Corruption threat to lives, democracy — Dr Asante
The Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, has said individuals wielding political power in the country must be willing to enforce anti-corruption laws to help reduce the menace.
He said the lack of political will had contributed to the widespread corruption-related activities perpetuated with impunity.
Dr Asante, who was speaking at a forum on tackling corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa in Accra yesterday, noted that the fight against illegal mining, for instance, had been unsuccessful due to the lack of political will to prosecute individuals for their involvement.
The forum was aimed at ensuring how best countries in the sub-region could tackle corruption head-on by making anti-corruption institutions more effective.
It was organised by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) with sponsorship from Konrad Adenauer Foundation, an advocacy organisation committed to freedom, justice and solidarity.
Unchecked corruption, Dr Asante said, was an existential threat to lives, the economy and democracy in the country.
He called for closer collaboration among the media and civil society groups to fight corruption to help win the fight against the canker.
Dr Asante mentioned the elimination of conflict of interest, nepotism and plugging all the loopholes in the system as part of strategies to fight corruption.
For his part, the Director of Accountability Now, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in South Africa, Paul Hoffman, called on Ghana and other African countries to ensure that there was political will in the fight against corruption.
He said without political will, fighting corruption, which was a human rights issue, would be a mirage.
“A state that is corrupt is incapable of delivering social services to its people,” he said.
Mr Hoffman outlined four main approaches to ensure that the fight against corruption worked in African countries.
They include establishing specialised bodies to fight only corruption, adequate training of personnel to be able to handle corrupt cases competently, ensuring independence of the corrupt institutions and the provision of adequate resources to run the corrupt institutions and a secure tenure of office for officials of the institutions.
“No corrupt system ever lasts because it doesn't produce anything,” he stressed.
Mr Hoffman said institutions established to fight corruption must be moved away from executive control and put under parliamentary scrutiny because the presence of opposition political parties in the House could serve as a check on these institutions.
Touching on the fight against galamsey as a form of stamping out corruption, Mr Hoffman was of the view that the fight could be effective if there was political will to implement the recommendations contained in the initial reports that were presented to the government on how best to nip the menace in the bud.