The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, the Right Rev. Professor Emmanuel Martey, has urged religious leaders in the country to publicly speak against corruption to help curb the worrying situation.
He implored the citizenry to eschew tagging those who would gather the courage to speak against it as politicians or controversial.
“When this is done, it is not that the religious leaders have turned politicians or controversial. It is only in a corrupt society where the truth becomes controversial”, he said on Sunday at an open forum on the theme “Combating corruption-the way out”, at the Faith Congregation of the Presbyterian Church at Madina Estates, in Accra.
He said corruption had become endemic hampering the growth and peace of the society, adding that attempts to curb it, had yielded no positive results.
According to him, independent constitutional bodies set up to combat corruption and be responsible for investigating issues of corruption.
He said corruption in Ghana thrived on weak systems of oversight and accountability as a result of power concentration in the Executive branch of government.
The Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEC), Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, called for accountability at the local governance level where those in the various assemblies should be accountable to their communities.
He said for that to materialise, there was the need for the country to adopt the election of Chief Executives by the people to head the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA’s) so that they would be accountable to the people who have elected them to office.
He made an inference to Benin, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa where local government Mayors and councilors were directly elected from different parties, adding that in those councillors, there were evidence of increment in public accountability.
The Executive Secretary of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo, urged public and religious organisations to make commitment to fight corruption.
She also urged government to strengthen anti-corruption institutions and allow them to work without interference. She said though Ghana had a lot of anti-corruption institutions mandated by the constitution to deal with issues of corruption, past and current governments set up commissions of enquiries when the need for investigations arose, due lack of resources.
Mrs. Ofori-Kwafo asked Ghana to emulate the shining examples of less corrupt countries with less cases of corruption and practise it better.
Professor Stephen Adei, lecturer at the Pentecost University and the former rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, GIMPA, noted that 25 per cent of income of African countries went to waste as a result of corruption, which was far more than what entered Africa as foreign aid.
He stressed for the need for proper accountability at all levels and reduction in human contact in the age of technological advancement to help eradicate the issue of favouritism with those at the helm of affairs compromising their responsibilities.
By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme