ARAP’S Impact on Ghana's Corruption Fight: We must support the NCCE to close the knowledge gap! 
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ARAP’S Impact on Ghana’s Corruption Fight: We must support the NCCE to close the knowledge gap!

ARAP’S Impact on Ghana’s Corruption Fight: We must support the NCCE to close the knowledge gap! 

ARAP’S Impact on Ghana’s Corruption Fight: We must support the NCCE to close the knowledge gap! 

Ghana ranked 75th out of 180 countries and territories on the 2020 Global Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which scores countries on how corrupt their public sectors are seen to be.

This annual ranking exercise conducted by Transparency International (TI) whose report was published in January this year shows an improvement in the country’s performance by five places from its 2019 score.

In 2019 and 2018, Ghana was ranked 80th and 78th (with 41 points) respectively out of 180 countries and territories.

Despite the country’s consistently appalling performance on the CPI, political commentators have habitually jumped unto each CPI report, sometimes with ridiculous interpretations, to courtpublic sympathy on how well they have handled corruption under their watchwhile citizenswho engage in the practice also live in self-pretence.

The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) analysis of Ghana’s score on the CPI since 2012shows that from the time the country achieved its highest score of 48th among 100 countries in 2014, it has continued to drop on the yearly chart.

“The 2019 score of 41/100 means that Ghana’s performance on the CPI remained the same from the previous year, also, 41/100.

This score is worrying, considering the fact that it implies stagnation at a low end of the table. The score remains lower than the average global score of 43/100,which is a marginal (1 percent) improvement over the 2018 global score of 42/100 and 10 percent above sub-Saharan Africa average of 32/100. In Africa, Ghana is 12th but 10th in sub-Saharan Africa,” the Coalition said in its report.

Ghana, like many other developing nations, has enacted several laws and established anti-corruption and public accountability institutions, the latest, being the Office of the Special Prosecutor for the fight against corruption.

However, efforts incombating the canker, holding persons and organizations entrusted with public resources accountable and prosecuting criminals where necessary have been sluggish and not yielded much results.

In 2016,the European Union (EU) and the Government of Ghana (GoG) signed an agreement to step up the country’s effort in stamping out the menace through the Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Programme (ARAP).

Three institutions: STAR-Ghana (a multi-donor-funded organisation), the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and FIIAPP (a Spanish public foundation), were identified to implement the programme designed to promote good governance and support national reforms in order to enhance accountability and strengthen anti-corruption efforts across the country.

About 20 million euros was sunk into the four-year programme (2016-2020).

In line with its mandate to promote and sustain democracy, inculcating in the citizenry the awareness of their rights and obligations through civic education, the NCCE, under ARAP, had the responsibility of exploring citizens’ knowledge and perspectives on three thematic areas; state of corruption, public accountability and environmental governance.

The Commission thus conducted two major surveys (a baseline and end line surveys in 2017 and 2020 respectively),which assessed how extensive these issues were in the Ghanaian fabric and its impact on national development.

From over 100 districts across all 16 regions where views were sampled, the studies found that the level of corruption in Ghana was perceived as “high and very high” with more than half of respondents identifying bribery as a common act of corruption while embezzlement and fraud were seen as common phenomena.

They alluded to the fact that the insatiable desire to get rich quickly, greed, selfishness and the satisfaction of a dire need were among reasons why one got into the act of corruption.

Also, both studies established that one’s institution of work exposed or influenced them to engage in corrupt acts, with state agencies which provide essential services cited as most susceptible.

Regrettably, the report established a seeming knowledge gap on how citizens could take advantage or apply such pieces of legislation and privileges to help stem corruption. In cases where people have dared to call out perpetrators of corruption, it means, they have put their lives on the line.

“To minimize corruption in the country, respondents’ knowledge on where to report cases of corruption was a little lower at end-line (63.7%) compared to the baseline study (64.7%). The police station was the first port of call cited by respondents to report cases of corruption but respondents who indicated that whistle-blowers are not protected were slightly higher than those who said otherwise,” the survey said.

“There was a marginal increase of 3.7% between baseline (34.6%) and end-line (38.3%) surveys that the identities of whistleblowers will not be protected. The general low proportion by study period was attributed to the fact that informants are often exposed as well as the lack of adequate security for informants,” the report revealed.

These findings are instructive if Ghanaians to accelerate its efforts at achieving Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Targets five and six of the goal, rallies countries to substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all forms,  while developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels by 2030.

“The onus of the changes required to reduce corruption must not be placed on the Presidency and political appointees alone. The institutions of state and their leadership ought to take responsibility. We must demand change from the structures already put in place to deliver,” the GACC had strongly recommended in its report.

“While we do expect the President and the Executive to act, let’s also begin to point fingers at the institutions that are failing us by either being corrupt themselves or failing to live up to their anti-corruption mandate,” the anti-graft Coalition advised.

Luckily, the NCCE, in the last four years under ARAP, has demonstrated that it was highly committed to delivering on its mandate to the latter if well-resourced and strategically positioned, to advance Ghana’s socio-economic growth.

An assessment of the Commission’s activities in the review period revealed that through its advocacy initiatives on anti-corruption in operating districts under the programme, “there have been changes in citizen’s perceptions and knowledge on the indicators.”

On its education campaign on anti-corruption and public accountability, close to 60.0% of respondents reported to have ever heard or seen one form of advertisement or poster on corruption and public accountability since 2018.

Messages like ‘Say No to corruption’ was found to have been well disseminated through various media outlets by NCCE.

“Whereas the most commonly (65.7%) seen poster among respondents was “Report corrupt practices to us: EOCO, CHRAJ, Police etc.’, the least (61.3%) seen was ‘Thank you is enough’ among respondents.”

Undoubtedly, real development cannot take place if as a country we don’t take concrete steps to minimise corruption incidences which is why we must deliberately ensure that institutions like the NCCE are increasingly resourced to continue on this tangent.

The fight against corruption anywhere demands a multi-faceted approach and if we are able to build a well-informed society, we may just be taking one step forward towards stemming this menace and hopefully have more citizens join in the fight.

I would like to associate with a quote by one of the world’s celebrated Neuroscientists and international bestselling author, Abhijit Naskar, that “A nation with a thousand awakened citizens and a corrupt leader is much more alive than a nation with an awakened leader and a thousand corrupt citizens.”

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH                                           

Written by Joyceline Natally Cudjoe

An Entertainment Columnist, Content Writer, Blogger, Novelist, Poet, and a Publicist. For business or story tip off, contact me on +233 24 646 6866 or email: spotonnews.net@gmail.com