Group Takes On Corruption


FLASHBACK! ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’ demo a couple of months ago.

Occupy Ghana, a fast-growing pressure group, together with IMANI Ghana, a policy analysis think tank, is organizing major public fora on corruption.

The events dubbed, ‘Public fora on confronting corruption in Ghana’s public institutions and national life,’ are slated for November 12 and 20 at the Parish Hall of Christ the King Catholic Church, along the Switchback Road, Accra, at 3:30 pm each day.

A statement issued in Accra and signed by Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President & CEO, IMANI Ghana, said the programme was expected to be moderated by Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, former Joy FM ‘Super Morning Show’ host, with Dr. Mensa A. Otabil, a respected religious leader   who is an educator, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker, as one of the speakers.

Other speakers for the first day, according to the organizers, include Manasseh Azure Awuni, a leading anti-corruption journalist and 2012 Journalist of the Year; Dr. Esi Ansah, an Assistant Professor at the Ashesi University in Ghana, as well as Lawyer Ace Kojo Ankomah, Managing Partner of Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah (BEL & A).

On the second day, the statement said the speakers would comprise Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle,  Metropolitan Archbishop  of the  Roman Catholic Church , Accra, and a former teacher and key figure on the political scene in Ghana, Madam Elizabeth Ohene - former Minister for Education and former BBC correspondent, as well as Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh of the Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, New Jersey.

 
Weak Institutions
The statement previewed corruption in the country saying, ‘Ghana has been plagued with weak institutions since independence and in the decades that have followed, the country’s leadership has ‘danced around the monster in the room,’ simply to secure personal interests at the expense of the taxpayer,’ adding, ‘Keeping the institutions weak and inefficient has served as a convenient incentive for corruption.’

It continued, ‘Whiles corruption is usually seen in the form of bribery, these days rather sadly, after 22 years of undisturbed democracy, corruption appears to have given way to more and more naked theft of state funds.’

It further said, ‘In the past few years, thievery of state funds, whether in the form of inflated cost of projects or payment for no work done, has witnessed an unprecedented surge and spike; as the incidents of stealing of state funds hike, the country’s economy takes a plunge.’

The statement further said corruption occurs in various forms, one being the abuse of the deliberately-weakened institutions or deliberately-created gaps in the legal framework to both carry out unchecked expenditures and engage in flagrant flouting of the law, for personal gain.

‘In a nutshell, government expenditure is not delivering value for money and has significantly impeded Ghana’s development,’ it intimated.

It said the weakness of the institutions and associated corruption had weakened confidence in the country’s economy and democracy, which had had a negative impact on economic activities.

‘Ghana’s fiscal deficit stands at GH¢10bn. Government continues to spend more than it can afford; yet critical services such as health and education are not receiving their statutory funding.

‘We need to confront thievery and corruption in Ghana’s public institutions even as we consider options for reversing the responsibility on accountability as concerned citizens,’ the statement charged.

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