From my Rooftop: A quarter down the greedy throats
The revelation in that report that corrupt public officials in developing and transition countries received between $20bn and $40bn in bribes annually, which is equivalent to 20 and 40 per cent of official development assistance only goes to reinforce the perception that most public officers are not in office to serve but to enrich themselves.
As rightly indicated by Ms Alsup at the opening of a West African Regional Anti-corruption workshop, the cost of corruption was not only measured just in terms of the billions of dollars squandered or in terms of stolen government resources.
“Corruption’s cost is most poignantly measured in the absence of the hospitals, schools, clean water, roads and bridges that might have been built with that money and would have certainly changed the fortunes of families and communities,” Ms Alsup said at the workshop.
In Ghana here, disclosures at the sittings of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament are indications of how corruption has eaten deep into our public system and has cost the nation not only billions in lost revenue but a lot of abandoned projects that could have transformed the fortunes of this country.
Another phenomenon of corruption which only became public concern quite recently is that of judgement debts.
These are debts arising out of wrongful termination of contracts because some persons or groups lost out or debts orchestrated through fraudulent means and foisted on the nation.
Corruption takes various forms, the well-known is the monies paid into the pockets of the wrong people which consequently puts a drain on the national coffers.
Corruption also means the appointment of the wrong people to very sensitive positions who do damage to the national interest. It means lack of basic facilities and equipment in our schools, hospitals and other public institutions.
It is manifested in the use of inferior materials in the construction industry, importation of fake and expired drugs for our hospitals. It influences serious national decisions whose ramifications could undermine national interest.
At the recently held Ghana Economic Forum, Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, the Chief Executive Officer of the UT Group observed that if we could reduce corruption by 30 per cent, it would mark a turning point in the country’s development agenda.
All the state institutions that could not survive the competition had collapsed not because of the lack of human resources to man those institutions ,but because of corruption in high places.
All our governments have launched verbal attacks on corruption but so far all our top political office holders are angels because none has been caught in the anti-corruption net ,even though their official income do not come near their lifestyles.
Under the circumstances, we cannot but say that we have a long way to go in the fight against corruption. Whatever the form, corruption is an evil canker that is destroying African countries and ours is not an exception.
Article by Kofi Akordor