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Opinions of Friday, 8 June 2018

Columnist: Hector O. Boham

Post #Number12 verdict - Most of the current adult population may be beyond salvage but youth is our hope

Teacher in class with schoolchildren, this is the time to teach the children about corruption Teacher in class with schoolchildren, this is the time to teach the children about corruption

The recent expose by award-winning journalist, Anas Arameyaw, on the Ghana Football Association has unfortunately but not surprisingly reiterated some widely held views. Views that the entire country of Ghana is literally engulfed in the fire of bribery and corruption.

One of such views is the fact that majority or most of the adult population in the country may have gone beyond the salvage point and that the only hope for the country is a paradigm shift which moves the anti-corruption fight’s focus to children.

Simply looking at the behaviour of the adults in the documentary leads one to shake his head and literally throw his hands into the air in despair and to say, “There is no hope for the current adult generation.”

Whereas the humongous challenge of fighting corruption calls for a multi-faceted approach, we at the Corruption and Fraud Audit consortium are postulating that more emphasis should be laid on the children for obvious reasons. Children are like a wet sponge and absorb new ideas faster and seamlessly better than adults. Their sheer innocence means that they can recognize and respect boundaries better than adults. This is a fertile ground for the teaching of morals, ethics and by extension anti-corruption. In the words of Richard Henry “It is easier to teach a child than it is to fix an adult.”

Ours is a voice that takes us back to basics. Charity they say begins at home and we should not forget the words of the good book in Proverbs 22:6 that says, “Train up a child in a way that he should go and when he grows he will never depart from it.” Therefore, we believe that one of the best was to tackle corruption is to target children and young adults. We must confront it at its roots and kill it.

There is no denying that corruption starts weaving its evil web by first attacking and infecting young people during their formative years and then later spreads its tentacles as they grow into adulthood. Therefore, the best time to take a strong bite at corruption will be during the years of 10 to 24. In fact, we may even be tempted to take it all the way down to the primary school years of 7 to 10. Education and Training of the youth must, therefore, be mainstay in the fight against corruption.

This is the best time to start teaching children about corruption and its vices. Children at this age are impressionable and can be easily taught the virtues of integrity, honesty, and anti-corruption.

To pursue a vigorous youth education agenda, CAFAC is proposing a series of initiatives as follows:

1) Incorporating Anti-corruption education of the youth via existing civic lessons in primary and secondary schools

2) Organizing an annual Anti-Corruption Festival for our youth

3) Conducting an Annual Youth Integrity Survey

4) Training via role-playing and case studies to demonstrate the harmful effects of bribery and corruption and why young people should learn to say NO during their formative years and carry it all the way to adulthood.

I remember those days growing up in Cape Coast and attending Phillip Quaque Boys School when we took lessons in civic studies where we were taught ethics and morals, right and wrong and the civic duties of a responsible citizen. Topics such as the importance of voting, staying on the right side of the law and even respecting elders were covered in some of the books we used. CAFAC believes this must be expanded in a specific and deliberate way by incorporating anti-corruption topics such as – the evils of bribery and corruption, conflicts of interest, the shame of stealing from the state, the pride of integrity and need to put country first before self.

This program of civic education for primary school pupils will inculcate the spirit of moral uprightness in children at their tender age. The campaign will sometimes use a mascot or puppet shows to preach honesty and accountability.

CAFAC proposes Anti-Corruption Clubs for the youth: The clubs will run in both junior and senior secondary schools. Their main objectives are for the youth to disseminate anti-corruption information to their peers, to participate meaningfully in social and economic activities and to improve the youth understanding of ethics. The activities of the clubs culminate in an annual congress at the end of the year at which clubs’ share experiences with a view to assisting each other to run the clubs effectively.

The youth will also participate in essay writing and debates at which activities they interact with others and share their views on their understanding of issues of corruption and how they can meaningfully contribute in the fight against the scourge.

For the first time let us be bold to infuse Corruption in the school curriculum to be examinable in our formal education system. This is will be a breakthrough in the campaign against corruption.
Once a year, CAFAC is advocating an Anti-Corruption festival for our youth where we shall grandstand and showcase all the evils of bribery and corruption and make the youth see the twin evils for what they are – killers of hope, growth and development and promoters of poverty, lack, ignorance and want. Speeches will be given by luminaries and opinion leaders who are in the forefront of the fight against corruption.

Food and refreshments will be provided free of charge to our youth and souvenirs touting the advantages and disadvantages of anti-corruption will be given to participants. This festival will present a unique opportunity to advocate transparency and encourage the youth to resist corruption and bribery in the interest of themselves, society and their future. By the time a young Ghanaian is 10 he already knows about bribery and corruption so they will need a message that says they should refuse to give or take a bribe and report anyone they see doing so.

During the conference, young people should be given an insight into best practices of anti-corruption both nationally and internationally. After the conference, all participants will be given awards and gifts to give them positive feelings of their participation and the festival will close with a concert of the most popular musicians in Ghana, especially the musicians who are adored by the youth.

CAFAC is also proposing an Annual Youth Integrity Survey of a representative section of our youth (preferably 1000 young people from ages 10 to 24) to solicit answers from to poignant questions about bribery, corruption, extortion, conflicts of interest and even sometimes plain stealing from the coffers of the government. We shall also ask them about their experiences and attitudes toward corruption.

One interesting question will be “Whether youngsters think corruption is OK.” By analyzing the roots of the findings, CAFAC believes that Ghana will be in a better position to develop better tools to engage youth in anti-corruption efforts. Ghana will also have a better understanding of young people's views and experiences which will provide a basis for more effective anti-corruption efforts and allow the nation to equip them with the information, skills and support they need to face and resist the corruption they will deal with daily throughout their lives.

Finally, we should equip youngsters with information, skill and support through specialized anti-corruption training. The myriad of anti-corruption organizations in Ghana should collaborate with the Ghana Education Service to conduct occasional educational visits to schools.

During such visits speeches will be given, questions and answer sessions will be organized and role-playing through plays will be utilized to educate the youth and raise awareness about the dangers of corruption. We should find a captivating catchphrase to identify the program. We recommend one of these two. JUST SAY NO TO CORRUPTION or SAY YES TO TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY or a combination of the two.

The youth who go through this program will be expected to gain three skill sets to fight corruption. First students will be familiarized with terms like corruption, prevention of corruption, economic crime, compliance, principles of corruption and the legal bases of the fight against corruption. Second, expertise in values, decisions and actions will be gained. Not only will students be able to assess the relation between economic activity and moral values but they will also be able to establish the role of a citizen regarding prevention of and fight against corruption. Finally, linguistic and social skills will be developed.

The program content will include the definition of the term “corruption, forms of corruption (situational, structural), reasons and consequences of corruption, models to explain the corruption phenomena, corruption prevention and finally, institutions and instruments in the fight against corruption.

The actual implementation of the training will take the form of powerpoint presentations, using a flip-chart and a questionnaire to gather ideas about corruption and to test previous knowledge and furthermore, a film about corruption will be shown. Discussions will then be held in plenum and in groups. An investigator will answer questions of the students during a question and answer session.

Finally, a hand-out on corruption will be given to all participants at the completion of the training. The hand-out lays out the essentials of the training such as the answer to the question “What is corruption?”, causes and forms of corruption, where corruption starts, consequences of the offences, what will be punished by the legislator, corruption prevention and finally, a short introduction of the Anti-Corruption Agenda of the Ghana Education Service. A short test will be administered at the end of the training and awards will be given to students who excel.

CAFAC proposes the intensive use of case studies and role-playing to train the youth about anti-corruption. Students will read cases and be required to decide which ones involve corruption and which ones do not. The trainer will then ask about their reasons for believing that corruption is involved or not. At the end of the exercise, there will be brainstorming and the cases will have discussed in more detail. Cases shall range from situations in school to public administration and politics. One case, for example, deals with school: a student has learned a lot for an exam. On the day of the exam, however, she fails due to nervousness. The teacher lets her pass anyway.

In role-plays, cases of situational and structural corruption are presented and for each case, each student is given a “role-card” where his/her role is explained. The students will then play out the roles in the form of a mini play. After playing out the role-play, three questions are posed to the students. First, evaluate the behaviour of each person. Second, in your opinion, can this already be considered as corruption? Third, how should these people behave properly?

Hector O. Boham is the CEO and President of Corruption and Fraud Audit Consortium (CAFAC) GHANA LIMITED and can be reached at

Hector is currently an AUDIT CONSULTANT with New Jersey Turnpike Authority(NJTA), which oversees the most profitable toll road in the entire nation of USA

CAFAC offers courses, seminars and webinars to train Fraud/Corruption Auditors, Internal Auditors, IT Auditors and Oil and Gas Accountants at C4118B LAKESIDE ESTATE, ASHALEY BOTWE, ACCRA, GHANA.

TEL: 050–736–8056; 020-935-6382