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Opinions of Sunday, 5 September 2010

Columnist: Gariba, Chieminah Abudu

Every Institution in Ghana has a ‘Pot-hole’

I believe every institution in Ghana has a ‘pot-hole.’ However, if you think this assertion is false, kindly ask ace investigative journalist of the Crusading Guide newspaper, Anas Aremeyaw Anas. A pot-hole as used in this context refers to despicable acts of omission and commission by individuals and groups working in an institution. For the sake of clarity, some of these despicable acts include bribery and corruption, embezzlement of funds, nepotism, cronyism, tribalism, corporate thievery, verbal and physical abuse, sexual harassment and negligence.
Not long ago, undercover investigations of cocoa smuggling in parts of Ghana by Anas Aremeyaw Anas unraveled massive corruption among some CEPS officials. Even though the revelation of corruption among the CEPS officials received universal condemnation, not many were surprised. The revelation came as no surprise because many people knew about that pot-hole at CEPS before Anas bumped into it.
As for pot-holes in the Ghana Police Service, they are too numerous to count. Many people bump into them day in, day out. When Anas bumped into the CEPS pot-hole during the cocoa smuggling investigations, many Ghanaians thought his investigative ship would have its next dock at the police headquarters; but it wasn’t to be. Instead, Anas gave us a surprise check-out at the Osu Children’s Home. At the Osu Children’s Home, Anas exposed to Ghanaians disturbing scenes of child abuse, neglect and corporate thievery. Anas’ recent expose of the Osu Home give credence to the assertion that every institution in Ghana has a pot-hole. Up until now, who would have thought that such rot exist at the Osu orphanage.
But if you think the institutional pot-holes exposed by Anas’ investigations are the only ones in the country, then, wait until you hear what a regional Highways engineer had to tell his colleague heads of department: ‘Many of you criticize me and my department for the numerous pot-holes we have on our roads. I accept responsibility for the pot-holes. But I wish to tell you that every one of you equally have your share of pot-holes in your respective departments. However, the challenge I face is my inability to see your pot-holes.’
I couldn’t agree more with the regional engineer. The truth of the matter is that all institutions in Ghana have their own unique pot-holes. But more often than not, when people in an institution hear reports of despicable acts emanating from another institution, they exclaim and call for punitive measures to remedy the situation.
My advice to Ghanaians is that next time you hear about the exposition of an institutional pot-hole, do a self audit before you make any pronouncement on what should be done to fill that pot-hole.
It is no secret that men and women working in Ghanaian institutions loathe to see personnel from agencies like the Audit Service and the Serious Fraud Office. The question is, why should Ghanaian institutions hate the mandatory visitations of personnel from these statutory institutions if they don’t have pot-holes waiting to be filled? Your guess is as good as mine.
If Anas’ previous investigation of institutional pot-holes is anything to go by, then, I can conveniently say that the investigative ship of Anas doesn’t need a highway to discover institutional pot-holes.
Perhaps, as a country we can take a cue from the positive attitude of the regional engineer of the Ghana Highways Authority. Let us accept responsibility for our pot-holes, and begin filling them.

Chieminah Abudu Gariba
Founder and director of Sissala Heritage Foundation