We cannot win corruption fight with selective prosecutions – Dr Asante
Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), says Ghana risks losing the corruption fight if governments continue to engage in selective prosecution of corruption-related issues.
He said prosecuting only officials from opposition parties on corruption was not enough if the country was to make headway in its fight against the canker.
At least two ex-Ministers under the erstwhile John Mahama’s administration, including Alhaji Collins Dauda, a former Water Resources, Works, and Housing Minister, are standing trial for different corruption charges and other related offences.
Speaking in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of a roundtable discussion on the recently released Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in Accra on Monday, Dr Asante said government must hold all accused public officials accountable and bring them to justice no matter the political affiliations.
“What I am saying is that those things are fine but are not making much of an impact. We know that people are being prosecuted from the NDC regime, but we have a lot of other cases that have happened during the time of the current government. What has happened to them?
“People have to see the process in a very transparent way… this case is moving, but this one, which we haven’t heard anything about, is not right, ” he said.
The roundtable discussion, organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), was to deliberate on Ghana’s stand on the recent CPI released by Transparency International and offer new strategies to tackle corruption in the country.
It was under the theme: “Rethinking Ghana’s Anti-Corruption Strategies: A Decade’s Trend Analysis of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).”
The 2021 CPI, released by Transparency International on January 25, 2022, revealed that Ghana failed to make progress in the fight against corruption.
The country maintained its 43 percent score from 2020, ranking ninth in Sub-Saharan Africa and 73rd globally.
Dr Asante attributed this to a plethora of factors, including a weakness in the country’s campaign financing regime.
A 2018 Report on the Cost of politics by CDD-Ghana estimated that on an average, it would cost $85,000 for one to contest for parliamentary office, a 57 percent increase from 2012 to 2016.
Also in 2021, exploratory research by the CDD showed that one needed a minimum of GH¢2 million to GH¢5 million to contest for a parliamentary seat.
Dr Asante said that was a recipe for corruption and urged stakeholders to address the current funding gap in the country’s democratic dispensation and help curb corruption.
“For me, reforming campaign financing regime has to be our number one priority. The issue is simple, unless we want a military government or traditional authorities, a king or somebody to take over.”
“If we are going to have a multiparty democracy, then it means we need to have elections, and if the only way we are going to choose our leaders, is through elections, then we have to sanitise the process for electing and appointing our leaders,” he noted.
Mr. Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, reiterated government’s commitment to fighting corruption in the country.
He said the passage of the Right to Information Act, the Criminal Offences Act, and the digitisation of public institutions to reduce human interference were all manifestations of government’s readiness to eradicate corruption.
Dr Eric Oduro Osae, the Director General for the Internal Audit Agency, called for proper record keeping in the public sector to allow for easy access and prosecution of corrupt officials when the need arose.