DATA released by the Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) indicates that the activities of corruption are projected to cost 20 to 25 per cent of the country’s annual budget which is more than government’s annual expenditure on education.
The Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Richard Quason, disclosed this when the National Anti-corruption Action Plan (NACAP), CHRAJ and Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) engaged the Central Regional House of Chiefs in unique ways of dealing with public sector corruption and safeguarding national resources.
The two anti-graft bodies are in an enhanced collaboration with local authorities to stem the tide of growing corrupt practices which has become widespread in the Ghanaian society.
“Corruption has become a major problem because we have become hospitable and tolerant with corruption. Every aspect of our society somehow is corrupted and we see corruption as normal,” Mr Quayson said.
He indicated that corruption was estimated to cost African economies about $100 million annually or even higher, according to recent reports.
However, in Ghana, Mr Quayson said, activities of corruption are projected to cost 20 to 25 per cent of the country’s annual budget which is more than government’s annual expenditure on education.
He said corrupt dealings particularly, happen in procurement and that when an item is bought at GHC100, the actual value might be GHC70, stressing: “GHC30 is wasted; we have inflated the cost in everything, even the school feeding programme”.
Mr Quayson said corruption was undermining the rights of individuals, and called for a deliberate action to arrest the situation.
He said, “If we don’t fight and bring corruption under control, then our development agenda will suffer.”
“Our resources are being wasted through corruption, today; we still have children learning under trees and in dilapidated buildings which are danger to their lives”.
Mr Quayson urged traditional office rulers to use their natural powers to inculcate traditional values and ethics that spurn dishonesty, cheating and greed into their subjects, saying: “as natural leaders our society, our people look up to you”.
He said to bring corruption under control, the leadership role of chiefs was very crucial as they could ensure cultural values and traditions that insisted on honesty.
The Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative, Mrs Linda Ofori Kwafo, stressed the need for Ghanaians to avoid corruption.
She called on traditional rulers to report corrupt practices in their local areas and ensure their subjects adhere to traditional values that insisted on good behaviours.
She said GII was implementing a two-year project that focuses on increasing the capacity of Ghanaians to understand, resist and report on corruption.
It is also focusing on stronger and more robust collaboration between GII and institutions to ensure speedy redress of complaints of acts of corruption.
The President of the Central Regional House of Chiefs, Obrepong Yanfo Krapa II, advised chiefs, youth, politicians, and others not to engage themselves in corruption in the country.
According to the chief, corruption was the biggest challenge of the country and commended CHRAJ and GII for enlightening the chiefs on the matter.
He declared support of the chiefs in helping the state to deal ruthlessly with the canker saying, “no single institution can fight corruption alone”.
Story: Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU
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