Business News of Wednesday, 8 March 2017
The Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Tove Degnbol, has revealed that a number of Danish investors seeking to do business in the country have had to rescind their decision due to bribery demands by officials of government agencies whose job is to facilitate such investments.
Speaking at a business meeting with selected entities which have Danish ties Ms. Degnbol said the development is troubling as Danish companies are generally celebrated for their heavy anti-corruption stance.
“Danish companies are reporting that they often find it difficult to do business in Ghana because they are confronted with requests for illegal payment of services or ‘facilitation money’. At the Embassy, we are proud when companies tell us that they would rather lose an order than become involved in the endless game of paying and being required to pay even more.
Together with a group of Danish companies and their Ghanaian partners we have recently embarked upon an exercise to map out the situations where the risk of corruption is experienced to be large. We do so with a view to engage relevant authorities in a dialogue on how best corruption can be curbed,” the Ambassador said.
According to Ms. Degnbol, the high incidence of corruption has led to the Danish Embassy working on an anti-corruption policy that will allow businesses to work in a safe environment.
“We are trying to map where some of these things happen. We are anonymous because we are not trying to highlight a particular case. But we are trying to see if it is the customs clearing in the harbor, the public offices when you are trying to apply for say driver’s license or somewhere else. And we will be using these mapping where we see bribery and corruption taking place in our policy dialogue with the government, which will be used to develop initiatives to battle corruption.”
Danish anti-corruption example
According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, which provides an indication of the extent of corruption in 176 countries as perceived by business people and experts, Denmark has ranked first as the least corrupt country every year during the past 10 years, with two exceptions being the years 2011 and 2009.
During the same years, Ghana has been moving a bit up and down the ranking, between 61 to 69. From an improved position of 56 in 2015, Ghana’s ranking worsened to 70 in 2016.
“When my predecessor and I counted the silverware in the residence as part of the handing over, one of the small teaspoons could not be found. My predecessor immediately reported the case to Copenhagen and offered to pay with her own means for the missing teaspoon,” the Danish Ambassador said, to underscore the legendary Danish anti-corruption attitude.
“I do not think that the human nature differs much across countries, and when we see large deviations in the extent of corruption across countries, it mainly reflects differences in institutions, traditions, mechanisms for accountability, and not least in the degree of transparency,” noted said.