visiting Senior Fellow of the IEA. Justice Short sought to shed light on the present efforts at fighting corruption in Ghana and if they will impact positively on the level of corruption. The chairman for the event was Mr Sam Okudzeto, Member of the Council of State.
Justice Short began his presentation by giving participants an overview of corruption in Ghana. This was followed by a look at different surveys on the perceived levels of corruption in Ghana. He described corruption as the “abuse of entrusted power for private or personal gain” (Transparency International 2016) and highlighted that recent surveys by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) indicate that the level of corruption in Ghana is perceived to be high by the general public and is an issue of major concern. The 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score for Ghana compiled by Transparency International suggests that the problem has worsened over the past few years. In 2016, Ghana ranked 70 among the 176 countries of the world with a score of 43 (0 being highly corrupt and 100 being very clean), four points down from the previous year. In the 2017 Corruption Index, Ghana further dropped 11 places from the 2016 ranking reaching an all-time high of 81 out of 180 countries, bringing its score down from 43 to 40 points—the lowest score since 2012.
The presentation was structured along five key areas: State of Corruption in Ghana; Impact of Corruption on National Development; Previous Initiatives to Fight Corruption; The National Anti-Corruption Plan (2015-2024); and The New Patriotic Party’s Agenda to Fight Corruption.
Justice Short also gave an overview of the Previous Initiatives to Fight Corruption which included; commissions of inquiry instituted immediately after coups d’etat, to probe allegations of corruption against officials of previous regimes; the 1979 overthrow of the government of Gen. Fred William Akuffo that witnessed the execution of former heads of state and some top military officers (‘’house cleaning’’) by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) allegedly for corruption, the 1982 Public Tribunals established under the PNDC, cases of market women being subjected to severe lashes in public in the name of restoring sanity in the retail business, which was deemed, corrupted during the PNDC era; the passing of financial management laws, namely the Financial Administration Act, 2003 (Act 654), the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and the Internal Audit Agency Act, 2003 (Act 658) intended to bring sanity into the nation’s financial system and to prevent illicit enrichment, during the tenure of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, and subsequently, the enactment of the Whistleblowers Act, 2006, (Act 720) which encouraged citizens to report corruption and disclose unlawful conduct and the adoption of a medium term National Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Strategy 2012-2014 to facilitate coordination, collaboration and cooperation of relevant agencies and all stakeholders involved in implementing AML/CFT measures in Ghana during the tenure of former president John Dramani Mahama.
Justice Short’s comprehensive presentation was ended by some well-thought policy recommendations which include; urging government to consider establishing a small team to implement its agenda on anti-corruption and spearhead, oversee and coordinate the implementation of the NACAP; advocating that the Constitution should be amended to hive off the anti-corruption mandate of CHRAJ and establish an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission similar to the Hong Kong Anti-Corruption, the Botswana Anti-Corruption Commission with an Education, Prevention, and Investigation Department, among others; urging the government to make EOCO an independent institution, free from the control and influence of the Attorney General’s department; urging government to revive the constitutional review process in order to, among other things, amend article 88 of the Constitution to provide for the appointment of an independent Attorney General who will be responsible for prosecution of all crimes; those implicated in acts of corruption should be held accountable, irrespective of their political, social or economic status in society and last but not least, the need to prevent or reduce the ‘monetisation’ of elections through various ways as detailed by the IEA Winner-Takes-ALL Advisory Committee’s recommendations including State Funding for all Political Parties subject to a defined benchmark which must be correlated to the resources that can be raised by the parties themselves and that, the (IEA-sponsored) Draft Public Funding of Political Parties Bill, 2008 should be passed into law.
The event was well attended by key stakeholders including senior government officials, academics, representatives of civil society organisations, officials of the main political parties, traditional leaders, members of diplomatic corps and the media. Among the dignitaries in attendance were; H.E Claudia Turbay (Colombian Ambassador, Prof. Edmund Delle (Chairman, CPP) Hon. James Klutse Avedzi (MP), Hon. Rashid Pelpuo (MP), Hon. Ben Abdallah Banda (MP), Prof. Edward Dua Agyeman (Board Chairman, Ghana Audit Service) , Mr. Daniel Yao Domelevo (Audit General, Ghana Audit Service), Prof. Rev. Emmanuel Martey( Former Moderator, Presby Church of Ghana) ,Bishop Gabriel Palmer Buckle ( Arch Bishop of Accra, Catholic Church of Ghana) and Mr. Richard Quayson (Deputy Commissioner, CHRAJ) among others .