The Information Minister, is desperately trying to massage the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released by Transparency International (TI) which reports that Ghana, failed to make progress in the fight against corruption in the year 2021, as the score of 43 is the same as the country’s 2020 score.
“Ghana’s current performance is still below 50, which is the expected average and thus leaves much to be desired,” Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), said of the index which had ranked Ghana 73 out of 180 countries, and 9th in Sub-Saharan Africa with Senegal out of 49 countries represented.
But per KojoOppong Nkrumah’s understanding, the stagnating index recorded by Ghana, rather demonstrates the progress the country is making in its fight against corruption, arguing that the Akufo-Addo government, upon assuming power, has worked tirelessly to improve its corruption ranking by 3 points.
The CPI report, comes on the heels of several Audit reports from the Auditor General’s Department, capturing various financial infractions, wanton dissipation of public funds running into several billions of cedis.
Indeed, just last week, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Richard Nyamah, expressed shock at the Nana Akufo-Addo led administration.
To him, the level of “Chop Chop” has become extremely worrying that something needs to be done about it.
His comment, comes on the back of the government’s failure to pay contractors who have delivered on their mandate and finished up various contracts given to them by the government.
Richard Nyamah, was speaking on Accra-based Metro TV when he expressed his disappointment at the government of his political party.
He said, “the GH¢1.2 billion when the new road fund board took office was not there. The money that was contracted, the loan they took it they didn’t disburse it”. When asked by the show host Randy Abbey where the money had gone, Richard Nyamah, said “it can’t be found”.
Randy Abbey added “then your government must be a very useless government” then Richard Nyamah continued “that’s my problem, I’ve a problem with the government, I’m getting towards there, they must be and I’ve a problem with them that is why contractors will do what they are doing,” he said.
It could be remembered that the Ministry of Roads and Highways in 2021 released GH¢2.2 billion to pay all debts owed to road contractors.
Ghana had ranked 73 out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) placing 9th in Sub-Saharan Africa with Senegal out of the 49 countries represented.
However, the Information Minister insisted that “a government that has gone up 3 points since assuming power on the Corruption Perception Index is the one that is failing? That will be counterintuitive.
“If you look at the data, from 2018 to 2020, Ghana has gone up three points. In 2019 and 2021, there was no change. Ghana did not get worse; Ghana did not get better. But from 2017 till now, the evidence is that when Ghanaians are sampled consecutively on about two different occasions and adding 3 points upwards, Ghanaians believe that we are doing better in our fight against corruption. That is what the data says,” Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, had maintained.
Also the 2021 index shows Botswana (55), Lesotho (38), Eswatini (32), Niger (31), Nigeria (24), Comoros (20) and South Sudan (11) at historic lows.
Over the last 10 years, 43 countries in the African region have made no progress or declined.
The GII, however, made some recommendations for the country to enable it to check corruption.
The recommendations include: “enhance institutional checks or power public oversight bodies including anti-corruption agencies and the supreme audit institution must operate fully independent from the executive as their mandates stipulate. They should continuously be well-resourced with budgets allocated to them fully disbursed and empowered to effectively investigate and sanction corruption timeously.”
It also recommended that the country “empower citizens to hold power to account. Agencies of state responsible for guarding the rights of citizens should take active roles in ensuring expeditious investigations into violations of the rights of civil society and media activists as well as human rights defenders and facilitate justice for crimes against all. Parliament and the courts should also be vigilant in preventing executive overreach. Sanctioning the corrupt to serve as a deterrent Ghana is touted to have considerable anti-corruption frameworks including sanctioning laws.
“Government and state anti-corruption institutions must effectively work towards making corruption a high risk and a low gain venture in order to reduce the incidences of abuse of power, impunity and corruption” and “improve transparency and accountability in political party and campaign financing The Electoral Commission should be held accountable to ensure the enforcement of the Political Parties Act, 2000 (Act 574), particularly Section 21 which relates to the disclosure of funding sources by political parties.
“Parliament should also amend Act 574 to include disclosure on funding sources for candidates contesting Presidential and Parliamentary elections. There should also be a ceiling on how much can be raised and spent by candidates contesting these elections.”
It draws upon 13 data sources which capture the assessment of experts and business executives on a number of corrupt behaviours in the public sector. The survey uses a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
The 2021 index reveals that Botswana (55), Lesotho (38), Eswatini (32), Niger (31), Nigeria (24), Comoros (20) and South Sudan (11) are all at historic lows. In the last decade, 43 countries in the region have either declined or made no significant progress.
In the 2021 CPI, Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, topped with 88 points each. Syria, Somalia and South Sudan, are at the bottom with 13, 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Government should, therefore, expedite its digitization programme and extend electronic services to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and digitization of services that are in high demand by citizens must be prioritized.
Speaking with JoyNews‘ Kwesi Parker-Wilson yesterday, shortly after the report was released, the Information Minister noted the data instead proves that “the various interventions aimed at supporting the fight against corruption are bearing results.”
He explained that in the years 2019 and 2021, per the CPI, the country did not see a regression or progression in its corruption fight.
He, therefore, noted that such a government cannot be described as one failing to nip corruption in the bud.
For him, this is to be expected as President Akufo-Akufo has made mention of the “the kind of investment that has been made in anti-corruption institutions, creating new institutions, funding them better.”
According to Mr Oppong Nkruamah, the data serves as feedback to the government since perception indices may not align with the facts.
“The feedback is that since 2017, Ghana has gone up about three points and we have to continue our efforts aimed at going up consistently.”
To reveal the accurate picture on the ground, the Ofoase-Ayirebi MP noted that Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) will be carrying out an empirical survey to ensure the fact align