Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh
Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh

Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh, the Executive Director, Centre for Democratic Development, said the growing normalisation and acceptance of ‘protocol’ list in the system forms part of corruption, affecting the string of development in the country.

“Protocol has become a small backdoor inception to the rule of law and is beginning to emerge increasingly in society, where the allocation of scarce public resources be it jobs or contracts is done without regard to transparent, competitive and democratic processes”, he asserted.

Prof Prempeh said this on Tuesday at a stakeholders’ forum on the theme: “Civil Society and the Fight Against Corruption: Emerging Lessons and Good Practices”, in Accra.

The event was organised by Star Ghana Foundation in collaboration with Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme, Strengthening Action Against Corruption, Ghana, and the European Union.

He said despite the empowerment of the Auditor General Department, the establishment of the Special Prosecutor Office and other Anti-Corruption institutions, there was still more effort to be done in the fight against corrupt practices.

The Professor noted that the country had be engulfed in corrupt activities in most institutions and organisations, stressing that there was the need for all hands to on deck to address the menace and pave way for other developmental projects.

Touching on the country’s successes in fighting corruption, Prof Prempeh said the increasing collaboration among Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) had contributed immensely to the fight against corruption.

“The issue of corruption has become a national agenda and a campaign issue for politicians, a situation that has led to the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to fight corruption”, he added.

He said the practice of investigative Journalisms had also contributed to the fight against corruption, where individuals caught in corrupt practices were arrested, gone through trials and jailed to serve as deterrent to others.

On lessons to be learnt, Professor Prempeh, admonished civil society to go beyond talking to each other, to a more systematic process by devising innovative ways to ignite public opinion and ensure public participation in the fight against corruption.

He called for regular collaboration with CSOs and the media and make effective and strategic use of social media to strengthen the advocacy campaign in the fight against corruption.

He urged CSOs to broaden the anti-corruption work and to deepen educational campaign to create public awareness on their programmes for public confidence and participation.

Professor Prempeh encouraged all and sundry help in the fight against discretional powers given to authorities, which in a way contributed to abuse of power, leading to corrupt practices, calling for strict enforcement of the country’s law without fear or favour.

Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, the Governing Council Chair, Star Ghana Foundation, said the Foundation in October, 2017, launched an Anti-Corruption call to enhance the effectiveness of citizens’ actions against corruption through the provision of grants and technical support and brokering of relationships between stakeholders.

She said the programme was to identify strategies and possible action points for enhancing the collaboration among stakeholders for sustainable actions against corruption.

Some of the participants said corruption started from the mind-set, and that the country must change the mentality and behaviour to fight the issue of corruption, since there were over 20 related anti-corruption policies.

They called for the need to educate the public that corruption was a big threat to sustainable development, and the need for value re-orientation to change the perception about people’s position and the wealth it must correspond to.

“The public have come to support the notion that, if you are a public figure, then you must live in a certain wealthy lifestyle irrespective of the person’s ability to afford that luxury life or not”, they added.

Mr. Anthony K. Ameka, a Representative of the Ghana Chamber of Pharmacy, strategic partners for Ant-Corruption organisation said their outfit had established the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain watch which sought to push the National review of procurements of pharmaceuticals, the registration of re-registration of products with the Food and Drugs Authority.

He mentioned lack of information, where some pharmaceutical companies were unwilling to divulge information to aid their survey and low participation by parliament in their activities as some of challenges militating their operations.

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