A presidential staffer, Mr Daniel Batidam, has urged public officials, including ministers of state and district chief executives, to lead the crusade against corruption since they are the public’s prime suspects in the act.
He said the widely held view among Ghanaians was that public officers were corrupt.
“This may be right or wrong, but perception is important,” he told various stakeholders, including municipal/district chief executives, officials from municipal/district assemblies, Ghana Revenue Authority and security agencies, at the opening of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) dialogue in Wa last Wednesday.
The dialogue, the first of its kind in the Upper West Region, was to introduce NACAP to the various stakeholders in the local governance process in the region and to provide a platform to discuss the President’s directives on the implementation of NACAP towards attaining a corruption-free society.
Mr Batidam said NACAP had become even more relevant in view of the government’s commitment to making corruption unattractive to public officials and the society at large.
“If anything has been properly decentralised in our country, it is corruption. We have lived in denial for a long time, and it is time to tackle it ruthlessly. Corruption has become more of a development problem than anything else. If we can save 50 per cent of money that leaks out of the system (through corruption), we can transform Ghana.
The issues that we have seen have been with us for long. NACAP is not another document on corruption; it is an action plan,’’he stressed.
“We are not fighting corruption because it is an election year; we have to fight corruption all-year round. Public officials must go back to their codes of conduct,” Mr Batidam said.
The Upper West Regional Minister, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani, said there was public concern about corruption and its impact on the development of the nation, and insisted that “whether a perception or reality, we need to sit up and make it unattractive.
The negative effects of corruption have long been recognised, and several nations are tackling this menace with all the seriousness it deserves, and we are no exception.’’
The one-day forum was led by the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), whose acting Commissioner, Mr Richard Quayson, said “we have by our actions or inaction allowed corruption to take over our lives.”
Corruption, according to him, had become a major operation for many Ghanaians, and added that NACAP was advocating measures to combat the lamentable practice.