Feature Article of Thursday, 4 October 2007
Columnist: Lungu, Prof
This piece is a rejoinder to the Ghanaweb General News article of 27 Sep 07 by JFM. That report was based in part on the 2007 Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International (TI). This years report tells us there is still so much corruption in Ghana the nation is 69th in the world, and 5th in Africa. It was reported that Deputy Information Minister, Mr. Frank Agyekum, did not take kindly the accusation made by Mr. Azeem of Ghana Integrity Initiative that ?the president was behaving like an ostrich in demanding for evidence in cases of reported corruption.?
According to Mr. Agyekum, ?allegations of corruption are only perceptions.? Further, while admitting ?that there is corruption in the country,? Mr. Agyekum did not stray from the position that it is the responsibility of ?people who accuse others of corruption? to investigate, collect evidence, and present that evidence to the government.
This is a remarkable statement that only maintains the position held by many that the ?Zero Tolerance for Corruption? mantra is only jive talk. It is only a slogan perhaps worth less than a pesewa. It tells all there is really no intent on following through. One can tell by the lack of initiatives to attack corruption ? left, right, center!!
In most places in the world, perception of official corruption are enough to give the minister, president, or public official ?the sack.? Why should it be so different for Ghana? And why should the people provide evidence of corruption to the government when bureaucrats are paid to do exactly that. See nothing, do nothing, ask about nothing!! Is that the way Ghanaians expect the Justice Department of the Attorney General, the Ghana Police Service, and the Serious Fraud Office to be run?
The good news is there are very few places in the world where that is the practice. And Transparency International and the Ghana affiliate know better, as does all Ghanaians, Diasporans and Ghana supporters with a modicum of sense, fair play, and good judgment.
Mr. Agyekum did not deny the ?Ostrich? allegation. Mr. Agyekum reiterated the ?Ostrich? position. We disagree. But we think that it is the responsibility of the Attorney General, the Ghana Serious Fraud Office, and the Ghana Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice to investigate reports and perceptions of official corruption and abuse of power:
Looks like an ostrich
Flocks like an ostrich
Booms like on ostrich
Whistles like an ostrich
Snorts like an ostrich
Grunts like an ostrich
Mates like an ostrich It is an ostrich
Ghana does not have forever. Ghana deserves better. The government and administration should do something significant about official corruption right now. They should enforce the Asset Declaration laws and make those asset lists public information. They should pass a strong Freedom of Information Bill without loopholes so all can be the eyes and ears, if they seriously want the people to help control official corruption. Put all of Ghana at the center for a change!!