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General News Thu, 20 Oct 2005

Allegations of corruption, not mere perception

Anti Corruption experts have said in the wake of Ghana?s declining scores in the Corruption Perception index (CPI) that President Kufuor?s attitude towards combating corruption is like being ?pennywise and pound foolish?.

? Sincerely speaking, your president?s attitude towards combating corruption is like being pennywise and pound foolish where plenty money is wasted on unproductive things whilst the government remains mean in releasing even small money for anti-corruption work and institutional strengthening.

When it comes to anti-corruption, they always say they don?t have money, they always say they don?t have money, they always look at the donors as it is their job to fight corruption, the expert said.

According to the experts, instead of accepting the reality and dealing with the heightening corruption tide flowing through his government, the President is playing semantics with the fight against corruption.

Meanwhile, President Kufuor is on record to have said that the CPI report and other corruption related reports about his government are just ?mere perception?, which does not reflect the reality.

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He also said during his last press conference that allegations of corruption against his government reside only in the bosom of those who make them, reiterating that they do not reflect the reality.

But the deputy leader in charge of democracy and governance at the United Aid Ghana (USAID) said at the launch of this year?s CPI report that such reports cannot be perceptions because the perceptions may arise because respondents interviewed for the report might have participated in corruption, saw corruption occur and received corrupt proposals.

The Executive Secretary of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), a local branch of Transparency International (TI), Daniel Batidam says the President?s statements were very unfortunate.

? This is an unfortunate comment coming from the President. Perception is a reflection of what exists. This is a demonstration of lack of political will on his part to confront the issue,? he said.

Asked whether the GI feels disarmed by such presidential exclamations, Mr Batidam said, ? we don?t feel disarmed at all we feel rather challenged and empowered to do what we are doing.?

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The experts hold the view that nothing positive will come from the debt relief that has been announced by the G8, which is expected to give much room for government to channel much resource into reducing poverty.

The experts feared that such funds when released to government would end up in the pockets of government officials and their cronies.

Judging by the report the experts say unless concrete measures are taken against corruption, the nation will fail to impress its multilateral and bilateral donors who expect much from the debt cancellation to take off next year.

The CPI results released by TI through GII ranked Ghana 65th out of 156 countries surveyed. Ghana scored 3.5 out of a total clean score of 10 representing a 0.1-drop from the 3.6-recorded last year.

The 3.5 is the same score recorded in 2000, which enforced the numerous allegations of corruption against the then NDC government and helped to vote them from power.

Source: The Enquirer.
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