Samson’s Take: Books win corruption fight in Ghana

Samson’s Take: Books win corruption fight in Ghana

Government has put ¢12.2 billion in our pockets between 2017 and now. Never mind that this, in fact, is money we gave to government or loans taken on account of our tax. The finance minister just explained this was money spent on various projects to benefit citizens. More than this amount, some ¢13 billion, was spent on the banking sector clean-up. I hope I understood the minister.

This could have been avoided if people blew the whistle on the alleged regulatory breaches that officers of the central bank superintended to cost the taxpayer so much. Imagine if citizens were educated the Whistleblowers law guarantees them 10% of the money recovered or substantial financial reward upon the successful prosecution of corrupt people and public officers fleecing the country?

We have spent a couple of years begging China for $2 billion we will pay for. This brings excitement that it will be used to transform Ghana’s infrastructure. But it is estimated that the country loses $3 billion each year to grand corruption – that’s twice the aid money we get.  So this country can do far better and without borrowing. Citizens in Tamale were extremely excited when the NCCE took a rare whistleblowing awareness campaign to them this week.

They had their suspicion that very little is heard of this law because as they say “if you want to hide something from the Ghanaian put it in a book. This law establishes 18 different avenues including EOCO, BNI, the police, CHRAJ, heads of institutions, religious leaders, chiefs and district assemblies for citizens to report impropriety and corruption. They were not excited when I disclosed that the 2006 law requires the establishment of a Whistleblowers Reward Fund which has not been put in place.

It is out of this fund that one may get the 10% reward and refund of any expenses he makes in exposing corruption. If you blew the whistle and got victimised, harassed, mistreated or dismissed at work, you simply report to CHRAJ and you will get justice, get your job back, compensated and you and your family will receive state protection if your security is threatened. Yes, after two decades of the campaign, the RTI law was passed but curiously suspended to commence operation next year.

This is another book that wins the corruption fight. But a couple of months to 2020 and there is no word about the implementing agency – the RTI Commission established by the law, and almost all items on a roadmap for a smooth take-off have been missed. Ghana has many fine anti-corruption laws including one that has no history of application even though it recovers three times the money stolen from the state plus a possible 10 years in jail – the Government Contracts (Protection) Act, 1979.

The procurement law and another recent book, the Special Prosecutor’s law have all won the corruption fight but on paper. Laws don’t work by themselves. Enough of the book corruption victories!  Enough of the grandstanding lip service fight against the nation-wrecking graft and sleaze?

 

Columnist: Samson Lardy ANYENINI

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