General News of Tue, 3 Feb 2015
Bagbin blows cover over $600m corruption
Ghana’s donor partners are withholding about $600 million from her until they (partners) see stronger commitment in the fight against corruption, Majority Leader Alban Bagbin has revealed.
Delivering a public lecture on the relationship between corruption and national development on Thursday organised by the Faculty of Integrated Development Studies (FIDS) of the University for Development Studies (UDS), Wa campus in the Upper West Region, the Nadowli- Kaleo MP said, “Our current score is 49 per cent, so they are waiting to see our next score before they release the funds.”
Mr. Bagbin has called for a decoupling of the Attorney-General’s (AG’s) Department from the Ministry of Justice in order to reduce interference by the government in the work of the A-G.
He said separating the two will ensure efficiency in the delivery of justice in the country, adding that the A-G could only be efficient if divorced from the influence of the executive.
He called on Ghanaians to support the call for the separation of the two institutions in order to bring about efficiency into the country’s justice system.
He said the move is constitutional and not a political matter, which calls for a thorough public discussion and acceptance before it can be done during constitutional reforms.
The majority leader in parliament has said Ghanaians have too much tolerance for corruption hence, the lack of moral courage to fight the canker.
This attitude of the citizenry towards corruption, he said, was part of the reasons why it had become difficult to fully eliminate or reduce corruption to the barest minimum to propel the country’s development agenda.
Mr. Bagbin who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Nadowli- Kaleo, said the continued focus on political corruption was one of the reasons why the country could not fight corruption the way it ought to fight to reduce or eliminate it.
“We cannot fight corruption if citizens continue to think that corruption is only among some class of people and not among everybody,” he noted.
Mr. Bagbin said corrupt practices according to the recently approved and adopted National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), included bribery, embezzlement, misappropriation, trading in influence, abuse of office, abuse of power, illicit enrichment, laundering of proceeds of crime, concealment, obstruction of justice, patronage, nepotism and conflict of interest.
He mentioned lack of ill-defined code of conduct, ethics, laws, rules and regulations, poor enforcement of laws, rules and regulations, wide and high discretionary powers bestowed on individuals, bad governance and absence of integrity as some of the causes of corruption in the country.
He said the other is the culture of untruth, leading to poor ethical standards, poverty, weak institutions as well as the politicization of corruption and the corruption of politics.
Touching on the effects of corruption on national development, the majority leader said for Ghana, corruption continued to exert a heavy toll on the economy, society and politics, thereby retarding development.
He suggested public sector reforms, strengthening key anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies, public awareness and education, prevention of corruption, improvement in investigation and prosecution, creating an enabling environment, involvement of stakeholders and monitoring and evaluation as the way forward in curbing corruption in the country.
According to him, global, continental and national efforts had yielded an acceptable consensus as to what corruption is or is not and that the strongest message emerging from all the long diagnostic studies and clinical observation and experiences was that pervasive and systematic corruption could be curbed only through a broad-based campaign involving all sectors of the society.
“A successful campaign requires a clear and unambiguous, strong and sustained political will of the country’s leaders to create an atmosphere in which wrong-doing is not tolerated,” he said.