Ghana has been ranked 73 out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International (TI). The country also scored 43 out of 100 for failing to make progress in the fight against corruption.
A statement released by Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) on Tuesday, January 25, noted that Ghana’s current performance of 43, which was same as 2020’s score, “leaves much to be desired.”
It added that a trend analysis of Ghana’s CPI scores over the past decade shows that, the country declined by 2 points.
“Ghana’s performance vis-a-vis other Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries SSA’s average is 33, the lowest in the world. 44 countries including Ghana ranked below 50. Seychelles (70) tops the region followed by Cabo Verde (58) and Botswana (55) while Equatorial Guinea (17), Somalia (13) and South Sudan (11) score lowest in the region,” the statement said.
The 2021 CPI which focuses on corruption, democracy and human rights noted that the global COVID-19 pandemic has opened doors for governments to further expand their executive powers, conceal information from the public and strip away rights.
It added that although the Ghanaian government is known to have taken some measures to address the canker and abuse of public office, impunity remains a problem.
“TI’s research shows a strong correlation between anti-corruption and respect for human rights, and that very few countries have managed to establish effective control of corruption without also respecting human rights. Of the 23 countries that have significantly declined on the CPI since 2012, 19 also declined on their civil liberties score. The above findings apply in the case of Ghana as the country’s score on the Democracy Index has seen a decline between 2015 and 2020 from 6.86 to 6.501 (out of a possible score of 10).”
The GII therefore recommended the following actions to be undertaken to help solve the canker of corruption in Ghana.
Enhance institutional checks on power Public oversight bodies including anti-corruption agencies and the supreme audit institution must operate fully independent from the executive as their mandates stipulate. They should continuously be well-resourced with budgets allocated to them fully disbursed and empowered to effectively investigate and sanction corruption timeously.
Empower citizens to hold power to account Agencies of state responsible for guarding the rights of citizens should take active roles in ensuring expeditious investigations into violations of the rights of civil society and media activists as well as human rights defenders and facilitate justice for crimes against all. Parliament and the courts should also be vigilant in preventing executive overreach.
Sanction the corrupt to serve as a deterrent Ghana is touted to have considerable anti-corruption frameworks including sanctioning laws.
However, not enough commitment on sanctioning corruption, particularly, political corruption has been demonstrated in recent years. Government and state anti-corruption institutions must effectively work towards making corruption a high risk and a low gain venture in order to reduce the incidences of abuse of power, impunity and corruption.
Improve transparency and accountability in political party and campaign financing The Electoral Commission should be held accountable to ensure the enforcement of the Political Parties Act, 2000 (Act 574), particularly Section 21 which relates to the disclosure of funding sources by political parties.
Parliament should also amend Act 574 to include disclosure on funding sources for candidates contesting Presidential and Parliamentary elections. There should also be a ceiling on how much can be raised and spent by candidates contesting these elections.
Promote efficient public service delivery and anti-corruption through digitization Evidence from the ongoing digitization projects of government suggests that automated processes within relevant public institutions (GRA) have reduced human 5 contacts and also have the potential to help reduce corruption. Government should, therefore, expedite its digitization programme and extend electronic services to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and digitization of services that are in high demand by citizens must be prioritized.