The cost of corruption is calamitous and very serious concerted efforts must be urgently executed to halt the canker, Professor Abednego Okoe Feehi Amartey, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), has said.
He explained: “A cedi stolen from the state means denial of the right to education or good roads. Another cedi stolen from the state means denial of availability of functioning medical facilities. Yet another cedi stolen from the state means more infant and maternal deaths.”
Prof Amartey made the remark at the maiden edition of the Public Accountability Lecture Series (PAL Series) at the UPSA, which was on the theme: “Is Ghana Losing the War Against Corruption?”
The PAL Series is the effort of UPSA’s Centre for Public Accountability to contribute to finding a permanent solution to the ill-phenomena of corruption.
This annual event would subject the nation’s anti-corruption efforts to close scrutiny, while proffering workable solutions to the problem.
The Vice Chancellor said the PAL Series would undoubtedly make a great contribution to the national search for true accountability.
Prof Amartey said: “Somewhere in this country, hundreds of pregnant women, who should be filled with the joy of becoming mothers, are rather saddled with anxiety and uncertainty of what lies ahead.
“They are deprived of proper maternal care and are at the high risk of death. This doesn’t have to be so.
“Somewhere in this country by this time, families who should be welcoming their relations back home from work are rather grieving the untimely death of their loved ones in a tragic road accident due to negligence or the bad nature of the roads occasioned by corruption. This doesn’t have to be so.
“Somewhere in this country, a whopping GHC 5 billion would have gone into private pockets but for the mercies of God: the vigilance of the Government and the new Auditor-General. This doesn’t have to be so.”
“Regrettably,” he stated, ’the future of our children is jeopardised because the monies meant for the construction of schools, roads, and good hospitals are being diverted into the private bank accounts of greedy individuals in our society. This doesn’t have to be so.”
He noted that for more than 60 years since independence, Ghana continued to suffer ‘heavy financial haemorrhage’ every year while certain individuals both in the public and private sectors continued to get richer and richer.
Prof Amartey noted that the very eloquent Pan-African lawyer and academic, Prof Lumumba recently made a very profound analogy by stating that: “Corruption is equal to mass murder”.
The Vice Chancellor said: “We cannot and must not sit down to allow this mass murder to persist. We need to do something to discourage and to prevent the mass murder. We ought to do something urgently to protect the theft of the next Ghana cedi.”
Mr Justice Emile Short, a former commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), who was supposed to deliver the keynote address, could not make it to the function, due to circumstances beyond his control.
However, the host of the 2018 PAL Series, Mr Samson Lardy Anyenini, a Private Legal Practitioner, and also of Joy FM News file fame, was able to bring out certain key statements from Mr Short’s speech to put questions to the discussants.
The panelists include Mr Franklin Cudjoe, the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Imani Africa and Mr Michael Boadi, Corporate Affairs Manager of Ghana Integrity Initiative.
Both men, in their submissions, agreed that Ghana had done well in the fight against corruption; however, they recommended that more needed to be done to combat it.