Damning report on corruption, debate on economy highlighted in Ghanaian media

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – A damning report of anti-corruption agency, Transparency International, and claims and counter-claims on the actual health of Ghana's ailing economy were some of the stories that dominated the media this week.

“GII corruption report indicts police, judiciary,” was the headline of the state-owned Ghanaian Times of the story on corruption which said a global corruption barometer released on Tuesday by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) perceived the police and judicial service among the top ranking corrupt institutions in the country.

It said a survey, which asked respondents to assess a number of public institutions on how they viewed them in respect of corruption, had in descending order the police, political parties, judiciary, education system and public/civil service officers among the most corrupt.

They were followed by Parliament, the media, medical and health services, business and private sector, the military, religious bodies and non-governmental organisations.

The newspaper said following these revelations, the GII had asked President John Dramani Mahama to institute effective anti-corruption measures to eliminate the canker.

Additionally, the anti-graft body appealed to the Chief Justice to put in place measures to dismiss all corrupt officials from the judicial service while concrete efforts were made to speed up law reforms and judicial processes to reduce the cost of seeking justice.

The state-owned Graphic carried the story under the headline “Corruption barometer: Police, political parties indicted.”

It said a survey of 2,000 people had suggested that the police and political parties were the most corrupt institutions in the country.

The newspaper said the survey conducted by Transparency International for its Global Corruption barometer for 2013 suggested that in Ghana, 54 per cent of the 2,000 respondents reported that corruption had increased in the past two years, while 20 per cent reported that corruption has decreased.

Incidentally, the report was released the day after President Mahama launched a code of ethics for ministers and government appointees in which he stressed that he would not compromise on corruption.

The Ghanaian Times carried the story under the headline “Prez: Prevention of corruption must be a priority.”

The newspaper quoted President Mahama as saying one of the best strategies of fighting corruption was for the country to institute measures to prevent people from acting in a corrupt manner.

“My view is that corruption must be prosecuted when detected, but first and foremost, we must prioritise its prevention,” he said when launching the Code of Ethics, which seeks to guide ministers and political appointees in the discharge of their duties.

The Times said the Code of Ethics was to enable government officials and political appointees to understand and anticipate actions of conflict of interest, self-dealings and bribery in the performance of their duties, among other things.

President Mahama also stressed that “one of the most important ways to prevent unacceptable conduct and abuse of office by public officials is to demarcate the ethical boundaries within which the actions and inactions and decisions taken by any of us can be deemed to be acceptable or unacceptable”.

The Graphic had the headline “Code of ethics for ministers of state” with the story saying the President called on public officials to guard against corruption and bribery.

He reminded ministers that there were issues that could be accepted in the traditional cultural context but which were unacceptable under the ethics of government and legal conduct.

“Ghana is not broke – Terkper,” was the headline of the Graphic, which was Finance Minister Seth Terkper’s reaction to the main opposition New Patriotic Party’s statement that the economy had collapsed as the country was “broke”.

The newspaper said although the minister admitted that the economy was facing some challenges, he contended that the country could not be described as "broke".

“Having challenges with an economy doesn’t translate into the economy being broke,” he said.

Mr Terkper noted that the 2013 budged had some major slippages in the economy in respect of the wage bill and corporate income tax, particularly in the petroleum sector. The wage bill was a major source of the fiscal slippage of 5.1 per cent of GDP in 2012.

The Times had the headline “Finance minister replies NPP,” with the story saying the opposition party’s assessment of the state of Ghana’s economy was full of factual flaws.

According to Mr. Terkper, the country’s nominal GDP had moved from 35 billion Ghana cedis to nearly 80 billion Ghana cedis, indicating that the debt situation was not as stark as the NPP sought to put it. (US$1.00=1.98 Ghana cedis)

NPP spokesman on the economy in  Parliament, Dr Anthony Akoto-Osei, who is a former Minister of State of Finance, had described the economy as “choked”.

He referred to a news report which said government’s failure to pay some 700 million Ghana cedis owed bulk oil distribution companies since 2012, had posed a serious threat to the existence of the companies and commercial banks that extended credit facilities to the companies.

The NPP also noted in its assessment of the economy that, apart from the US$3 billion Chinese loan or the US$1 billion Eurobond money government was seeking to raise, the country’s debt stock has risen from 9.5 billion Ghana cedis to 38.5 billion Ghana cedis within four years.

The pro-opposition Daily Guide reported the story under the headline “NPP tears NDC over broke economy.”

It said the NPP and its Minority group in Parliament had torn into shreds the economic policies of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) indicating that President Mahama’s misplaced economic policies were sending the economy on the verge of committing a gargantuan “suicide”.

The party said if immediate measures were not taken to reverse the situation, the economy would eventually crash on its knees and grind to a complete halt as Ghana faced bankruptcy.
-0- PANA MA 13July2013

13 july 2013 07:56:22

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