Research findings conducted by Penplusbytes aimed at encouraging the citizenry to be alive to their civic responsibilities have expressed grave dissatisfaction with the fight against corruption.
Launched by the Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Richard Quayson, in Accra last week, the research survey was carried out in four regions and the verdict was overwhelming; many have the perception that corruption is unduly high.
Giving their experiences, the majority of respondents’ claim they have to pay illegal fees before they can access public service – and that is a sad reflection of the state of affairs in the country today. Gone are the days when accepting gifts was considered unethical in the performance of public duties.
Today, our morals have fallen so low that we seem to have monetised almost all aspects of our public life. This is evidenced by the recent ‘expose’ by the controversial investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, whose exploits have revealed the dark side of our public life – leaving the public shocked at the level of decadence in public life.
Hence, it is not too surprising that Ghanaians still believe corruption in on the ascendency. However, it is pertinent to observe that over 56 percent of respondents believe that instituting the Office of the Special Prosecutor will curb corruption.
Therefore, it is a feather in the cap of the ruling government to institute an independent Special Prosecutor to tackle corruption in public life. It is the hope of the majority of Ghanaians that his office is equipped with the tools and personnel to fulfil the mandate of prosecuting corrupt public officers who misconduct themselves in office, or while performing public duties.
Richard Quayson, in launching the report, noted that although state anti-corruption agencies are in place and are working, not much has been achieved in stemming the tide. Corruption-perception surveys are often held in the country and the findings tend to be similar.
Does it mean our fight against corruption is not yielding results, or are we just scratching the surface? Either way, we need to put in measures that reduce corruption to the barest minimum if we are to enjoy the national cake equally.
In saying this, however, we believe asset declaration should be mandatory so that the public can assess whether public officers are abusing their office or not. We also commend the president for taking action on any perceived corrupt act in government.