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General News of Monday, 30 September 2019


Another Ambassador cries over Ghana’s corruption menace

Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes

The Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes, has expressed shock at the level of corruption in Ghana, a nation dominated by Christians.

To Mr Barnes, corruption should not be an issue eating up a country in which Christians constitutes approximately 71.2percent of the entire population.

Christianity is the largest religion in Ghana, followed by Islam that makes up 17percent, according to the 2010 census.

Speaking at the launch of the strategic plan of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition in Accra on Wednesday, Andrew Barnes, pointed out that, although he doesn’t believe in the existence of God, he knows “corruption is clearly against Christian teachings”.

Interestingly, Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, at the same programme blamed the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), saying it has failed in its efforts to help fight corruption.

The Senior Minister, one of the powerful men in the Akufo-Addo government, explained that nine years after the establishment of EOCO, the organization needs to do more to fulfill its mandate.

But Australian High Commissioner’s comments, come barely a month after Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker, suggested to Ghana to pursue what he termed a “Ghana Beyond Corruption”.

“You need a good business climate to attract foreign investment…”, the diplomat said.

Ghana scored 41 out of 100 points in the 2018 corruption perception index, ranking 78 out of 180 countries, according to Transparency International (TI) that gauged perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people.

Mr Barnes remarked: “As an atheist, it intrigues me that Ghana as a strongly Christian country, corruption is such a problem in Ghana.”

He stressed that corruption is “not just illegal but it is also immoral” with dire consequence on the total development of a country.

The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) is a unique cross-sectoral grouping of public, private and civil society organizations (CSOs) with a focus on promoting good governance and fighting corruption in Ghana.

Mr Barnes commended the coalition for keeping up the pressure on government and those in responsible positions to check corruption, noting that the situation would have been worst without the GACC.

“As we all know, corruption distorts market, stalls economic growth, entrenches poverty, debases democracy, undermines the rule of law, and wastes precious government finances.

“Where procurement means 10%, 20% or even higher additional cost because of kickbacks and bribes, it means ultimately the ordinary Ghanaian who ends up paying. Then Government debt becomes larger than it should be…”

The Office was set up with the aim to monitor and investigate economic and organised crime, and on the authority of the Attorney-General prosecute these offences to recover the proceeds of financial crime.

The Senior Minister, while insisting that EOCO, had failed to make any meaning impact in its nine years of existence, added that the seeming politicization of crime, has also hindered the fight against corruption.

“The establishment of EOCO was specifically to fight corruption and I don’t think they have succeeded and therefore this is a reminder to the institution that we are still expecting to play a very key role in the fight against corruption.”

“The whole country is now divided on NPP and NDC actions and people defend wrong based on political colour, we cannot fight corruption that way, a crime is a crime and we must approach from that angle,” the former Finance Minister said.

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