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General News of Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Source: GNA

Ghana's CPI rank improves

Accra, Sept. 23, GNA - Ghana ranked 67 out of 180 countries with a score of 3.9 out of 10 in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for this year, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) said on Tuesday.

This is an improvement from a score of 3.7 last year, which placed Ghana at 69 out 180 countries captured in the CPI report.

Mr Vitus Azeem, Executive Secretary of GII, the local Chapter of Transparency International (TI), who launched the CPI, said this year's score took Ghana back to its highest score ever of 3.9 which it obtained in 2002.

Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden shared the highest score of 9.3, while Somalia placed last with a score of 1.0.

He noted that, the improvement was as a result of Ghana scoring high on a number of determinant factors, including the enactment of laws aimed at promoting transparency and accountability, the creation and support of anti-corruption and accountability institutions by government and development partners.

"One should also mention pronouncement by government officials about what government is doing to curb corruption," he said. Mr Azeem, however, noted that it was not encouraging that after eight years of declaring zero tolerance for corruption, Ghana had still not reached the halfway score of five on the CPI, adding that five years was also a long time for Ghana to return to its highest score ever. He blamed Ghana's inability to reach the halfway mark on the low level of enforcement of anti-corruption laws on reports that government does little or nothing about and the impunity with which public officials reacted to such allegations.

"While we might rejoice at the improvement of scores from 3.7 to 3.9, we should recognize that there is more to be done - in fact the trend should awaken us to the fact that we are far from winning the fight against corruption.

"In spite of some gains corruption remains an enormous drain on Ghana's limited resources which can better be used for education, health and infrastructure," he said.

Mr. Azeem said in order to consolidate and improve on the gains made, there was need to fast track the passage of the freedom of information law, ensure that the assets declaration law was complied with and that disclosures can be verified. "We must also ensure that the outgoing president, Vice and all ministers declare their assets before they leave office and the incoming administration must do the same before they take office as required by law," he said.

He also called for an independent prosecutor who would be free of influences from the government, empowerment of the anti-corruption and accountability institutions, strengthening of the whistle blower act and separation of the government from the ruling party to prevent state resources being used for party purposes.

Touching of the forthcoming elections, he called on political parties to desist from vote buying and the use of intimidation to ensure that the integrity of the process was protected. "We call on the leaders of the political parties to preach peace and call their supporters to order and curb the isolated clashes taking place in parts of the country."

Ghana's score on the CPI was better than some of its sub-regional neighbours, including Burkina Faso, 3.5, Nigeria and Togo both with a score of 2.7.

Other scores from Africa included Zimbabwe, 1.8, DR Congo and Equatorial Guinea, 1.7, Chad, Sudan and Guinea, 1.6, Swaziland, 3.6, Morocco, 3.5, Madagascar and Senegal, 3.4 each.

Meanwhile some African countries scored higher than Ghana. They include Botswana, 5.8, Mauritius, 5.5, South Africa, 4.9 and Namibia, 4.5.

Ghana also did better than countries such as Iraq, 1.3, Afghanistan, 1.5, Haiti, 1.4 and Myanmar, 1.3.