Justifying Corruption In Government Offices?

Tue, 17 May 2011 Source: Quaye, Stephen A.

From: Stephen A. Quaye, Toronto-Canada.

Has president John Atta Mills accomplished his mission of making the country corrupt Free State since he assumed office as the national head of state of Ghana?

No but we have to find out where he has reached as far as the issue of dealing with corruption in the country is concern.

Just because it was a big campaign issue he picked and dwell on during the 2008 general elections and after he has managed to defeat the New Patriotic Party [NPP] and sworn in as the president swore over fire to deal with the issue of corruption in the country.

On all campaign platforms he was heard loud and clear promising the electorates,” president Kufuor and his ministers in NPP government have failed to tackle the issue or problem of corruption as they promised to do, when I become the next president I will not cut it since it will resurface but rather uproot it totally from the system” then he receives cheers for saying that promise from electorates at the campaign grounds.

Then he became the president from 2009 only to face the first corruption case where Muntaka Mohamed was alleged to have siphoned money from state coffers to sponsor his girlfriend on national assignment. When some senior journalists were given the opportunity to ask him about that he only asked them for evidence.

Corruption case after corruption case started to come up as the very good journalists in the country kept on exposing them through their underground investigations.

After the super stories from powerful investigations conducted by the ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas which exposed officials of Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Osu Children’s Home and Tema CEPS, one could have thought that the government of president Mills will set up high powered men to uproot corruption from the system as he has promised.

However, one can confidently say that instead of uprooting the chopped of corruption trees that were in the system by former president J.A.Kufuor where the incumbent president promised to uproot the stumps, the over growing weed of corruption are now turning into trees of corruption with the worse part of it being in government offices.

It is very shocking to note that not even the kind of exposure the ace journalist gave to the sate of corruption in government institutions is scaring some officials from collecting bribes from innocent people and the worse part of it all again is that they have the gut to justify the wrong collection of money in these offices.

Having showed the public how custom officers at Elubo boarder, Tema Harbour and other places collected bribes in open before executing their duties as they have been employed and pay to do; now officials have tagged the criminal act as “Anas” where one demanding bribe will say “wawie a fame Anas mamie?”

It hurts when one after battling with life in a foreign destination only return to his mother country where he reports at government office to follow procedure in getting something done will be forced to bribe an official before the exercise is executed.

Attempt to clear your goods at the Tema harbour where after paying say 1,000 GH Cedis could be issued with a receipt of 900 GH Cedis and when questioned about the 100 would be told “Aha die saa nayeye noo”.

Go to lands to register a piece of land and you would be asked to pay 200 GH Cedis after which a receipt of 100 GH Cedis would be issued to you and again you questioned about the 100 GH Cedis and you would be told “Aha die saa na yeyenoo”.

You would be compelled to give these officers the ‘Anas” or pay the ‘saa na yeyenoo” money because the delay tactics or hide and seek game these officers will play with you before approving your documents should you fail to pay, will cost you more money than paying these bribes though it is wrong and must be discarded.

What is very unfortunate is that most of these officers and men as well as officials in these government offices either had their higher education and lived in Europe or the Americas where there is zero tolerance for corruption before taking up the job and as a matter of fact were expected to emulate that example in the country to help check corruption.

But no, they are rather the ones who are spearheading the collection of “Fame Anas mamie” or “Aha die saa na yeyenoo” bribe money to the detriment of innocent members of society.

Corruption has eaten deep into the texture of Ghanaian society to the extent that even a small child who knows that a commodity is selling at 1 GH Cedis will tell a lie to his parent that it is selling at 5 GH cedis in order to dupe his parents a sum of 4 GH Cedis.

All along, one was expecting that the government will set up a high powered committee at national level which will have it branches at the regional and district levels that will help check corrupt practices by receiving and investigating complaints where if culprits are found guilty would be punished to serve as deterrent to others.

However is not too late to prick the president to draw his attention to the increasing rate of corruption in the system and the need to fight it head on.


Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.