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General News of Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

64% of Ghanaians want government to prosecute corrupt officials – Afrobarometer

A report by research network, Afrobarometer, has revealed that 64% of Ghanaians want the government to name, shame and prosecute officials who have misappropriated state funds.

The Round 7 report launched by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), also indicated that, Ghanaians want the government to recover funds which were pocketed by these state officials.

According to the report, successive governments had only demonstrated the eagerness to prosecute members of opposition parties who had served in past administrations, while ignoring corrupt practices perpetrated by its own members.

The report cited a number of corruption-related allegations that have come under the spotlight this year, including claims made by musician, A-Plus accusing President Akufo-Addo’s two Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Francis Asenso-Boakye, and Abu Jinapor of corruption.

“Most Ghanaians perceive some informal leaders, public and private sector officials as corrupt. The perception is worse for officials in the public sector,” the report said.

“Most Ghanaians think that governments over the years have been very swift in prosecuting and punishing corrupt officials belonging to opposition parties. nevertheless, majority believe the current government performed well in fighting corruption.”

‘Gov’t can deal with corruption’

In the 2016 Afrobarometer report, 64 percent of respondents thought that corruption had increased.

The report also said 20 percent of Ghanaians did not believe in the capability of the political system to fight corruption.

However, in the new report, most Ghanaians have expressed increased confidence in the government’s ability to fight corruption.

“There is a rise in public confidence in government’s efforts to combat corruption in 2017, compared to 2014. This is after over a decade of decline,” the report added.

‘Special Prosecutor’s Office good to go’

Parliament passed the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill after its third reading earlier in November, and will become operational in 2018.

The setting up of the office of the Special Prosecutor, was one of the key campaign promises made by President Nana Akufo-Addo ahead of his election victory in 2016, and it is aimed at tackling corruption.

When operational, the Special Prosecutor’s office will be independent of the Executive, which observers believe will allow it to adequately deal with corruption-related issues which have plagued past governments.

Concerns have been raised by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), that the Special Prosecutor will still be a tool for targeting the opposition.

NDC MP and the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Inusah Fuseini, said the Office of the Special Prosecutor was open to abuse.

“We have always had that fear. The Minority has always had the fear that this office can be used to witch-hunt political opponents,” Inusah Fuseini said to Citi News.

However, President, Nana Akufo-Addo dismissed those fears, stating that the Special Prosecutor’s Office will not be used to witch-hunt opposition party members.

He stated that the office would be independent of executive influence in order for it to function efficiently.

“We have crafted this creature who will be independent of the executive, would not have to take instructions from the Attorney General, would not have to take instruction from the President, and will decide for themselves who to prosecute and who not to prosecute.”