Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption agency, has cited the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) as a corrupt institution in its latest report.
The report, dubbed, “Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index (GI)” which was launched in Accra yesterday, rated Ghana’s security sector ‘D’ for performing worse in the areas of finance, operations and procurement.
Ghana was in league with Kenya and South Africa but performed better than Nigeria, which scored ‘E’ (very high corruption risk).
The GI report tackled the overall transparency in the military of 47 African countries with emphasis on risk of defence corruption while considering the political, financial, personnel, procurement and operations risks as well.
According to Sir Stewart Eldon, Senior Adviser at TI, the report scores each country from ‘A’ – the best – very low risk to F (the worst –critical risk) based on an assessment consisting of 77 questions.
“Ghana performs strongest in the areas of political and personnel risks, scoring ‘B’ and ‘D’ respectively. Its scores are weakest (‘B’ and ‘E’) for finance, operations and procurement.
“There is some existing good practice that Ghana should be able to build on to improve its systems…in some cases without much additional effort,” Sir Eldon stated.
He added that corruption was undermining public trust in government and the armed forces, as well as posing a major threat to the success of operations.
“Defence spending has increased across the continent by 91 percent but institutional capacity is lagging. In many cases oversight functions exist in the form of anti-corruption bodies, audit functions, and or parliamentary committees, but defence institutions are largely exempt from scrutiny,” the TI Senior Adviser said.
Sir Eldon disclosed that increase in spending by the military was not necessarily enhancing state security, stating, “Too often procurement decisions are taken with little reference to strategic requirements; military effectiveness is eroded by poor controls, while forces are repurposed for commercial ends.”
He said in other states, oversight functions such as anti-corruption bodies, audit functions and parliamentary committees were growing in authority, representing positive institutional potential to hold the executive to account.
“But in many cases, defence matters are considered highly sensitive and evade vital scrutiny. This secrecy is often unjustified, and can be used to mask corruption, misuse and incompetence,” Sir Eldon said.
He urged the GAF to make their code of conduct publicly available in line with other good personal practice.
By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh