The Head of Chambers at Kasser Law Firm, Mrs Clara Beeri Kowlaga Kasser-Tee, has called on all stakeholders in the business environment to come together and help build a business environment that is devoid of corruption and discrimination.
She said it was the desire for a good business environment that formed the basis for nationalism in the colonial times, but unfortunately that desire was missing now within the business community.
Mrs Kasser-Tee was speaking at a multi stakeholder business integrity forum which was organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative on April 8. She was speaking on the theme: “Promoting good business environment through ethics, integrity and accountability.”
“It was the desire for a good business environment that forced the indigenous business sector in the colonial times to join the leadership for the struggle for independence and fight it through. It was injustices such as discrimination, fixing of prices, lack of access to credit,” she explained.
“It was the desire to see an end to this so that there could be equal opportunities where all of them could collectively prosper,” she added.
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“The sad story is that after independence, can we say today that we have a business environment devoid of discrimination, where access to credit is granted, and there are equal opportunities and accountability?”
She said it was, therefore, time for the business community to put in the same efforts to ensure they correct the injustices and corruption in the business environment.
Lack of values
She said the challenges within the business environment were due to the inability to enforce laws.
This she said was due to the lack of values in the system.
“One of the shocks you get after completing law school is to find out that the practice does not necessarily reflect the law.
We have all the laws in the country but what we do is directly opposite to what the laws say,” she noted.
“After several years of observing the situation, I have come to the conclusion that the missing link is a certain value system that ought to underpin those laws,” she added.
Banking sector failure
She said the recent issues in the banking sector were perfect examples of the lack of values, ethics, integrity and accountability in the country.
She said the crisis was not due to a deficiency of law but a result of non-compliance with the law and the lack of enforcement.
“What is the relationship between the non-compliance and the non-enforcement? It is an issue of values, ethics, integrity and accountability,” she stated.
“The owners and directors were not complying and they were getting away with it and the person whose responsibility it is to check and enforce also didn’t do his job.
We have passed additional laws but if we don’t address the issue of values, we will just be chasing the wind,” she added.
Private sector condoning corruption
Mrs Kasser-Tee also pointed out that the private sector was condoning corruption in the business environment.
“We have reached a point where the private sector must join the fight against corruption.
We must instil in our personnel, the culture of not paying bribes. In place of paying bribes, let’s demand accountability,” she stated.
“The greater number of our population is our business sector so if they decide not to pay bribes, we will make progress in the fight against corruption,” she added.