Corruption
Corruption

The Metogu project is a systematic and on-going appraisal research report of the 2016 manifesto promises of the NPP government on corruption, implemented by Penplusbytes with support from the UK-AID ” Strengthening Action Against Corruption” (STAAC) Programme.

The report, launched on Wednesday 20th June, 2018, at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra, is a combination of a survey and Focus Group Discussions (FGD), which sought views on corruption related issues in the “Change Agenda for Jobs” Manifesto of the NPP.

Apart from the survey and FGD methods used in the data collection, an evaluation framework was developed to assess the extent to which NPP has been able to deliver on its promises as contained in its 2016 Manifesto. The project highlights the anti-corruption promises in the manifesto, maps those the government has achieved and identifies areas that are at variance with the promises and proffers recommendations on the way forward.

The analysis is focused on seven themes:
1. General Corruption Issues;
2. The Creation of the OSP (OSP);
3. The passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill;
4. Reforms of the Public Procurement Act and Value for Money;
5. Beneficial Ownership Title;
6. The passage of the Public Officers’ Code of Conduct Bill and the Assets Declaration Regime; and,
7. The National Health Insurance Scheme and the School Feeding Programme.

According to the report, an assessment of the perception of corruption in Ghana shows that, the perception remains very high within the first 16 months of the NPP government. 9 out of 10 respondents sampled believed that corruption is very high in Ghana.

82% of respondents sampled in four regions in Ghana think that most Ghanaians are corrupt, believe that one has to pay facilitation and illegal fees before accessing public services and say they do not see giving gifts to public officials as bribery.

The respondents also felt that, corruption was more pervasive in the public sector than in the private sector. It is however, worthy to note that 74.1% of the respondents are
encouraged by government’s determination to fight the scourge of corruption.

The also said, “a scrutiny of the implementation of the manifesto promise of the government with regard to the creation of the OSP to fight corruption showed that in 7 out of 10 respondents supported this action. This mirrors the successful passing of the OSP Act that created the OSP, shows a belief that the Special Prosecutor can effectively deal with corruption cases and a general acceptance of Martin Amidu as the first Special Prosecutor to lead the fight against corruption.”

However, it said 3 out of 10 respondents think there is bound to be political interference in the work of the Special Prosecutor. Besides, another 3 out of 10 respondents also believed that government could starve the office of Special Prosecutor of resources and make it redundant given the euphoria that greeted the creation of two similar offices EOCO and CHRAJ in the past, who suffered a similar fate.

For the passage of the Right to Information Bill according to the report, 8 out of 10 respondents (79.6%) think the bill if passed will help majority in the fight against corruption. This was based on the fact that the law will help in the disclosure and access to information from duty bearers.

“However, a significant number of the respondents doubt that the Bill will be passed into a law by the end of 2018. Indeed, the Bill was recently withdrawn from Parliament and had to be re-laid a few months later, thus, confirming the fear of most skeptics that the Bill will never be passed into law in Ghana,” the report said.

Furthermore, with regards to the Public Procurement Act and Value for Money audits, the study showed that 56.8% of the respondents felt that competitive bidding through the PPA guidelines would ensure value for money in the procurement process. However, 46.5% of the respondents believed that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has not used competitive bidding in the award of most of its contracts since assuming power.

Secondly, 4 out of 10 respondents thought the Auditor General is not adequately resourced to undertake periodic value for money audits, although value for money audits always help to identify potential
corrupt acts.

Again, the report said up to 6 out of 10 respondents opined that collaboration between the OSP, Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Audit Service will help in the fight against corruption.

An assessment of the promises with regards to the operationalization of the Beneficial Ownership Title (BOT) as a tool to help fight corruption revealed that, 6 out of 10 respondents thought either government is not committed or not sure if government can adopt such a tool in the fight against corruption.

Further, the amendment of the Regulations of the Company’s Code is yet to be laid before parliament even though the government has passed several Acts in parliament since assuming power.

“The promise to enact, popularize and enforce a Code of Conduct Bill for public officials to declare their assets received a low level of trust from the respondents. In fact, two-thirds of the respondents did not trust government to enact such a law before 2018 ends in spite of the fact that, acts of corruption occur on a daily basis in the public sector. However, 6 out 10 respondents believed that the President will not sanction his appointees who failed to declare their assets,” the report emphasized.

On the election of MMDCEs, the report indicated that, respondents believed the government cannot fulfill this promise within the four year mandate. This comes against the backdrop of the information put out in the public domain by the sector minister that this can only be done in 2021. The promise to restructure the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has also received a low level of trust.

“With up to 52.3% of the respondents saying they thought government cannot restructure the scheme because it has not initiated any measure to revamp the NHIS apart from paying part of the debt owed by the Scheme.

About 85.6% of the respondents believed that, there is lack of transparency in the award of contracts for catering services for the School Feeding Programme. This, they believed has resulted in a lot of corruption cases. A controversial case in point was the “fight” between the NPP Northern Regional Minister and the Minister for Gender and Social Protection over contracts for the School Feeding Programme.”

Other issues of corruption were raised and sampled in the study and it was established that, a majority of Ghanaians believe that corruption will be never ending, as the promise to initiate a process to amend the Criminal Offences Act which will make corruption a felony instead of a misdemeanor has not been done.

Also, the laws establishing the development authorities have no strong anti-corruption framework leaving the President of the Republic with sweeping powers to appoint the Boards, Chief Executive Officers and all the employees of the development authorities.

METOGU Final Report

The social accountability system whereby citizens have the voice and power to ask questions when the need arises is also missing from the Acts.

One of the key recommendations the report outlined is that, at the policy making level, the way the politicians craft their Manifesto should have some educational value in terms of ensuring that the manifestos serve as a comprehensive summary of the political party policy and ideological positions to guide voters, who may work out for themselves, which party comes closest to their ideal policy package and serve their needs and interest. At the same time also provide the mass media with input for their reporting on the party’s policy positions.

In conclusion, the report said, “the government was seen to have honoured some of its promises, particularly the creation of the OSP but to have slugged its delivery on the many other promises it has made.”

Metogu is a Guan word from the Volta Region which means “Keeping the Pressure on.” And as a project, they seek to create awareness among citizens on government interventions to fight corruption and create pathways for citizens to demand accountability from government to deliver on their promises.

By:Sammy Adjei/Newsghana.com.gh

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.