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Uneducated citizenry is like a pitch any game can be played on it. Illiteracy is what has given the politicians in Ghana the chance to fool so many people for so a long a time.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The issue of corruption has become so pervasive in the Ghanaian society to the extent that it is now perceived in certain quarters as a pedestrian and banal subject which does not deserve any discussion. Indeed the level of corruption has made some highly placed Ghanaians to situate the canker in Biblical context saying that "corruption has existed since Adam."

Times without number, reports on Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Ghana Integrity Initiative are nothing to write home about. With each report, corruption in Ghana either had slipped backwards or made some marginal efforts.

The worrying aspect is that State institutions which should be above board, and more especially entrusted with the responsibility of ridding the society of corruption are the very bodies who have been found culpable in these reports.

Our front page lead story deals with yet another "report", which although does not meet the rigorous standards of a survey, has once again cited the some personnel of the Ghana Police Service and the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service(CEPS) for corruption.

At a workshop organized by the Legal Resource Centre on how to improve Road Transport Governance, a key stakeholder, the Accra Onion Sellers Cooperative Society, whose members have been plying the Tema-Ouagadougou route, stunned other participants with the revelation that some police and CEPS officials have been extorting huge sums of money from them before giving them the right of way.

According to the onion sellers a minimum of GHC4.4 million is extorted annually from them. By their calculations a trader plying the Tema-Ouagadougou route parts with a minimum GHc30.00 at each of the eleven checkpoints mounted by the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and the Ghana Police Service (GPS) in exchange for right of way. This brings the total of illicit levies collected by officers of CEPS and Ghana Police on one trip to GHC330.00. These payments are in addition to demands for some of the onions being transported.

The accounts of the traders went to affirm studies undertaken in September and October 2009 by three teams on the 1,057km route, which has 881km in Ghana and 176km in Burkina Faso. Indeed, according to the statistics, the total amount of bribes collected can reach GHc4.38 million per year.

The study, which in many respects confirm the traders account, established that in Ghana, "drivers paid anywhere from GHc2 to GHc4 in bribes per stop, with CEPS officers accepting no less than GHc3." The study affirmed that over the course of a journey from Tema to Ouagadougou, these individual stops could thus add up to GHc100. "On any given day the number of traders plying the route can reach 120, therefore, the total amount in bribes collected can reach GHc12, 000 per day, GHc84, 000 per week, GHc336, 000 per month and GHc4, 380,000 per year."

The behavior of the officials involved, to say the least, is most reprehensible and must be brought to book.

To this end Public Agenda calls on both the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of CEPS cause investigations into the matter in order to bring the errant officials to order. Ghana as a country cannot make any meaningful progress if such unscrupulous acts are allowed to continue. We must all call a halt deal with this social menace once and for all.

Source: The Chronicle/Ghana

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