Deal with bribery!

The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), in collaboration with the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has presented the 2021 Ghana Integrity of Public Service Survey (GIPSS) -People’s Experiences and Views on Corruption Report.
The report launched yesterday in Accra is specifically on bribery as a corrupt practice in the country.
It states that in 2021, 26.7 per cent of the population, paid bribes in cash estimated at GH¢5 billion and that on the average, a person paid bribe five times, running into 17.4 million bribe occurrences last year.
The report is said to contain the findings of the first comprehensive nationally-representative population survey on corruption in Ghana aimed at collecting evidence-based information from Ghanaians to determine corruption prevalence for the purposes of targeting policy interventions that could enhance the fight against corruption.
The Ghanaian Times is yet to have the details of the report, but the paper is sure there is some information on causes of bribery and these must be tackled with all the available force.
The law that says both the giver and the receiver of bribe commit offence makes it fertile for bribery to thrive.
Bribery is everywhere but prominent in public institutions or organisations, including political parties and even hospitals.
Some officials of such organisations create conditions that make it difficult for the public to enjoy the services offered by them.
For instance, it is rumoured that parents pay bribes to officials in charge of the Computerised School Selection and Placement System long before the results of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) will be released so that their children would be placed in good or preferred schools.
Also, it is an open secret, for instance, that contractors pay bribe to public officials, including politicians, before they are awarded contracts; and customs officers and other revenue-collecting worker take bribe to favour those paying duty and other taxes.
It is disturbing how the system is corrupted such that those who refuse to pay bribe do not get served or are not given the opportunity to do what they want to do.
Today, young people hardly secure employment in the public system without paying bribe or being connected with high-placed politicians or top officials of public institutions, including even the security services, otherwise they should forget it.
The sad aspect of it is that public officials always deny cases of bribery, whereas politicians deny vote-buying but because of the law, those forced to give bribe hardly report perpetrators.
While bribe undeservedly enriches some people, it is a burden for others, particularly poor or helpless people who are forced to give it to secure a service or something.
It also denies the state some revenue, especially where revenue collectors compromise their integrity, whereas it is part of shoddy work on state projects.
Therefore, the state should take measures, including reviewing existing law on bribery, as a way of curbing the menace, if it cannot be eradicated.

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