Lack of transparency in political parties, legislature, oil industry weakens Ghana’s global integrity – Report

Ghana’s integrity on the world scene has been described as weak due to lack of accountability and transparency in political parties and legislative institutions as well as in the oil and gas industry, according to the 2011 edition of the Global Integrity Report (GIR) released March 30, 2012 by the Washington-based Global Integrity.

Ghana had an overall score of 67 out of 100, which the report described as weak. The country also scored a “moderate” 79 points on the legal framework of the report while Actual Implementation category saw Ghana having a “very weak” score of 54. The last report on Ghana was in 2009 when the country has an overall score of 65 out of 100.

The report said despite free media and media pluralism, Ghana still does not have a right-to- information law, and a draft bill has been pending since 2003. “Transparency is particularly lacking in Ghana’s burgeoning oil and gas industry, and nothing obliges officials to provide information,” it observed.

For political parties and the legislature in Ghana, the GIR indicated that the two bodies are “among the least accountable and transparent institutions” in the country.

Despite the country’s constitution requiring political parties to file returns and publish audited accounts, the report noted that only a few have met the requirement, and “no sanctions are imposed”.

It adds that “No limitations are placed on individual and corporate donations to political campaigns.”

This, the report commented, is “worsened by weak assets declaration legislation, which does not expressly provide for public disclosure or verification of declarations”.

Civil society organizations, including those to fight corruption, can be formed in Ghana but some are perceived as partisan, belonging to or supporting one of the two major parties in the country, it argued.

The Global Integrity Report is a tool for governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to identify and anticipate the areas where corruption is more likely to occur within a country’s public sector as well as which reforms are more urgent or can have greater impact.

By Ekow Quandzie

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