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Ghana has long way to go in combating corruption. Forum on corruption says

Author: Joe Okyere
Prof. Ayee addressing the IEA forum
Prof. Ayee addressing the IEA forum

Discussants at an Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) forum on corruption have stated that Ghana has a long way to go in its efforts in combating corruption.

According to them the roots of corruption are in some of the traditional and customary practices of the country.

They agreed that unless the basic values were revisited and inculcated in children and young adults, the fight against the canker would not achieve the desired impact.

They were unanimous in their opinion that although traditional practices per se did not support corruption, individuals misrepresented some of those practices for their own selfish needs.

Root causes of corruption

The speakers were contributing to a roundtable discussion on the root causes of corruption in Ghana organised by the IEA in Accra on Tuesday.

They called for courage and determination on the part of leadership to stem the tide and curb the phenomenon which has stalled development and increased poverty in the country.

Some contributors disagreed with the assertion that low salaries contributed to corruption, arguing that increases in salaries did not see a corresponding reduction in corruption.

They advocated the strengthening of anti-corruption institutions and Parliament to deal with the canker, explaining that nothing had come out of the recommendations from the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament concerning the Auditor-General’s report. 

They called on the media to continue to expose and report cases of corruption to sustain discussions in order to increase awareness of its effects on society.

Some audience at the forum

In his presentation, Prof. Joseph Atsu Ayee, an Adjunct Senior Fellow of the IEA, said corruption had engaged the attention of society because of its debilitating and corrosive consequences on politics, governance, the economy, society and the security of the state. 

He said corruption had been defined in several forms which had found local expressions in Ghana as ‘short cut’ and ‘kalabule’.

Factors causing corruption

Prof. Ayee enumerated low salaries, lack of ethics, the get-rich-quick attitude, socio-cultural demands, lack of clear rules and laws and lack of punitive and deterrent sanctions as some of the root causes of corruption in Ghana.

He mentioned others as abuse or mal-use of power in the public sector, excessive bureaucracy and greed, selfishness.

 In his remarks, a former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Mr Justice Emile Short, who chaired the event, urged Parliament to pass the Code of Conduct for Public Officers Bill to give meaning to the fight against corruption.

He also called for political will on the part of leaders to deal with the problem because countries that had made progress in their fight against corruption had been successful due to the active interest demonstrated by their leadership.