CSOs Meeting with His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

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The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and allied National Civil Society groups working on governance issues have urged Government to continue to invest substantively in its positive interventions and intensify its implementation.

They further changed Government to also demonstrate that there is a personal price to pay for corruption by speeding up the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases as well as asset recovery of proceeds of corruption.

“However, we would have to be more radical in our efforts to achieve results in a short term if Ghana is to deliver a big blow against corruption,” they emphasized.

A note signed on behalf of the group by
Nana Osei-Bonsu, Chairman of Ghana Anti-Corruption Corruption (GACC), and copied to News Ghana, strongly disclosed that, “As demonstrated by the 2019 Afrobarometer Corruption survey results, public approval ratings of government’s efforts at fighting corruption have waned. Therefore, Mr. President, you and your appointees must prioritise measures that will contribute to a restoration of public confidence in the commitment and dedication of you and your team’s effort to fight corruption. One way to demonstrate this is to lead by example and refrain from profligacy while applying sanctions to appointees who fall foul of the law and codes of conduct.”

Find the original note below;

Speaking Notes –
CSOs Meeting with His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Mr. President, the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and allied National Civil Society groups working on governance issues wish to thank you for once more granting us audience to discuss issues of deep interest to our groups, the government, and the citizens of Ghana. We also take the opportunity to formally congratulate you, Mr. President, on your assumption of the high office of the President of the Republic of Ghana for the second time.

We appreciate your demonstrated commitment and openness to engage with CSOs on key issues of national concern, those that relate to anti-corruption and decentralization. Your Excellency, there is no doubt that government acknowledges the need to address corruption. However, we would like to reiterate concerns about the creeping normalization of corruption among the populace and the threat it poses to our development aspirations to move Ghana Beyond Aid to an economically independent, confident, peaceful, and prosperous nation.

1) Recent happenings raise concern that government is not providing the public with a clear pathway for dealing with corruption. We are afraid that we are falling back into the cyclical problem that existed before the adoption of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP- 2015-2024) in 2014 by Parliament as the country’s long-term strategy to combat corruption.

2) The state of our corruption fight can best be told through indices on anti-corruption and transparency. The picture that these indices paint is one of stagnation, especially for the last 10 years. For example, the Transparency International (TI) 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) shows that between 2012 and 2020, Ghana has never attained a score of 50, which will represent at least a pass mark. Worse still, our record over the ten years demonstrates a failure to sustain gains made in certain years.

Figure 1: Ghana’s score in Perception of Corruption from 2012 to 2020

Figure 1: Ghana’s score in Perception of Corruption from 2012 to 2020
Figure 1: Ghana’s score in Perception of Corruption from 2012 to 2020

3) The Afrobarometer’s 2019 corruption survey results showed that more than half of Ghanaians said the level of corruption in the country had increased and the government was doing a poor job in fighting it. According to the study, approval ratings for the government’s anti-corruption efforts have declined sharply since 2017 after more than doubling in the previous three years. The increased confidence in 2017 reflected the optimism of the public that Mr President, your government will usher in a new era of public integrity and value for money in public expenditure.

4) The Auditor General’s reports show consistent mismanagement and abuse of public funds over the years. The reports show that six different types of financial irregularities (cash irregularities, payroll irregularities, procurement irregularities, tax irregularities, stores irregularities and contract irregularities) continue to plague the nation’s finances. For example, the Report of the Auditor General on the Public Accounts of Ghana – Public Boards, Corporations and Other Statutory Institutions for the year ended 31st December 2019 shows that the six forms of irregularities listed above cost the country up to GH¢608,670,447.

There is a more worrying picture in the subsequent report of the Auditor General, which is the “Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana-Public Boards, Corporations and Other Statutory Institutions for the Year Ended 31 December 2020.” According to the Auditor-General, the total irregularities stood at GH¢12,856,172,626, higher than the figures recorded for 2019.

5) Mr. President, many Ghanaians are also worried about signals from persons in authority. Recent happenings around the Sputnik V vaccine purchase suggests some degree of insensitivity of officials towards public concerns raised on the matter. The Sputnik V case also highlights the need to institutionalise a value system that prompts a person whose conduct in public office comes into disrepute to resign or recuse themselves from further administration of the office they occupy.

6) Mr. President, we recently expressed some misgivings on the recent Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC)/AKER Energy $1.1bn that has already received the green light from Parliament to proceed. Our underlying interest in this conversation is to help government fashion out a strategy that achieves government’s objective at the most value for money. Mr. President, we are not in any way opposed to increasing government’s stakes in natural resource ownership. It is our considered opinion that a pause to reflect and engage with citizens and other industry experts will shape your vision for the oil sector.

7) Mr. President the recent happenings leading to the change in the Auditor General has also not provided any good optics for our nation’s fight against corruption and we are afraid this may further affect Ghana’s performance under the corruption perception indexes going forward. Regrettably, the current Auditor General has acted in this position for more than a year. Mr. President, the Auditor General’s position should not be an acting position.

8) Mr. President, on the 3rd of July 2018, when your government saw to the laying of the Conduct of Public Officer’s Bill in Parliament, we were hopeful that the Legislature will complete work on it and have it passed, just as they supported your government’s effort in passing other anti-corruption legislations such as the OSP, Witness Protection and RTI Acts. Unfortunately, it took well over two years to even have the Committee’s Report presented to the House for the Second Reading, leading to the Bill being taken over by the events leading to the 2020 elections and the dissolution of that Parliament. We will appreciate an update on when your government plans to re-lay the Bill in Parliament to demonstrate again, your commitment to that important piece of legislation.

9) Mr. President, concerns have also been raised in various quarters about limitations of the 1992 Constitution, which informed the review process initiated under the administration of the late Prof. Mills. Mr. President, the work of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) failed to reach its logical conclusion. The substantial resource investment in the constitutional review process requires a re-look at the outstanding issues and the review process so far. We will therefore appreciate updates on measures taken by your administration in that respect.

10) Mr. President we wish to commend you for your bold decision, during your first term of office, to undertake strategic local government reforms involving the election of MMDCEs, the legalization and extension of multiparty elections to the local Assemblies and the Chief Executives’ offices, and the devolution of more power and resources to the Regions, the Districts, and the communities in the country. Implementation of these flagship proposals required the joint amendment of Articles 55(3) and 243(1) and it was your set goal was to get that successfully done by the end of your first term of office. Regrettably, that did not happen. On 1st December 2019 you cancelled the national referendum on the amendment of Article 55(3) that was scheduled for 17th December 2019. Thereafter, the Bills for amending the two Articles were withdrawn from Parliament, effectively aborting one of the major initiatives on the amendment of the 1992 Constitution.

11) Mr. President you promised to reset and, hopefully, deliver your strategic local government reforms agenda more successfully should you and your party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) be re-elected to serve a second term of office. Now that the Ghanaian electorate have granted your wish for a second term of office, what steps are you takin to assure the people of Ghana that you will certainly deliver the strategic local government reforms you initiated, by 6th January 2024 when you end your term as the Fifth President of the Fourth Republic? In what ways can CSOs be of help to you in this endeavor?

12) Conclusion
Mr. President, to conclude, we urge Government to continue to invest substantively in its positive interventions and intensify its implementation. Government must also demonstrate that there is a personal price to pay for corruption by speeding up the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases as well as asset recovery of proceeds of corruption. However, we would have to be more radical in our efforts to achieve results in a short term if Ghana is to deliver a big blow against corruption.

As demonstrated by the 2019 Afrobarometer Corruption survey results, public approval ratings of government’s efforts at fighting corruption have waned. Therefore, Mr. President, you and your appointees must prioritise measures that will contribute to a restoration of public confidence in the commitment and dedication of you and your team’s effort to fight corruption. One way to demonstrate this is to lead by example and refrain from profligacy while applying sanctions to appointees who fall foul of the law and codes of conduct.

Signed on Behalf of the Group by:
Nana Osei-Bonsu
Chairman – Ghana Anti-Corruption Corruption (GACC)
18th August 2021



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