By Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, July 12, GNA - The 2019 edition of the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) survey has revealed that corruption disproportionately affects the most vulnerable, with the poorest paying bribes twice as often as the richest.
The report, which is the 10th edition of the GCB – Africa, reveals that while most people in Africa feel corruption increased in their country, a majority also feel optimistic that they, as citizens, can make a difference in the fight against corruption.
It said more than one in four people in Africa, who accessed public services, such as health care and education, paid a bribe in the previous year; and this was equivalent to approximately 130 million people across the region.
The GCB-Africa survey, released by TI in partnership with Afrobarometer, in line with the commemoration of the African Anti-Corruption Day, reveals that, more than half of all citizens surveyed in 35 countries think corruption is getting worse in their respective countries.
Speaking at the launch of the report in Accra on Thursday, Mrs Mary Awelana Addah, Programmes Manager at Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the Local Chapter of TI, said the survey revealed that 59 per cent of the respondents perceived the Ghana Police Service to be most corrupt institution in the country.
The GCB is the largest and most detailed survey of citizens’ views on bribery and other forms of corruption in Africa, sampling 47,000 citizens in 35 countries covering their perceptions of corruption and direct expenses of bribery.
Key findings of the survey include; “Corruption is on the rise, many governments are failing to do enough, concerns about the integrity of public officials remain high, bribery demands are a regular occurrence for many and People’s experience with bribery varies”.
Mrs Addah said the study reveals that this was followed by judges and magistrates with 38 per cent, government officials were third with 35 per cent.
Parliament and Members of Parliament were cited as the fourth most corrupt institution in Ghana covering 32 per cent according to the study.
Mrs Addah recounted that getting citizens to report corrupt persons to the appropriate authorities has been very difficult in spite of the passage of laws that guarantee protection and rewards proactive reporting.
However, 60 per cent of the citizens surveyed said the government was doing a good job with the fight against corruption while 30 per cent said the government was not doing well.
Mrs Addah said in this regard, the GII recommends that; the state must intensify its efforts towards the fight against corruption by adequately resourcing the key anti-corruption institutions to discharge the mandate.
She said the Office of the Special Prosecutor should fast track investigations and prosecutions of the many corruption cases pending and also make the public aware per section 3 (3) of the Act establishing the Office, as the level of confidence of the citizenry in the office is gradually waning.
She urged all state institutions, particularly those with oversight responsibility and power to enforce compliance, and put in place measures to promote efficient service delivery at the approved charges, in order to address the persistent issues of bribery within the public sector.
“In line with chapter 20 of the United Nation Convention Against Corruption and requirement under the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, Ghana must take steps to criminalize illicit enrichment and enforce same to ensure the prevention of illegal acquisition of wealth not only by public officials but also private individuals”, she added.
The Programmes Manager said, the state should increase its efforts towards educating citizens on the Whistleblower’s Act 2006 (Act 720) and the recently passed Witness Protection law to encourage the culture of corruption reporting in Ghana.
Mrs Addah said as much as GII commends government and all state institutions for the efforts and strides made in the fight against corruption, they also encourage all to continue to practicalise the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan.
Hence, promoting efficiency and effectiveness in the public sector and other frameworks including the implementation of the Right to Information law to promote transparency and accountability of governance, while increasing citizens trust.