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General News of Tuesday, 7 November 2006

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Gov’t Doubts Ghana's Corruption Ranking

Government has expressed disappointment with the latest corruption rankings released by the anti corruption group, Transparency International which placed Ghana and eight others as the 93rd most corrupt (= 70 least corrupt) countries from a list of 163 countries.

Ghana scored 3.3 points out of a possible haul of 10 for a corrupt free country, and that ranked the country 70th on the scale of countries least perceived to be corrupt. Finland, Iceland and New Zealand all scored 9.6 points to place first as the best performers while Haiti, picked the most unenviable tag as the most corrupt at 1.8 points.

But reacting to the report, government’s spokesperson on governance Frank Agyekum strongly rejected the suggestion that corruption is on the increase in the country.

Mr. Agyekum questioned the basis for the ranking saying that government has done a lot to deal with corruption.

“We have done a lot in trying to stem corruption. The score 3.3 equal the score in 1999 of 3.3 as well but since then we have moved on as a country and are we trying to say that all the laws that have been passed have been to no effect at all? That the procurement act has not helped in stemming the tide of corruption at least one percent? That the financial administrative act has done nothing at all? The fact of the matter is that how do you judge some of these things?”

Officials of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, the local arm of Transparency International says there is still more that the government can do to deal with the menace, such as the passage of the freedom of information law.

Meanwhile, reaction to the country’s poor showing on the Corruption Perception Index has been mixed.

Although a good number of people believe corruption is on the increase, others say there’s a decline. Here is a sample of views of callers to Joy News programme, Newsnite.

“I don’t think it’s on the increase. When you go to the advanced countries there are certain things that people do for tips. When you want somebody to do something for you to quicken the pace then you have to tip the person. That’s not bribery and it’s happening in our civil service.”

“I’m very sure it has increased a little bit because it looks as if when you look at the lifestyle of our ministers and what have you and you look at the ordinary person you realize there’s a vast difference.”

“I think it’s still prevailing because due to the economic state of the country everybody is trying to make headway.”