Corruption: We must accept it, take steps to address it – Prof Bokpin

A professor at the University of Ghana Business School, Godfred Bokpin, has called on Ghanaians to accept that corruption has come to stay hence measures should be taken to address the menace.

Speaking at an Imani-GIZ reform dialogue  series on the theme: ‘Risk of corruption to entrepreneurial and business growth in Ghana’ held on Tuesday November 23, he stated that people don’t feel any particular guilt about the menace.

“Conscience-wise, people don’t feel any particular guilt by doing certain things because they know that we steal in proportion to access. So those who have access to more steal more, those who have access to less steal less. It is happening across the entire society.”

When asked by moderator of the event who is also Vice President of Imani Africa, Mr Kofi Bentil whether he is calling for an acceptance of the practice due to the line of his analyses, he answered “We must acknowledge it, accept it and take steps to address  it.

“Go to the secondary schools and see how some students are trying to beat up  invigilators who were strict  in preventing them from copying . Go to our  pre-tertiary schools and see  how politicians  have messed up the control  channel that practically disarm  the school management  from actually enforcing  anything even if it is ethical.

“These are the people who, very soon, will take over and you will see how that is feeding into the politics among students and the corruption in the tertiary  level. As they are exiting, they are entering the bigger corrupt society with well-rehearsed experience.

“All the leaders we talk about never institutionalized any anti-corruption culture in this country and many of them to the extent that they were successful they  assembled around themselves enough corrupt people  to do exactly the opposite of what,  perhaps  they portray to society. You can get examples under Nkrumah, you can get examples under Rawlings  and even President Mills.”

It is recalled that last week, the Dean of the Law School at the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA), Professor Kofi Abotsi, while speaking at another event also noted that corruption has become a chronic problem in Ghana because the people expected to deal with it are themselves culprits.

He described this situation as unfortunate since it disturbs the fight against the menace.

He said “Corruption remains a canker. Unfortunately, the people who have the power to change corruption, these are the same people who are currently the biggest participants in corruption.

“If the reformers are the culprits , we have a problem. The reason why corruption conversation doesn’t seem to make any importance in Ghana is because the people who are often accused as being guilty of corruption are the same people we are looking up to for change.”

The Vice Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in last year’s elections, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, also noted that weak accountability systems in Ghana is causing the rise in corruption.

This situation, she said must be dealt with immediately in order to tackle the issue of corruption due to its effects on the society.

The former Minister of Education said if the laws are to be changed to ensure the fight against graft becomes successful, that should be done with immediate effect.

“Regardless of what it takes we need to fight corruption. We can never say that because it is difficult [We can’t].

“Let me use the analogy of illness. Some illnesses are very difficult to treat yet the doctors are not giving up, they try to find ways  to mitigate  the effect of the illness  if not to cure it. They never throw up their hands in despair,” she said.

She added “With our collective effort we can deal with it. I am particularly glad that the subject of corruption has been tabled for discussion.“

She added “The flippancy that some of these problems are received in politics, it is as if it is a game, it is not, it is about human lives

“This is something that we must get rid of and if it is the law that we must change to change the perception of even the people so be it.

“The present situation finds itself among the worst we have seen on the road of getting rid of corruption.”

She added “This come at a great cost in every sector of our society. I was in a certain hospital about two weeks ago asking what I could do and I was shocked that even at the hospital they were saying that they didn’t have blood pressure monitor and I asked myself how much is one.

“Why is this happening? So all these things , issues of corruption have come in thick and fast , depriving us of the minimum things that we even need to work with.

“It is one thing that government officials engage in corruption and get away with it because of weak accountability systems and it becomes rather unfettered with the personal examples of the leaders at the highest levels offer little words by way of encouraging all of us to come down the ladder of corruption. This should not be the case.”


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