The wife of a former Vice-President, Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur, has observed that the public's lack of interest and knowledge of governance and the activities of government institutions have contributed to insufficient public accountability and the attendant cases of corruption in the country.
She said where there were no proper structures to deal with accountability, corruption was most likely to be rife.
“The lack of citizen education, as well as the lack of interest and knowledge of the activities of government institutions contribute to insufficient public accountability," she said.
“People must be held accountable for their actions no matter who they are, and if that is done, everybody will be alert to do the right thing,” Mrs Amissah-Arthur said in a presentation during a webinar on accountability and corruption.
Accountability, she stressed, was a necessary ingredient in preventing people from wrongdoing.
The webinar, which was organised by Unashamedly Ethical Ghana, in collaboration with the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI), was dubbed: “Do the right thing: what causes corruption”.
It is the second in a series of events organised by the global movement to arouse the consciousness of the public to create a culture of doing the right things among society.
Mrs Amissah-Arthur, wife of the late former Vice-President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, was the main speaker.
Other panellists, who shared their thoughts on the subject were football administrator and retired military officer, Captain Andy Sam; investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure; a freelance journalist and the African Coordinator of
Unashamedly Ethical, Patrick Kuwana of Zimbabwe.
Unashamedly Ethical is a movement with the objective of mobilising people across the world to stand up against corruption, and to commit to lives of ethics, values and clean living.
Mrs Amissah-Arthur, also a retired librarian, said the lack of personal principles and professional ethics, pressure from family, non-contentment, and deficits in the relevant laws that would make corruption a criminal activity, were
some of the negative factors that bred corruption in the country.
She, therefore, charged the public to be principled, and stand for the truth in order to fight corruption.
“We should speak out wherever we find ourselves.
“Until we speak out and stand for the truth, we will have a long way to go,” she emphasised.
Mr Kuwana and Captain Sam underscored the need to reorient the public on corruption, its effects and the principles that could help to check it.
Mr Kuwana, for instance, said what was considered good in one society might be wrong in another, hence the need for a standard definition of corruption and application of laws and rules which must be inspired by religious leanings and persuasions, including Christianity and the Bible.
He noted that since over 80 per cent of Ghanaians were religious, there was a need for religious leaders, especially pastors, to make corruption a vital issue in their sermons.
Captain Sam, also an entrepreneur, argued that there was an insatiable desire for wrongdoing in the country, hence the need for people to commit to honesty while delivering excellence in order not to compromise excellence for corruption.
He also advocated the need for leaders in the country to lead exemplary lives to encourage similar behaviour among the society.
Breakdown of values
Mr Azure explained that there was a total breakdown of values in the country, stressing that “once there are no punishments for corruption, there was the propensity for people to be corrupt”.
Mr Azure, who shared his experiences with corruption as encountered in the course of his work, noted that there was a price to pay for being honest.
He added that since 2015, he had been sued six times for defamation, and urged participants and the public to be firm, and not to part ways with good values in society.