Senior Programmes & Research Officer at the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Mary Awelana Addah has blamed the surge in corrupt practices by some employees in government institutions on the low punitive actions meted against them when discovered.

Reacting to a JoyNews expose by Kwetey Nartey that shed light on how some staff of the GRA aid businesses bidding for contracts, to circumvent laid down procedures, in the acquisition of tax clearance certificates, she stated that incidents in the past have shown public sector workers who were caught engaging in malpractices go scot-free.

Speaking on PM Express on Monday, Madam Awelana Addah described the current situation in the country as sad and worrying particularly when such actions are coming from the very institution supposed to be mobilizing revenue for the government.

“They know ultimately the cost of being corrupt is very low, they can get away with it with very minimal sanctions that are if any sanctions are meted out at all.

“What Kwertey has uncovered is just a gist of what it is happening with the various agencies particularly at the GRA and it is worrying that we need the resources to do things as a country and this is the agency that is charged to mobilize the needed resources to ensure the developmental agenda of this country is expeditiously implemented,” she said.

She added that surveys undertaken by some institutions have shown how such government institutions are ill-painted in the eyes of the general public in relation to corruption.

“When it comes to the perception of corruption among the public sector, you would realize that the police came up first but when the issue of experiences, direct interaction within a particular sector and time-line, the issue of the revenue agencies came up and customs particularly of GRA was cited.”

Per the investigative report, some officials at GRA are able to forge tax records for newly created companies without any evidence of work with a paltry sum of ₵1,500.

Interacting with Evans Mensah further on the issue, Madam Awelana Addah also shifted the blame on the lengthy process it takes for a citizen to acquire a Tax Clearance Certificate and the lack of patience on the part of citizens.

She submitted that ideally, it should cost ₵1 for an individual to receive such a certificate but it is delayed due to long processes.

These two challenges she said have boldened citizens to engage in such practice as they apparently view such corrupt transactions as the norm of the day to beat the system.

“It is not surprising but it is sad, a reflection of our society where the issue of corruption is accepted by a lot of people because it has become so systemic, endemic and people are apathetic towards it, they believe they will not have time to wait for the process and would also engage in other dubious arrangements to secure the services they require from our revenue agencies to the detriment of the state.

“If you take the Tax Clearance Certificate under contention, it is just a cedi you pay to get it but then if you look at the process it makes it difficult for people who want it to wait and so if the turnaround time is not respected then because also do not have ready avenues to make their complaints or reports their issues to, they are forced to condone the unacceptable behaviors of some public sector officials who are paid to do their work,” she explained.

Following the documentary, Chairman of Parliament’s Select Committee on Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng, has joined calls for the employees indicted in such a controversy to be sanctioned.

“I believe that the right punitive measure to serve as a deterrent to others will be to get rid of that employee so that the rest [of employees] will see and understand that they won’t get away with it if they practice that,” he communicated.

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