Feature Article of Saturday, 13 April 2013
Columnist: Atugiya, David
What is Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) up to again? In one of my articles (refer to ghanaweb.com Monday, 30 January 2012, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) should clarify its role) I asked GII to clarify its role and for more than a year now I am still yet to receive the clarification.
In my article of 30 January 2012 I indicated that GII as a local chapter of Transparency International that is seen in the eyes of many Ghanaians as offering an impartial advocacy service of holding public servants to be transparent and accountable, cannot afford to be perceived as being bias in issues of corruption and wrong doing in Government and public service.
And 15 months on after my article not much has changed in the antics and workings of GII as being an impartial institution in raising issues of corruption and wrong doing against Government and other individual public servants. And if a so-called anti-corruption or transparency organisation like GII thrives on suspicious (without independent verifications of the issues) to challenge wrong doings in Government or the public sector , one is right to accuse the Executive Director, Vitus Azeem and the GII of mischief and doing the bidding of their secrete pay masters.
It cannot be right that most of the time GII in raising wrong doing in Government or in the public services are not able to do any due diligence and substantiate in any uncertain terms the issues being raised beyond mere propaganda, speculations and suspicions. This unfortunately cannot be right and fair in any true sense.
It is now apparent or abundantly clear that GII from its latest press statement “THE SAVANNAH ACCELERATED DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (SADA) MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO FAIL” issued on 11 April 2013 is no anti corruption or transparency institution other than a diabolical and discredited mouth piece of an institution of a sort. What Institution that is worth it sort would want to and or allow its credibility and reputation to be dragged into the mud or accused of shoddy work by hopping from one radio station to the other, alleging serious wrong doing on the part Government and individual public servants without proof of the issues being alleged.
When I started going through the press statement of GII after a glance, I quickly realized the need to fully read the whole statement, thinking it was going to be explosive with facts and balanced analysis but was disappointed because the whole statement turned out to be a damp squid! A desperate NGO seeking its usual headline grabbing. The premise of the statement was flawed; issues or allegations raised though serious could not be substantiated beyond mere speculations and suspicions.
The Executive Director of GII Vitus Azeem in an interview by Joy FM 6.00pm news reader on 11 April 2013 admitted that he or GII had no proof to substantiate all the issues raised in their press statement. So in effect GII used only one side of the argument (rumour, suspicion, hearsay) as the basis of analysis and evaluation and the subsequent issuant of their ill judged press statement.
The issues raised in the Press Statement of GII came sorely from the media apart from the inconclusive 200 boreholes issue that they claimed was from their own efforts, and yet GII thought that was sufficient enough to do a good job of exposing wrong doing in Government or public service. How do Vitus Azeem and GII judge the quality of such a work? It is shoddy at best and ethically very poor. Vitus and GII should go beyond whistle blowing. The Ostrich would have done better than GII in exposing its own institutional deficiency in the manner that GII did with its ill-timed and ill-judged press statement.
Interestingly, Vitus Azeem also admitted in his interview with Joy FM on 11 April 2013 that GII has not got the capacity neither to conduct any in-depth independent investigations nor sponsor individual Ghanaians to file complaints to the appropriate authorities to trigger any investigations into the issues of wrong doing in Government and or public service.
If this admission by Vitus Azeem is anything to go by then one is right to suggest that GII is tainting its image desperately in an attempt to portray its relevance to its funders or sponsors and also to justify its continues existence.
My humble submission to GII is that, if it peddles an image of an anti-corruption organisation and indulge in acts of misinformation and headline grabbing that exclude actual truth through the absence of fairness and justice, then it will lose the moral right to the accolade of an anti- corruption or transparent and accountable institution and will permanently do damage to whatever is left of its integrity.
The author is a Human Rights and Social Justice Campaigner, Finance and Management Consultant; Specialist in NGO, Chartered Fellow CMI and Millennium Awards Fellow.