Accra, (G/AR), Jan15, 2018 - Penplusbyte’s yearly review of anti-Corruption in Ghana has rated the NPP Government’s efforts at 45%. The rating is based on analysis of a citizens’ perception poll conducted by Penplusbyte, one year after the NPP came into office.
Penplusbyte is a non-profit governance organisation aimed at deepening citizens’ participation through information and communication technology (ICT).
On the heels of these negative public perceptions, Ghana also began the year, ranked 70th in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released on 25th January 2017.
Losing four places from the last CPI indication - our country is losing the anti-corruption fight and unable to tackle high profile corruption cases contrary to promises made during and after the elections.
During election 2016, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised to set up an independent office to prosecute issues of corruption. In furtherance of this, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assured Ghanaians, among other promises, that he was committed to dealing with corrupt individuals within and outside his government.
To its credit, and in line with its anti-corruption stance, government passed the Special Prosecutor Bill on 14th November 2017 with more than 30 amendments after which President Akufo-Addo appended his signature to the Act on 2nd January 2018.
The biggest threat to success of the Special Prosecutor Act is likely to emanate from political bias of the prosecutor who is expected to espouse the fundamental principles of equality before the law, fairness and natural justice.
In a bid to reduce human interface with public servants, which engenders corruption, the new government has also recorded some achievements which include: automation of various institutions and governance processes such as port automation, E-procurement, online application of passport and online registration of cars at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).
Meanwhile, the first year of Akufo-Addo’s government has not been without allegations of corruption. The first of these wasMP for Bawku Central, Hon. Mahama Ayariga’s claim of a 3,000 Cedis bribe to the vetting committee to induce theapproval of Hon. Boakye Agyarko’s nomination as Minister of Energy and Petroleum. A Parliamentary Committee later cleared Boakye Agyarko of all the accusations.
Immediately followed the scandal of 5 million litres of contaminated fuel sold by BOST to two unregistered companies called Movenpina and Zupoil which were setup only a few days before the sale. The state is believed to have lost 7 million Cedis in revenue from that deal but the Energy Ministry cleared BOST from any violation of the sales processes.
Next came allegations against two Deputy Chiefs of Staff accused of taking $20,000 from people who wanted to see the president, a claim made by Kwame Asare Obeng (A-plus), a well-known musician and supporter of Akufo-Addo’s presidential campaign, who allegedly described them as thieves. The two deputies, Francis Asenso-Boakye and John Jinapor, however, rejected the allegations and were subsequently cleared by the Police CID and CHRAJ on further investigations.
Assin Central Member of Parliament, Kennedy Agyapong’s allegations against Ursula Owusu Ekuful (Communication Minister) also broke, alleging malfeasance in the award of contracts for production of National Identification cards in which he had interest.
Ghanaian media also featured the alleged “sale of seats” to expatriate businessmen to sit close to the president during a business awards ceremony. The Minority Chief Whip Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak (MP for Asawase) and Hon. Okudjeto Ablakwa accused the Trade and Industry Ministry of selling seats (ranging from $25,000 to $100,000) at the first Ghana Expatriates Business Awards in order to sit close to President Akufo-Addo.
Last but not the least was the case of 800,000 Cedis allegedly used to create a website for the Special Initiative Ministry which raised eyebrows. The figures quoted in the Ministry’s budget looked bloated including 132,000 Cedis for drilling a mechanised borehole and 500,000 Cedis for the purchase of a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Government has failed on its promise to amend the Criminal Offences Act (Act 29) and make corruption a felony rather than a misdemeanour as is currently the case. Amendment to the Act, it is believed, would prevent the spread of corruption and undermining of the effectiveness and efficiency of state institutions while strengthening government’s resolve in the fight against corruption.