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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Government will continue to fight corruption despite poor ranking"

Information Minister Okudzeto Ablakwa
Information Minister Okudzeto Ablakwa
Government says it is still committed towards fighting corruption despite latest statistics giving the country poor rankings.

The 2009 Transparency International corruption perception index (CPI) ranks Ghana as the 69th most corrupt in the world.

The index shows high profile corruption still persists in public institutions, as Ghana maintains its unenviable position as last year.

Mr Ablakwa said the Mills administration has “strengthened the anti-corruption institutions,” and stressed that the “government is concerned.”

Mr Ablakwa also indicated that the government’s fight against corruption should be “one of the strong pillars for which we should be judged.”

The yearly report is a snapshot of perceptions from a number of sources including policy and institutional assessments by the World Bank.

With 1 being the most corrupt and 10 the least corrupt, New Zealand topped this year’s list with an index score of 9.4 while Ghana scored 3.9.

Ghana has scored under-5 since its inclusion in the index 10 years ago. The local chapter of Transparency International, the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), has some concerns about the country’s performance.

Vitus Azeem worried

Executive Secretary of the GII, Vitus Azeem, said the statistics mean the country has not been able to deal with corruption with the many numerous legislations meant to check it.

“One does not expect us to remain stagnant, scoring below 5 for over 10 years. Ghana needs to move up from where the New Patriotic Party government brought us. It also means that the legislations that we have boasted about have not been successful in addressing the cancer of corruption,” he said.

He said it is even more worrying that “the CPI specifically mentioned Ghana as among the countries alongside South Africa and Senegal where high profile corruption cases and scandals continue to be regularly reported.”

Mr Azeem said government must commit itself to strengthening the roles of anti-corruption agencies to help improve Ghana’s corruption ratings.
“Stemming corruption requires a strong oversight by Parliament, a well-performing judiciary, independent and properly resourced audit and anti-corruption agencies,” he indicated.

“It also requires vigorous law enforcement, transparency in public budgets, revenue and aide flows…and a vibrant civil society.”

As Christmas approaches, Mr Azeem warns of the possibility of DCE’s and MCE’s indulging in expensive gifts and calls on the Mills government to stamp out such practices.

Source: Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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