Corruption is one of the most destructive impediments to economic and social development. It takes away resources from the common pool and deprives a large population from partaking in the share of the national cake.
Despite Ghana’s good governance and democratic credentials, corruption or perceived acts of corruption still remain cancerous in our public service and society.
The economic loss suffered by Ghana because of corruption is enormous, and we cannot transform the economy if we do not halt the incentives for corrupt and rent-seeking activities in the country.
Apart from impeding economic growth, development and investments, it also exacerbates the income inequality gap, especially as the poor and the vulnerable are more adversely affected.
That is why it is incumbent on every citizen to help nip this cancerous scar in the bud.
Undoubtedly, the fight against corruption in Ghana has been an age-long struggle and all efforts aimed at dealing with this canker have proved unsuccessful.
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The New Patriotic Party (NPP), in the 2016 electioneering, touted corruption as one of the issues it would deal with when voted into power.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor has been set up, all in the hope that corruption will be fought head-on and won.
The Auditor General has received a substantial increase in budgetary allocation this year to function effectively, while the government has also increased funding for the accountability institutions, including Parliament, the Judiciary, the Office of the Attorney General and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, while addressing the 2019 conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) yesterday, said so far 21 officials of the previous administration were standing trial over their involvement in alleged acts of corruption or causing financial loss to the state, amounting collectively to the tune of some GH¢772 million.
Interestingly, in Ghana, there is always the tendency to link corruption or alleged acts of corruption to only politicians. However, petty corruption is rife and this equally has a negative impact on the economic and social development of the country.
In our view, focusing on petty corruption, which affects majority of the people, could also be a good starting point, as there are many of such occurrences around us the ordinary citizens.
We pay bribes to obtain passports; nurses in our hospitals solicit unofficial payments before they treat us; we offer to pay bribes to the police or the police demand bribe when we commit traffic offences; at the Registrar-General’s office, we pay bribe in the name of facilitating the process; there are lecturers who take bribe from students to make them pass examinations, among a litany of corrupt practices.
If we can all start demanding accountability and transparency from ourselves and public officials, then we can have the moral clout to demand accountability from the politician.
However, one difficulty in the fight against corruption is that while it is relatively easy to allege corruption and, in the process, defame people, the burden of proof usually becomes a challenge.
On a few occasions, we have been able to unravel some corruption cases and that resulted in the jailing of those found guilty.
We have public institutions that have board and management teams which we can hold directly responsible for corrupt practices, instead of quickly politicising every act of corruption, even in semi-autonomous public agencies.
All in all, the Daily Graphic is of the view that the fight against corruption is a collaborative one which requires the attention and input of all the citizenry.
It is only when we all, as a nation, abhor corruption in all its forms and work to create a just and equitable society can we be in a better position to check the menace, which is destroying the country in all its forms.