Organised crime is threat to Ghana’s security — GACC 

By Isaac Arkoh, GNA 

Assin Fosu (C/R), March 31, GNA – The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) says the country’s democratic progress and long-term stability could be undermined if the increasing phenomenon of organised crime is not checked. 

It said although the country had taken commendable legal steps to stamp-out crimes, such as money laundering, drug peddling and illegal mining, more needed to be done to achieve the desired impact. 

Consequently, it is pushing for changes in the Political Parties’ Act, 2000 (Act 574) to make actors more accountable to maintain the democratic credentials. 

Mrs Beauty Emefa Narteh, the Executive Secretary of GACC, disclosed this at a sensitisation workshop on organised crimes at Assin Fosu. 

The workshop was to educate the public to appreciate the need to join in the fight against organised crimes, most importantly in the lead-up to the 2024 elections. 

It was arranged by the GACC in collaboration with the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) and supported by the Foreign commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). 

Mrs Narteh said safeguarding Ghana’s stability in the face of serious and organised crime ahead of the election was non-negotiable. 

That was in tandem with GACC’s vision of fighting corruption and promoting good governance by forging strong, trustworthy and effective partnership with government, businesses and civil society. 

She said often, the massive sums of monies politicians disbursed to contest political offices did not match with the audited accounts of political parties lodged at the Electoral Commission’s offices. 

If the law could not be changed to reflect the times, politicians must be made accountable by stating publicly how much they received for their political bid and how it was spent, she noted. 

“This way, the public will be convinced when politicians pledge to champion the fight against corruption when elected into office.” 

Mrs Narteh condemned the apparent unethical practice of vote buying that had taken centre stage in recent times, which refers to the act of offering gifts, money, or other incentives in return for votes during elections.  

“The promises made are attractive, but they come at a high cost to the integrity of Ghana’s democracy. Vote buying is inimical to Ghana’s democracy, as it undermines the sanctity of the election and electoral process.” 

“It discourages a free, fair and transparent election process as voters become influenced by the gift or benefits received instead of voting based on policy, ideology and competence of those seeking elected positions.” 

“The practice leads to an unequal distribution of public resources to benefit the areas where politicians have bought votes,” she said, and called for a collective responsibility to stop it. 

Mr Samuel Harrison-Cudjoe, Programmes Officer, GACC, commended the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) for declaring individuals seen on video flaunting money allegedly acquired from parliamentary candidates, wanted.  

“We hope this isn’t a wild goose chase or much ado about nothing. However, we applaud the OSP for taking this action to create the ‘fear of God’ in people who will join in future to exhibit this terrible behaviour,” he said. 

“Even if only one person is convicted for these reasons, it will serve as a deterrent. People may be encouraged to engage in it in public if there are no convictions and will not face the consequences.” 

As Ghana prepares for the upcoming 2024 General Election, it must be a collective responsibility to prevent vote buying from marring the country’s election process and maintaining Ghana’s enviable democratic credentials in the comity of nations, he added.