We must trust State institutions to fight corruption – Chief of Staff

By Edward Acquah

Accra, Jan. 30, GNA – Ms Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, the Chief of Staff, has rallied the citizenry and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to trust State institutions to deliver on their mandate of investigating and prosecuting corruption and corruption-related offences.

She said the country must be united in the corruption fight, adding that “unfounded allegations” of corruption undermined the fight against the phenomenon.

The Chief of Staff made the call at a meeting convened by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) in Accra on Tuesday, which discussed the 2023 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by the Transparency International.

Ms Osei-Opare said since 2017, all corruption allegations that had been levelled against some members of the Government had been promptly investigated by the mandated State institutions and the outcomes were made public.

She said there was no basis for CSOs and other persons to continuously perceive persons who had been exonerated by State institutions as having engaged in a corrupt activity or wrongdoing.

“Unfounded allegation of corruption and perception of wrongdoing hardly aid the fight against corruption. When corruption allegations have been investigated and findings made exonerated the subject of investigations, there is no basis for continuous suspicion of wrongdoing by civil society and other persons who have access to the media.

“We must trust institutions of State established to fight against corruption,” she said.

Ms Osei-Opare said State capacity in dealing with corruption must be strengthened to meet up with what she described as the ever evolving nature of the canker.

“The struggle against corruption is ever evolving. Wrongdoers employ complex and sophisticated means to avoid detection,” she said.

The Chief of Staff said Cabinet would soon consider the Conduct of Public Officers Bill after the completion of ongoing stakeholder engagements on the Bill.

She said the Bill, when passed into law, would help to significantly control corruption in the public institutions and agencies and protect the public purse.

Ghana scored 43 out of a clean score of 100 and ranked 70th out of 180 countries and territories included in the 2023 CPI.

Ghana’s score marks the fourth consecutive year of stagnation in the country’s anti-corruption efforts. The country has maintained its score since 2020.

Mrs Mary Awelena Addah, Executive Director, GII, said Ghana, with a score of 43, ranked 8th out of 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, which were included in the index, alongside Benin (43) and Senegal (43).

She added that Ghana with a score of 43 performed better than 39 other Sub-Saharan African countries, including Burkina Faso (41), South Africa (41), Côte d’Ivoire (40), Tanzania (40), and Lesotho (39).

Mr Kissi Agyebeng, the Special Prosecutor, said the results of the 2023 CPI were “disappointing,” adding that the conversation about corruption was becoming “sterile”.

He said the absence of truth and integrity was the bedrock of corruption and called for the insulation of State institutions mandated to fight corruption against “political marginalisation”.

“May we assure that judges would adjudicate boldly without fear of reprisals?”

Hajia Fatima Abubakar, Deputy Minister of Information, called for continuous sensitisation of young people particularly those who intended to go into public service on the implications of corruption and encourage integrity in service to the State.