Benjamin Mensah, GNA
Accra, Dec 3, GNA - Parliament at the week-end agreed that all have failed in the fight against corruption, and it is time to put in effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to check the canker, which exacts a great toll on national and continental development.
From bribery, nepotism, “presidential filing fee”, vote buying, human trafficking through sponsorship by political parties of candidates for elections at the country’s second cycle and tertiary institutions, to shoddy works by contractors who finance political parties, the House in very clear terms condemned the corruption canker to which Ghanaian taxpayers lose US$3billion annually.
Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, MP for Ho West, and Chairman of the Ghana Chapter of the African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC), said in a statement on the floor of Parliament.
He added: “Ghana is on record to be losing an estimated US$3billion of taxpayers’ money to corrupt activities, an amount that is about three times the money spent on Free Senior High School programme last year.
“The situation is such that anywhere an individual goes, that individual is likely to encounter issues of corruption. It is time issues of corruption are dealt with just like “bread and butter” issues.”
With reference to Transparency International, a leading global watchdog on corruption, Mr Bedzrah said six out of ten countries considered most corrupt in the world for the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa; and the AU also estimated that corruption cost to the continent was about US$150 Billion annually, an amount that was about seven times the amount received by sub-Saharan Africa as aid.
The statement “is part of activities of education, awareness and advocacy to observe the declaration of this year, 2018 by the AU as the Year of Anti-Corruption,” Bedzrah said, recalling that the AU at its 30th Assembly of Heads of State and Government last January declared the year 2018 as the African Anti- Corruption Year.
The summit was held under the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable path to Africa’s Transformation,” and despite the strides and demand for systemic change, corruption continues to be endemic on the African continent.
Mr Bedzrah said from infrastructure, unequal access to health care and medicine and political choices distorted by money and greed corruption, continues to serve as a bane towards Africa’s development.
In 2003 African states adopted the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating of Corruption as a continental framework to fight the scourge of corruption in Africa.
Mr Bedzrah insisted that the fight against poverty will be out of reach if issues of corruption were left on the backburner, and APNAC-Ghana had consequently resolved to “join all forces to combat corruption in all forms with the support of civil society organisations and the general public.”
To reflect envisaged outcomes of 2018 declared as African Anti Corruption Year, APNAC and civil society organisations have declared “the First Monday of Every Month, starting next Monday” as an Anti-Corruption Day to battle corruption in the country.
On that day APNAC calls on every Ghanaian citizen to go undercover and to gather evidence of corruption in all facets of public life and report for action.
Also every citizen in their homes, on the roads, ports offices or any other location noted for corruption, to protest on that day and say never again will such evil act be perpetrated in his presence despite the consequences.
Citizens should also be profiled both the print and electronic media as Anti–corruption Personality of the Month.
Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the Second Deputy Speaker, who was in the chair, admitted that the first step in the fight against corruption was to admit that all were guilty of the offence.
Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu concurred that Parliament should collectively be interested in the oversight responsibility over the executive.
He was of the view that, the desire to maintain a good conscience and the fear of God, would help in the fight against corruption.
Mr Ibrahim Ahmed, First Deputy Minority Chief Whip, and MP for Banda, called for the strengthening of the monitoring of the execution of projects at the District level, recalling that during a recent bipartisan inspection of projects, some District Chief Executives “instantly fell sick, some were absent and others had running stomach” just on hearing about the inspection.
“We want to show leadership in the fight against corruption,” the Banda MP said, adding that the nation must engage continually very month for two years in anti-corruption education.
Other contributions by Ras Mubarak, MP for Kumbungu; Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah, MP for Manhyia; Dr Zanetor Agyemang Rawlings, MP for Klottey Korle; Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, MP for Nsawam Adoagyiri agreed on the need to up education on anti corruption by the National Commission on Civic Education; exposing of corruption and other forms of action beyond legislation to arrest the canker.GNA