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CSOs petition Akufo-Addo over stagnated fight against corruption

CSOs petition Akufo-Addo over stagnated fight against corruption
Source: Ghana|myjoyonline.com|edwin.appiah@myjoyonline.com
Date: 11-12-2018 Time: 09:12:55:pm

Despite government promise to make corruption a high-risk political activity, civil society groups are concerned, the country continues to score low marks.

In a petition to the President, five pro-democracy organisations observed with worry that Ghana has never attained 50 points on the Corruption Perception Index.

The best score was 2014 with 48points under the Mahama government while the worst score of 39pts was under the dying tenure of the Kufuor government in 2008.

Under the first year of President Akufo-Addo, Ghana scored one more point better than the last year of President Kufuor.

Akufo-Addo and his party, the New Patriotic Party, won power partly via the promise to fight corruption and the touted personality of Akufo-Addo as a rare incorruptible leader.

But two years into his tenure, the CSOs say the fight against corruption has “stagnated”.

Image result for akufo-addo meets CSO

According to the petition signed by Ghana Center for Democratic Development’s Kojo Pumpuni Asante, the abysmal prosecution record of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) which secured only two convictions after prosecuting 34 out of 466 cases is worrying.


The petition noted, the Attorney-General’s Office is becoming a place where cases go to die unnatural deaths because submitted dockets do not get enough action.

They pointed to comments by Chief Executive of the Public Procurement Authority that cases forwarded to the A-G are yet to yield any prosecutorial results.

The corruption cases they cited include scandals at the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), National Communications Authority (NCA), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Ghana Airports Authority and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL).

They complained of lack of rules to regulate gift giving and taking among public officials and absence of rules to regulate ethical conduct in public services.

The Civil Society Organisations also tracked “good developments” in the fight against corruption which largely records “efforts” by the judiciary, “beginning of efforts” by parliament and “efforts” by the Public Procurement Authority to fight corruption within their respective spheres.

It referred to the much vaunted National Anti-Corruption Action Plan although an anti-graft constitutional body (CHRAJ) has complained the plan has remained a plan.

Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has however explained, the government’s way of fighting corruption is to digitize public services.

He said Ghana has been running a very informal system of service-delivery where money has to pass through several hands.

Dr. Bawumia has explained to eradicate corruption, the government must eradicate human interfaces.

There has been the introduction of the paperless port system which has slashed inspection agencies from 16 to three and improved revenue collection.

Government has also aggressively pushed for every citizen to get a Tax Identification Number which will be used to access social services.

But Ghana Center for Democratic Development’s Kojo Pumpuni Asante while fully endorsing technology to fight corruption, he complained: “there is a lot that we have to do very quickly”.

The CDD-Ghana Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement said it is difficult to track government’s progress in the fight against corruption.

He feared, Ghanaians are becoming numb to the canker and considering it second nature.

READ PETITION 

PETITION

 

TO:                      The President of the Republic of Ghana

 

The Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana

 

The Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana

 

FROM:             Corruption Watch, Civil Society Organizations working on Anti-corruption programs and Media Organizations

SUBJECT:     Time to Unite Against Corruption for Development, Peace and Security

DATE:              December 8, 2018

 

  1. THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE COUNCIL OF STATE

THE PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL HOUSE OF CHIEFS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

We, the undersigned, on this 8th Day of December being the penultimate day to the International Anti-Corruption Day on the 9th December 2018, write to petition the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Speaker of Parliament, the Right Honourable Professor Mike Ocquaye and the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo. As primary custodians of our development aspirations codified in the 1992 Constitution, we wish to raise concerns about the creeping normalization of corruption among the populace and the threat it poses to our development aspirations to move Ghana Beyond Aid to an economically independent, confident, peaceful and prosperous nation.

This year’s International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration on the theme “United Against Corruption for Development, Peace and Security” is timely and appropriate for reflecting on the state of corruption in Ghana and the need to radically rethink and intensify our efforts to deal corruption a fatal blow. The international anti-corruption campaign focuses on corruption as an impediment to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly how corruption affects education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development.

The current state of our anti-corruption fight in Ghana is a story about stagnation

To put the state of our anti-corruption fight in perspective, we can generally say that we have stagnated in our fight against corruption for the last 10 years, at least in terms of outcomes. Several indices support this perspective. The Transparency International (TI) 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) shows that between 2008 and 2017, Ghana has never attained a score of 50, which will represent at least a pass mark. Worse still our record over the ten years demonstrate a failure to sustain gains made in certain years. 

Figure 1: Perception of Corruption from 2008 to 2017

Image result for corruption cpi ghana 2008 to 2017

Similarly, trend data from six rounds of the Afrobarometer surveys, shows that perceptions of corruption amongst public officials and informal leaders have been rising. On average, three-quarters of Ghanaians believe that “some, most or all public officials” and informal leaders are corrupt.

Table 1: Trends of Perceived Corruption Overtime - Afrobarometer

 

 

 

2002

2005

2008

2012

2014

2017

2014 -

2002 -

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017

2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President and officials in his office

37%

56%

70%

87%

83%

78%

-5%

41%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members of Parliament

--

59%

74%

90%

85%

85%

0%

26%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judges and magistrates

70%

72%

79%

90%

85%

88%

3%

18%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Officials of Electoral Commission

--

--

--

--

81%

80%

-1%

--

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The police

79%

81%

86%

94%

89%

92%

3%

13%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National government officials

--

66%

77%

91%

86%

86%

0%

20%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

District Chief Executives

--

--

--

89%

84%

82%

-2%

-7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local government representatives

--

60%

71%

86%

83%

83%

0%

23%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business executives

63%

--

--

--

82%

78%

-4%

15%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Religious leaders

41%

--

--

--

69%

74%

5%

--

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional leaders

--

--

68%

--

78%

80%

2%

12%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These high perception of corruption amongst public officials and informal leaders are informed by the day to day experiences of ordinary Ghanaians and confirmed by several studies conducted by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) Consortium. For example, a GII Consortium 2018 study on the “Cost and Impact of Corruption on Education and Health Sectors in Ghana” respondents scored “securing admission to educational facilities as a service with highest incidence of corruption in the education sector.

Additionally, these perceptions are also fueled by high opacity in the handling of corruption cases by state institutions making it difficult for Ghanaians to know the steps taken by government to address the high perceptions of corruption among public officials and informal leaders. For example, in the 2019 Budget Statement it is reported the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) investigated 466 cases, prosecuted 34 and secured two convictions. The success rate of the EOCO raises many questions but what is more worrying is what happened to the 432 cases investigated. Often, one would hear agencies like the EOCO, Criminal Investigations Division of the Ghana Police Service or the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) saying they have submitted dockets to the Attorney General’s Office waiting for action. For instance, nothing has been said about the status of cases after the Chief Executive Officer of the PPA, Mr. Adjenim- Boateng disclosed that some procurement infractions involving the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), National Communications Authority (NCA), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Ghana Airports Authority and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) have been forwarded to the office of the Attorney-General. The failure to provide such crucial updates is dissuading a lot of Ghanaians to assume that corruption offenders can get punished. 

At the same time, it is sending wrong signals to offenders who are not deterred, in light of any obvious danger, to engage in corruption. The failure of public anti-corruption agencies to submit themselves to the full course of accountability and transparency is therefore undermining the fight against corruption.

 

Another important example is the Auditor General’s 2016 Liabilities of Ministries, Department and Agencies report of 2017. Despite the fact that a colossal amount of GHS 5.4billion was disallowed, Ghanaians have not been provided details of steps taken to retrieve monies illegally paid, sanction violation of public financial management laws and actions taken to prevent the occurrence of these acts of impunity.

 

Also, the absence of rules to regulate gift giving and ethical conduct of public officials and political actors is frustrating all meaningful attempts to raise the bar of integrity among public officials and political actors. Because there are no clear rules, it is very difficult to enforce and prosecute offenders based on violations of gift policy, conflict of interest rules and misconduct. In essence, the existing framework is neither prohibitory nor binding enough to instill a high sense of good conduct and integrity among public officials and, it leaves room for a number of unethical conduct that cannot be checked under the current regime.

 

Lastly, the failure of governments to adequately resource the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to pursue its mission of educating citizens about civics including corruption, particularly the more difficult practices of nepotism, conflict of interest and cronyism, has contributed to the pervasiveness of corruption in Ghana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

Good developments in recent times

 

On the positive side, it is important to acknowledge the following interventions and actions taken by the governments and other actors. They include:

 

  • The adoption of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP- 2015-2024) in 2014 by Parliament as the country’s long-term strategy to combat corruption and the continuous efforts to resource the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to undertake its coordinating and monitoring responsibilities

 

  • The establishment of the single purpose anti-corruption agency, the Office of the Special Prosecutor to fight corruption and corruption related offences involv