…as MPs fail to scrutinise arms control, defence budget
In its first global analysis of corruption risk in defence establishments worldwide, Transparency International (TI) today January 29, 2013 has indicated some level of corruption in Ghana’s defence sector.
TI scored countries in bands from very low risk (A) to critical risk (F) according to detailed assessment across 77 indicators that cover five prominent risk areas in the sector: politics, finance, personnel, operations, and procurement.
Ghana was placed in Band D negative, meaning the country lacks anti-corruption mechanisms in place such as robust parliamentary oversight of defence policy, thus giving room for high risk of corruption.
On the Ghana report, with regard to political corruption risk, the anti-corruption watchdog said Parliament is seen as not being involved very much in defence policy, and unable to debate or scrutinise arms control decisions.
“There is a severe lack of transparency concerning defence policy and a consequent lack of public debate surrounding it, as well as scepticism over levels of integrity”, the TI said.
The report however indicated that although the Defence and Interior Committee of Parliament’s oversight of the sector is weak, it “does seem to have some control over the defence budget, although far greater disclosure of information pertaining to the budget would be necessary to increase confidence further.”
It also noted that the Public Accounts Committee is constrained by the only information being available to it being that with audit reports, which are themselves not necessarily complete.
TI explains that contributing to weak oversight is the fact that all major expenditure is effectively off-budget.
The group also raised concerns over recent announcements suggesting that the military want to be involved in commercial ventures, which carries attendant corruption risk.
On the operations of the military, TI said “there is good general guidelines that help to stem impropriety in theatre (even if the term ‘corruption’ is not used), though there is uncertainty over whether corruption monitors are deployed and a lack of anti-corruption training lessening confidence in anti-corruption capability in this risk area.”
Ghana and 14 other countries including Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Ethiopia, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Turkey were all in the Band D- category.
The Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index analysed 82 countries on what they do to
reduce corruption risks.
These countries accounted for 94% of the global military expenditure in 2011, equivalent to $1.6 trillion, the TI said.
Download the Ghana report
By Ekow Quandzie