The Executive Secretary of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), has revealed that data from a recent research conducted by her outfit, regarding public perception and knowledge of corruption, do not speak well of the ongoing fight against the canker.
Beauty Emefa Nartey says more needs to be done to prevent the seeming perception of corruption as a normal phenomenon in the country.
She explained that most citizens are beginning to view corruption as an entitlement that must be afforded them when the opportunity presents itself.
“‘It is good’, but when I’m not gaining from it ‘it is bad’. And that is why issues of conflict of interest were not seen as corrupt behaviour when we did our study. Issues of nepotism have been accepted by Ghanaians as opportunities.
“So if you have a Minister in power and I can get him to circumvent the due process to my advantage, then it is good. But all these actually lead us to corruption,” she said.
She added that, “once we don’t see anything wrong with conflict of interest, once we don’t see anything wrong with nepotism, once we don’t see anything wrong with issues that should draw our attention as citizens on corruption, then it means that we are normalizing it and accepting it as normal behaviour.”
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile Saturday, August 21, Beauty Nartey further added that another contributing factor to the rapidly eroding fight against corruption is the citizens’ lack of trust in the institutions meant to fight corruption.
According to her, so many well-meaning Ghanaians have been failed by these institutions in one way or the other after reporting an incident of corruption; thus the media has become their only means to ensure the right things are done.
“So for instance, one of the closest institutions that citizens will report to will be the Police. But when people go to the Police station, from the data we have gathered, they are not even told or they’re not even given the option that they can report as a whistleblower because in reporting a complaint you have to report under the whistleblowing or report as a normal complaint. So they end up reporting as a normal complaint.
“It’s also because even the people who are also receiving the complaints do not even understand or do not have the appreciation of who a whistleblower is. Secondly, people told us that when they report, there is a compromise so they’re rather reported to the people that they reported and their cover is blown,” she explained.
She stated that more needs to be done to get Ghanaians to appreciate the effects of corruption on the populace, in order to thwart corruption.
“If citizens do not see it, there is nothing we will do that will let them appreciate that corruption is a collective fight and each person has to play a role in it.”
She further called for more government dedication to the fight against corruption.
According to her, the rhetoric does not fight corruption, action does. Thus, the government must show action in the corruption fight by prosecuting people who are caught in the act.
“They should demonstrate action to say that when I talk about zero tolerance to corruption, this is exactly what I mean.”
She further advised against the government’s justification of the actions of government officials in corrupt deals, particularly citing the case of the Health Minister.
“Let me just use the current issue of the Health Minister where the defence has been that because he has not personally benefitted from the transaction, he’s not corrupt. But clearly, the breaches have been documented” she said.
Beauty Nartey stated that ,”should such behaviour be justified by the government, it also provides justification for citizens to say this is done or accepted behaviour in this particular context then, I could also justify my actions in a particular context.
“So all I am saying is that we should not justify corruption in any way, once rules are breached, we have to apply the sanctions.”