The President has turned on his anti-corruption gear a notch higher with a promise to Ghanaians that public officials, past and present, would be held accountable for pilfering the public purse.
Speaking at the Black Star Square to mark Ghana’s 61st Independence on Saturday, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said he will not be swayed by political considerations in his quest to protect the public purse.
“Fellow Ghanaians, corruption, or, more specifically, the stealing of public funds, continues to hold back the development of our nation. Corruption is not a partisan matter and we must all act to protect the public purse,” the President said in a speech.
The President won the admiration of many Ghanaians as well as local and international anti-graft institutions when he fulfilled his 2016 campaign promise to set up the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) to fight deep-seated corruption that has rendered many public institutions dysfunctional.
His choice for the OSP, Martin Amidu, is also a popular anti-corruption maverick who, while in public office in the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of President John Atta Mills, fought his superiors for preventing him to call out alleged corrupt officials.
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The NDC party that Mr Amidu is a member of is the main contender to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) which the President belongs, making the President's decision to appoint him to the important anti-corruption office a bold move.
The President is hopeful that “with the office of the Special Prosecutor now in place we can expect more prosecutions for corruption in the coming months,” urging public officials, present and past, to be on notice that they would be held accountable for their actions.
- Martin Amidu (middle) has vowed to fight corruption vigourously.
Ghana scored its lowest corruption perception index in four years when the latest Global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) was released last month.
The 2017 CPI released by the local chapter of Transparency International, the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), scored Ghana 40 out of a possible clean score of 100 and ranked the country 81 out of 180 countries assessed.
The index shows that Ghana’s performance has dropped by three points from its 2016 score of 43, and 7 points cumulatively from the 2015 score of 47.
Corruption and poverty
Executive Founder of trade and governance think tank, Centre for Trade Analysis and Development (CETAD), Dr. Kwaku Afesorgbor, once made a close link between extreme poverty and high levels of corruption.
In a detailed article on the consequences of corruption on citizens, he stated: “Corruption is one of the most destructive impediments to economic and social development. It takes away resources from the common pool and deprives a large population of partaking in the share of the national cake.”