President Nana Akufo-Addo has bemoaned the level of corruption in the country, which he said has stalled the development of the economy.
“Fellow Ghanaians, corruption, or, more specifically, the stealing of public funds, continues to hold back the development of our nation,” President Akufo-Addo said in a speech to mark the 61st Independence Day celebration at the Independence Square on Tuesday, 6 March 2018.
According to him, the recent disallowance of the payment of "fictitious" GHS5.4 billion by the Auditor-General was commendable since that amount can give a boost to the Free SHS programme.
Mr Akufo-Addo explained that “corruption is not a partisan matter and we must all act to protect the public purse”.
He continued: “With the office of the Special Prosecutor now in place, we can expect more prosecutions for corruption in the coming months, and public officials, present and past, should be on notice that they would be held accountable for their actions.
“There is, however, one piece of the anti-corruption framework that is yet to be put in place; the Right to Information Act. It would increase transparency and add another critical weapon to the armoury in the fight against corruption. After many years of hesitation, we intend to bring a bill again to Parliament and work to get it passed into law before Parliament rises.
“The protection of the public purse is a social common good, and it depends on all of us. It is in all our interest that corruption does not thrive, and we police each other’s behaviour. Going beyond aid means Ghanaians should not serve as fronts for foreign companies to defraud our country. It will mean we all pay our taxes, and it will mean we all help to take care of government property as though it were our own.
Ghana was recently ranked 81st most corrupt out of 180 countries in the 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) compiled by Transparency International.
The CPI scores and ranks countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption.
The 2017 CPI scored Ghana 40 out of a possible clean score of 100 which is the lowest in the history of the country’s score since the inception of the CPI in 2012.
According to the Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Linda Ofori Karfo, Ghana’s score dropped due to the non-prosecution of alleged corruption cases as well as the country’s slow pace towards eradicating the canker.