A Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr Hassan Wahab, has called for strict enforcement of the Political Parties Act that provides guidance on who may provide financial support for political parties in the country.
He said due to the laxity in the implementation of sections 22 and 25 of the Political Parties Act (Act 574), some parties were being funded by non-Ghanaians and businesses all in a bid to gain access to government officials and the country’s natural resources.
As a result, he said such funding could compromise the ability of the government and its officials to say no to business requests that were not in the interest of the country.
“So if we want to fight corruption, we need to pay attention to the people who fund political parties since they do not give money to parties because they love and share their ideology but to gain access,” he said.
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At a corruption dialogue in Accra last Wednesday, Dr Wahab said: “We have a law in the country which stipulates that if one is not a citizen, they cannot contribute to political party and if it is a business and it is not 75 per cent owned by Ghanaians it cannot contribute.”
The event was jointly organised by the Political Science Department and the Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED), a non-profit organisation.
It was held on the theme: “Corruption and governance: Impact and way out for women, youth and children.”
Corruption still prevalent
Dr Wahab stated that Ghana had all kinds of legal instruments, locally and internationally, to combat corruption.
For instance, he mentioned Article 286 of the Constitution that required declaration of assets and liabilities by public officials, as well as anti-corruption bodies such as the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, among others.
Besides, he said Ghana, which had signed the UN conventions against fighting corruption, was a member of the African Union convention on preventing and combating corruption.
“These are all instruments that are supposed to help us fight corruption yet we still have corruption,” he said.
To strengthen the fight against corruption, he said there was need to increase civic education to educate Ghanaians that “conflict of interest was an issue of corruption”.
Referring to the alleged claims that politicians received double salaries as ministers and parliamentarians, Dr Wahab said: “It is time Ghanaians learnt of their right to hold their political leaders accountable regardless of the party they belong to.”
He pointed out that though the Special Prosecutor was unquestionably ready to perform his job, the fight against corruption should not be limited to politicians and top public servants since corruption was pervasive.
“If we want to eliminate corruption, we must make everybody who is in a position to abuse his or her office also subject to some types of checks of what they do,” he emphasised.
Corrupt multinational firms
Touching on corrupt multinational companies in Ghana, Dr Wahab said most international firms, with net worth more than that of the nation, engaged in paying bribes in spite of the fact that there were instruments to curtail such practices.
He, therefore, stressed the need to ensure that measures were implemented to create a transparent and an open government that would let Ghanaians “know what goes on in various ministries to curb corruption”.
“If a system is transparent and we know what is going on in any ministry and agency, we should not wait till a government leaves power to see corrupt issues emerging since all these have an impact on our women and the youth,” he added.
Create enabling environment
A Senior Lecturer at the Political Science Department, UG, Dr Maame Adwoa A. Gyekye-Jandoh, stated that to battle corruption to empower women and increase their participation in politics and governance, national and local governments should create an enabling environment for women to report corruption without fear of unpleasant repercussions to themselves and their families.
“Gender-sensitive anti-corruption legislation and policies must be put in place to acknowledge physical abuse, sexual extortion or exploitation, and other forms of bribery experienced by women,” she stated.