General News of 2013-12-26

Kufuor defends his anti-corruption legacy

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor says the fight against corruption cannot remain at the personal level alone but should also be carried to perpetrators at the institutional level.

It should also be fought with truth, not lies, because the word “corruption” is about the most abused word in Ghana today as everyone hurls the accusation at the least opportunity while giving it twisted interpretations sometimes backed by wild claims.

He was responding to questions on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme on Tuesday, and told host, Captain Smart that for all the measures his administration took to fight corruption, there is no justification in accusations that his government did nothing to fight corruption.

Among other measures, he said the introduction of the Public Procurement Law, the Financial Administration Law and the establishment of the Internal Audit Authority all point to the lengths his government went to combat corruption.

For instance, he said, the Public Procurement Law was introduced to fight big corrupt practices which occur in public procurement while the Internal Audit Authority was established to help track day-to-day expenditures in the ministries and departments ahead of annual audits by external auditors.

Beyond the measures, he said enforcement was key to serve as a deterrent, and while not all cases of actions taken against offenders became public knowledge, his government really did a lot in combating corruption.

He repudiated claims that he and his family monopolised corruption while in government, saying such wild claims rather belie those who make the claims.

President Kufuor said his comment that “corruption is as old as Adam” had been taken out of context and given a contrary meaning to the admonishing he had given his ministers to lookout for people who might tempt them to be corrupt.

On that occasion, he said he had admonished his ministers in a first meeting during his administration that power (political) came with many corrupting appeals including the offer of beautiful lasses and wanted them to be aware when such temptations come their way.

That, together with his counsel to them that on such occasions, they needed to pinch themselves to be reminded of their duty to serve diligently, have all been taken to mean he failed to fight corruption.

But borrowing from the American idiom ‘every man has his price’, President Kufuor said man is fallible while ageing brings decay and so beyond the measures, self-discipline was also key for any individual to overcome the temptation; hence he impressed these convictions upon his appointees. That is the essence of his claim that corruption is as old as Adam and not because he failed to fight it, he stressed.