Ghana makes little progress in fight against corruption – Study

Ghana has made no significant improvement on its anti-corruption agenda in the past year, as major challenges persist, such as the government’s failure to implement a formal freedom of information regime or to exercise controls over the funding of political parties and candidates.

A new study of government’s accountability in countries around the world has found.

The report, a major investigative study of 35 countries, was released on Tuesday by US-based Global Integrity, an award-winning international non-profit organization that tracks governance and corruption trends globally.

Global Integrity said in a statement that, Ghana’s overall scores for 2009 were similar to data gathered in 2008, with categories assessing freedom of information and controls over political financing, receiving the lowest scores in the Ghana scorecard.

The Right to Information Bill is before Parliament, and it’s expected to be passed soon.

“Citizens currently have no recognized right to information, despite mounting popular pressure for the approval of a freedom of information law drafted years ago, and must depend on personal relationships to obtain government information,” it said.

“As for political financing, some auditing requirements exist for campaign expenditures; however, without an effective mechanism to enforce the accurate disclosure of donations to parties or candidates, scandals around campaign contributions are not uncommon.

It said although political parties were required to submit a listing of their donations and expenditures to the Electoral Commission, only a few complied and many admitted they did not keep good records because donors to parties did not want their names disclosed.

“Ghana is a classic case where free and fair elections do not, in and of themselves, constitute ‘good governance.’  Ghana needs to take the next step towards consolidating democratic reform by increasing the transparency of who is funding the major political parties. Ghanaians have a right to know who is behind their parties,” said Global Integrity’s Managing Director, Nathaniel Heller.

The Global Integrity Report: 2009 covers developed countries such as the United States and South Korea as well as dozens of the world’s emerging markets and developing nations, from Azerbaijan and China to Lebanon and Vietnam.

The report assesses the accountability mechanisms and transparency measures in place (or not) to determine where corruption is more likely to occur. Rather than measure perceptions of corruption, the report assesses more than 300 “Integrity Indicators” and includes journalistic pieces covering corruption cases.

Source: GNA

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