A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a policy think tank based in the United State of America, Prof. Larry Diamond, has said the key to turning the economic fortunes of Ghana around is for the government to deal with corruption among its officials.
He specifically advocated a strong and independent institution that would not only monitor the conduct of public officials but also investigate and prosecute suspected state officials found to be engaged in corrupt acts.
Speaking at a media briefing on the trends in African democracy, Prof. Diamond, who is also the Director of Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law (CDDRL), said until governments in Africa began to deal efficiently with corruption, starting from their own administration, the continent would continue to encounter the same economic challenges.
“Most of state officials in Africa are bleeding their countries dry of wealth through massive personal corruption. Aside that, African government are not facilitating and empowering the independent investigative agencies that should be controlling corruption,” he said.
The briefing was organised by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in collaboration with the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP).
Prof. Diamond said one of the effective measures of addressing corruption in Africa, including Ghana, was for state officials to declare their assets and make it known to the public through the Internet before they assumed any leadership position.
“Nigeria seems to be walking on such lines but the problem is that assets of state officials are not made known to the public. And if you do a lot of digging, you will discover that they are being kept under somebody’s desk,” he said.
Additionally, Prof. Diamond observed that institutions tasked with the objective to monitor the operations of the government officials must be properly resourced and also given autonomy to work.
He said most of the institutions that had been charged to address corruption only existed on paper, adding, “they do not have the resources and autonomy to work”.
Prof. Diamond observed that in addressing corruption in Ghana, agencies such as the media, civil societies and policy think tanks needed to do institutional analysis and work as a team.
“The public and the media must be mobilised as allies in the fight against corruption. The services of effective people who are ready and willing to take measures to curb the corruption menace without any interruptions must be employed,”he said.