THE OFFICE of the president has been cited as the second most corrupt among a list of 10 state institutions assessed by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in its latest Socio-economic and Governance Survey.
‘Generally, one of the most pressing governance challenges confronting the country is the high prevalence of bribery and corruption,’ Dr John Kwakye, senior economist at the IEA, disclosed to journalists yesterday, revealing also that the Police Service emerged the most notorious on the list.
According to the report, 23 percent of respondents were of the opinion that nearly all police officers are corrupt.
Coming after the Office of the President on the list were tax officials, Members of Parliament, government officials generally, district chief executives, judges/magistrates, assemblymen/women, the Immigration Service and Ghana Army.
Transparency International, in its 2013 Corruption Index, ranked Ghana 63 rd out of 177 countries and 61 st out of 175 in last year’s rankings.
The CDD’s last year Afrobarometer report also returned a damning verdict on the presidency.
The IEA said while countries such as Botswana, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Namibia and Rwanda had taken proactive steps in minimising corruption, ‘Ghana continues to grapple with the problem. And the survey results clearly point to its severity.’
Already in Ghana, the perception of bribery among the people is very high and the acquisition of basic services like getting a document or a permit, getting water or sanitation services, getting electricity connection, getting treatment at a local health clinic or hospital, avoiding a problem with the police like passing a check point or avoiding a fine or arrest, avoiding a problem with the local tax officer and getting a place in a primary school for a child, cannot be done without offering bribes.
Also getting places in a government senior high school and government tertiary institution for children are deemed to be herculean tasks.
Government has however rejected the IEA report that the Office of the President is the second most corrupt.
A statement signed by the Minister for Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah said, ‘Government strenuously rejects any such suggestion that the Office is corrupt, let alone being the second most corrupt institution in Ghana.
‘The practice where groups or organisations purport to conduct polls and through a visceral approach publish their outcomes in a manner that seeks to create the impression of corruption does little to advance the fight against corruption.’
He therefore challenged the IEA to offer credible proof to back its claims, adding that ‘Government has been taking far-reaching steps, including reforms in public financial administration and the establishment of tighter controls, as part of efforts to address the issue of corruption.’
He also indicated that the IEA must bring out for verification the methodology for the so-called perception survey.
According to Dr. Omane Boamah, it is a matter of public record that no Government has done more to expose and punish corruption like the John Mahama administration.
He noted that organisations seeking to discuss the subject need to be guided by verified facts not unfounded accusations, hiding under the cover of perception. Additionally, the minister indicated, the timing of the release of this purported survey – just a day before the president presents the State of the Nation Address – cannot be lost on the objective-minded members of the public.
The Mahama administration has on several occasions been rocked with corruption scandals with religious bodies, civil society groups, chiefs and even the president himself, mostly lamenting.
Some chiefs in President Mahama’s home base of Northern Region last year stormed the presidency to prevail on the president to address the canker, stressing that corruption was not part of their culture.
By Samuel Boadi
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