Institutional Corruption In Ghana: The Realities, Causes And Effects – Rev. Prof Martey

   Rev. Prof Martey


Before I begin with my substantive topic, please allow me to make few introductory remarks on the mega-theme of this important public discourse: “The Menace of Corruption in Ghana.” Corruption in Ghana is not only a canker, it has also become a messy scourge; and it is only Ghanaians who have to clean up this mess of corruption. I see today’s public lecture as this University’s contribution to the fight against the menace—Congratulations, Christian Service University College!

We are all aware that the Fourth Republic, in which we are now, as a people, and the 1992 Constitution which guides it, emerged out of a context of probity and accountability as proclaimed by both the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) regimes which gave birth to this new era. But what the Fourth Republic with its Constitution has failed to achieve for Ghana is its inability to create a political community that is committed to an anti-corruption agenda which is so vital and much needed in true democratic governance.

Those of us who are not even experts in constitutional law are aware that there are provisions in the 4th Republican Constitution which do not help check corrupt practices but rather promote them. Corruption in Ghana derives from weak systems of oversight and accountability as a result of power concentration in the Executive branch of government. The Constitution disproportionately gives too many powers to one President which only a ‘superman’ could accomplish. I do not know whether in order to manage such a constitutional defect that the current President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo is approaching performance with such a large size of government. Because he has realized he is not a ‘superman’ to accomplish such a huge task alone. But we also need to remember that a huge government comes with huge problems of corruption.

In addition to this constitutional flaw, another strong factor that contributes to the mess of corruption in this country is our own culture. In many societies of the world, giving of gifts is part of people’s culture. In Ghana, gifts are appreciated and accepted after a work or an act has been performed no matter the value, whether or not the work is part of a person’s normal duties for which a regular salary is received. In a gift-giving culture like Ghana’s, gifts are not seen as bribes and therefore acceptable; whereas in other cultures outside Africa any act of giving aimed at influencing a decision or behaviour for the benefit of another party is corruption. In those countries, benefitting personally from the tax-payer or from any public office is considered corruption.

An Australian politician won a very luxurious BMW car through a commercial promotion organized by the Australian national airline, QANTAS. In the promotion, the passenger only had to complete the form at the back of the airline’s boarding pass. The politician won the car but had to return the reward because the ticket on which he travelled was paid by the Australian tax-payer. If he had paid for the ticket with his own money, he would have been allowed to keep the car. Such a thing would not happen in Ghana because winning a reward from public expenditure would not be considered as corruption. Culture in Ghana promotes corruption.

Therefore, corruption has become endemic and systemic in the country and the whole society has conformed to the drumbeat. Political leaders have woefully lost the will to fight against the menace. Successive governments have demonstrated to Ghanaians that they lack the incentive and the courage to fight corruption effectively especially when citizens are told to produce evidence. But what in Ghana do we mean by ‘corruption’?

A Definition

From the very onset, there is the need to make a clear distinction between “institutional corruption” and “individual” or “regular” corruption. Whereas “regular” corruption entails individual violations and infringements that are punished by society because it breaches existing laws; “institutional corruption” is systemic and approved by the legal system; it is part of the pattern of how organizations or governments operate. Although institutional corruption is legal and systemic, it is nonetheless a major social evil.

The legality of institutional corruption makes it more dangerous as it prevents people from seeing it as a problem. Therefore, in a young democracy such as Ghana’s, perpetuators of institutional corruption are most wicked, senseless, and unpatriotic persons any country could have. A typical example in contemporary Ghanaian history is the recent judgement debt saga which through Ghana’s legal system, undeserved individuals and companies had been awarded millions of cedis and dollars at the detriment of national development.

Reference could be made to the indictment of the former deputy Attorney General who was also the first deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ebo Barton Odro by the Judgement Debt Commission for directing the Ministry of Finance to pay over GHC4 million to African Automobile Limited as post-judgement interest in 2013 without the knowledge and approval of his boss, the then Attorney General Martin Amidu.

The answer which the former deputy Attorney General gave for this unprofessional and nation-wrecking act was that his boss did not query him for doing that. This should immediately tell you the caliber of persons which have been managing our nation’s economy.

This is just one manifestation situation of institutional corruption taking place in Ghana. But one may ask: what exactly is institutional corruption? What are its other manifestations or situations? Who is institutionally corrupt or who should be held responsible?

Compared with regular corruption whose definition has been given simply as “abuse of entrusted power for private gain,” which occurs on different scales and classified into categories as grand, petty and political; institutional corruption is not so simple, and its standard definition given by the Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig is so academic that it needs some conceptual adaptation when it is being applied in other contexts apart from its original.

Institutional corruption is a mechanism originally developed to explain dysfunction in the United States Congress. Although, it has been applied to various types of organizations and industries which has helped in uncovering problems in different sectors, concerns have been raised as to its accuracy in non-congressional contexts. Professor Lawrence Lessig defines institutional corruption as:

A situation where influences within an economy of influence tend to weaken the effectiveness of an institution; especially, by weakening public trust of the institution.

But as I have pointed out, this is an academic definition; however, I think we can take somethings out of it. What we can take from it is that,

  1. Institutional corruption is a situation and not (necessarily) an act;

  2. In institutions like government, there is an “economy of influence” where running for office in a party or campaign requires funds and those who provide the money have greater influence than others; and

  3. Even when the influence or action is legal, it weakens public trust and the democratic process becomes less effective.

  4. Most researchers agree that institutional corruption is a deviation from a purpose. It undermines the institution’s effectiveness by diverting it from its purpose or weakening its ability to achieve its purpose.

Therefore, from the viewpoint of organizational design, institutional corruption will be described as failure in achieving institutional purpose that occurs because of the way the institution is designed and not necessarily because of non-performance.

But some academics are of the opinion that it is a mistake only to blame the system and not the individuals involved in it. Such people argue that every politician is a crook and pressure should be placed on individual officials to make changes in the system.

With such an understanding, the question to ask is: How real is institutional corruption in Ghana?

The Realities of Corruption in Ghana

Is corruption in Ghana real or just a perception? Some Ghanaian leaders and public officials have previously argued that the issue of corruption in Ghana was just a perception. For instance, this was the position of former President John Agyekum Kufour though at the beginning of his administration declared a “zero tolerance for corruption.” But some researchers have debunked the trivialization of corruption as a perception. For example, in his analysis of the results of a survey conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) to ascertain the root causes of corruption in Ghana, a Senior Adjunct Fellow of the Institute, Professor Atsu Ayee has argued and concluded that overwhelming majority of Ghanaians shared the common view of the existence of corruption in the country.

The fight against the corruption menace in the country has attracted international anti-corruption organizations including Transparency International (TI). A survey on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by the organization reported in 2015 that Ghana was among the worst performing nations in the corruption index placing second after South Africa, and Nigeria following Ghana. The CPI report stated that about 71% of Ghanaians said corruption increased over the previous 12 months. The report, titled “People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015—Global Corruption Barometer, said while Ghana scored 76% after South Africa with 83%, Nigeria followed with 75%.

In the following year 2016 corruption index ranking, Ghana dropped further by four points, scoring 43 out of 100 points. Commenting on the drop, the Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII)—the local wing of Transparency International (TI), Mary Awelana Addah said it was not surprising that Ghana was losing marks in the fight against corruption and cited scandals such as the Police recruitment, the youth employment agency and the Alfred Woyome scandal and concluded: that meant the fight against corruption in the previous year was ineffective. According to TI figures, Corruption Index in Ghana averaged 38.68 Points from 1998 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of 48 Points in 2014 and a record low of 33 Points in 1999.

Just a few months after she was appointed Chief Justice in 2007, Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood spoke at the launching of Ghana Integrity Initiative’s report on “Corruption Monitoring Exercise in Ghana.” In her speech, she lamented and said she found it a “painful duty” to address the launch of a report that indicted the judiciary; and concluded that the phenomenon of judicial corruption was not a perception but real.

The then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said, although, there were many honourable men and women on the Bench who had over the years served the country tirelessly and had not relented themselves to any untoward practices, there were few judges who had dragged the name of the judiciary in the mud, and urged the hardworking ones not to lose heart over the report which had unfortunately put everyone in one basket.

Towards the end of her tenure as Chief Justice, the exposé of Anas Aremeyaw Anas on judicial corruption demonstrated that corruption in the judiciary had not abated but increased. To be able to hold other public officials accountable, the judiciary must, above all, possess the necessary moral and ethical integrity.

The experiences of some judges, lawyers, judicial staff and litigants on judicial corruption narrated in the Ghana Integrity Initiative Report demonstrate the reality of corruption in Ghana’s Judicial Service:

  • A Circuit Court Judge narrated how when he took over from his predecessor, lawyers, litigants and policemen were flooding his home with gifts meant for his predecessor and said; the house was “like a mini market.”

  • A High Court Judge also explained how she got to know about court clerks receiving gifts on her behalf without passing them on. Her complaints at the Complaints Unit of the Judiciary got nowhere; only the clerks got transferred to other units.

  • Lawyers also narrated how they would give money before a register would put their cases before a favourite judge.

  • There was also a story about a Pastor who bought a saloon Vectra for a judge in a case involving his church. On this, could you imagine the great service that this judge would have done for Mother Ghana if he or she had reported the bribery case to expose this corrupt and spiritually bankrupt pastor? But how could a corrupt judge report a corrupt pastor?

  • Litigants also told how lawyers asked for frequent adjournments so as to make more money from clients. This compels clients to pay clerks to fix dates for hearings. They also narrated how they often bribed judges, clerks and other officials for a favourable decision when cases have been pending for a long time.

  • The deepening state of institutional corruption became alarming when the menace began to pervade all spheres of Ghanaian life including the payment of Judgement Debts; deals from Custom and Excise Preventive Services (CEPS); Driver and Vehicle Licenses Authority (DVLA), Ghana Police Service, the Immigration Service, the Parliament, the Ministries and Departments of the public sector, as well as the private sector organizations.

But we must not forget yesteryears when during the Kutu Acheampong’s regime, Ghanaians got to know that a ship fully loaded with cocoa went missing on the high seas. Though the ship was later found, the cocoa meant for export to generate funds for Ghana was not. Under President Jerry Rawlings, when in 1995, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) found some members of the ruling party guilty of corrupt deals, the government issued a white paper which covered them. Again, President John Kufour’s policy on “zero tolerance for corruption” was gladly embraced by all; but when allegations of corruption were reported, the president would ask for evidence before the case would be investigated. A case in point was the Dr. Richard Anane’s saga.

Presently, corruption in Ghana is not just a mere perception but inherently pervasive in the country. Institutional corruption is a problem of “good people” doing “bad things” because of a corrupt society and the environment within which they find themselves. There are some politicians who genuinely want and seek to do public good; but they soon realize the reality that political candidates without money cannot win elections and that candidates with the most money often win elections. Such politicians are compelled to either focus on raising money by any means necessary or, not to run at all and get out of that dirty game.

But what are the causes of corruption in our country?

Causes of Corruption in Ghana

Several factors have been attributed as causes of corruption in Ghana. In this presentation, I will place these causes into two categories; namely, major and minor. While the major causes have come out of two main influences, the minor factors are many, some of which may be placed under the aspects of each of the two major ones.

The two major factors which have contributed in making corruption both endemic and systemic in the country are constitutional and cultural. Both Ghana’s 1992 Constitution and Ghana’s own culture promote and perpetuate corruption in the country.

Constitutional Influence

One would have expected that the context of probity and accountability out of which the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana was born would have guarded and helped to promote an anti-corruption agenda and check the menace of corruption; rather, it has fostered its growth. The Constitution brought with it fundamental structural flaws in Ghana’s democratic governance. A typical example is the overwhelming executive dominance where excessive concentration of political power in the presidency has relegated the other branches of government to subordinate positions.

Consequently, the legislative branch has become weak and controlled by the executive. Since the President has to appoint majority of his cabinet from among parliament members, in order to win the President’s favour, MPs of the ruling party (who have always been the majority in parliament in the 4th Republic) would give him a wholesale support. Not a single MP of the ruling party will oppose any presidential bill as Senator John McCain would do in the United States Congress against President Trump’s Health Care Bill; but all the MPs of the ruling party will support every bill introduced in parliament by, or on behalf of the President; as contained in Article 108 of the Constitution. And every bill introduced in parliament has financial implications and therefore, if legislators are corrupt, they will ruin the nation’s economy and hinder her development agenda.

The Judiciary branch of government suffers the same fate, although, supposed to be independent, it is also controlled by the executive. It is a common knowledge that there have been deliberate efforts by successive governments to ensure that the Judiciary remains weak through underfunding. Although, this arm of government still remains independent, lack of resources makes it impossible to function as it should. Low wages of judges and judicial staff compel them to revert to corruption for financial and other gains as Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ exposé on the judiciary eloquently testified. Recently, Her Ladyship Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo lamented over the conditions of service for judges and over what she described as the “woefully inadequate” budgetary allocation to the Judiciary. Chief Justice Akuffo also expressed worry about the “shameful and unhygienic” conditions of some court premises in the country.

Since 1992, no government had completely complied with the provision of Article 127 of the Constitution which talks about the independence and financing of the Judiciary. Although, assistance from some NGOs helps in reducing corruption in the Judiciary, still, the menace persists. For example, Danida’s work in the area of justice, improving court efficiency, increasing the use of alternative dispute resolution, introducing automation to reduce case loads, and building capacity are all attempts to reduce corruption in the Judiciary.

Another evidence of executive control over the judiciary is the appointments of officials from the Chief Justice and other justices of the Supreme Court. The President also appoints justices of the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Chairmen of Regional Tribunals. Even the President has to approve the appointment of Persons to act in the judicial office made by the Chief Justice.

Winner-Takes-All Politics

Another aspect of the constitutional influence that has deepened corruption in the democratic governance in Ghana is what has come to be known as “Winner-Takes-All” (WTA) politics—which is also connected to executive dominance. Since this phenomenon entered into the body politic in the 4th Republic, it has brought concerns to leading members of all political parties who have described it variously as negative, divisive, polarizing, victimizing, exclusive and having the potential of throwing Ghana into conflict, if it is not reversed. However, politicians from the two leading parties—NDC and NPP—seem reluctant in changing the status quo because of the advantages that the party in power gets from Winner-Takes-All governance.

Unlike in the United States and other places, WTA in Ghana is not an electoral system or formula; rather, it is a system of governance where political opponents are excluded from national governance. Winner-Takes-All in Ghana has become a political weapon of exclusion used by the winning party or the ruling government to victimize opponents to the detriment of national development, integration, progress, harmony and unity.

The victimization can either take place within the same party (i.e. intra-party victimization) where factions that win the primaries will persecute the losers or those not in the good books of the party leaders or the president in the case of the ruling party —as it occurred under the Mahama administration where young and inexperienced politicians were preferred to experienced politicians who were viewed as threats by the leadership and their supporters). Even within the NPP today, there are some members who feel abandoned or being victimized and they are making all the noise in the world but no one seems to mind. On the other hand, victimization can also take place between the ruling party that is in power and the opposition parties (i.e. inter-party victimization); as it is happening now in the Akufo Addo administration where the NDC and the other parties have been sidelined.

Under the Winner-Takes-All politics, the President possesses such an enormous political and economic resources that he can employ to secure political support as well as reward cronies whether or not they deserve. In the Ghanaian experience, all the presidential appointments are made to benefit only party loyalists to the exclusion of political opponents. WTA politics in democratic governance is a political disorder in a country ruled by law and because it has not decisively been addressed for a long time it has become a messy scourge.

With the unlimited executive powers together with the WTA politics that the 1992 Constitution provides, it is not surprising that in the Socio-economic and Governance Survey conducted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the Presidency should rank the second most corrupt institution in Ghana, after the Ghana Police Service. In that same survey, Tax officials came 3rd; MPs 4th; followed by Government Officials, District Chief Executives, Judges and Magistrates, Assembly Men and Women, Immigration and the Army.

Furthermore, it is not surprising that most of the corruption scandals reported, had taken place in institutions whose heads were executive appointees including the National Service Scheme (NSS); MASLOC; GYEEDA; SADA and others. There are government appointees in the present NPP administration that are corrupt. It is only a matter of time but some are being exposed. For instance, the Ashanti Regional Organizer of the NPP, Daniel Agyenim Boateng was arrested for allegedly defrauding people with the promise of giving jobs in the military, security services and other public sector jobs. He promised to pay back the monies he collected. But at the time of his arrest, he had been appointed as the Kumasi Depot Manager of Metro Mass Transit (MMT). Could you imagine what would have happened at the MMT?

In Ghana, the leading political parties especially, NPP and NDC, both tolerate substantial corruption, according to Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. There had been instances when voters had displayed high sense of anger which had made voters to throw both NDC and NPP out of power because of corruption. These two parties are reluctant to crack down corruption because each believes it has a reasonable chance of winning any future election should they lose this time.

Cultural Influence

The second major factor that has contributed in deepening the corruption menace in Ghana is culture. There are some anti-corruption crusaders in the corporate world, especially from the West who assert that corruption is not a cultural issue and does not have a cultural dimension.

But definitely such assertions are not realistic and true to life in our part of the world where zero tolerance for taking bribes is contrary to local customs and, may even be considered as a sign of dishonour or disrespect for some local customs and traditions. And for this reason, Ghanaian Presidents, when paying visits to traditional areas or courtesy calls on traditional rulers in an election year would deem it “honourable” to present Four Wheel Drive vehicles as gifts to the chiefs and these are received with appreciation and no one seems to see anything wrong with that. People would rather clap and applaud including anti-corruption campaigners who sometimes accompany the President. Besides, the anti-corruption laws of the country are blind to such “honourable” gifts.

In point of fact, whether the ‘zero tolerance for corruption’ declaration made by President Kufour did succeed or not, Ghanaians are the best judge. With the pervasiveness of the menace of corruption in Ghana, the scourge has become the Ghanaian way of life and people do not frown upon taking bribe but rather smile at it. For instance, in America, if a policeman stops you when driving and you try to put your hand in your pocket, you get shot and killed. But in Ghana, if a policeman stops you and you put your hand in your pocket, the policeman starts to smile.

Any government that is interested in genuinely fighting against the menace of corruption in Ghana must place emphasis on functional education to raise cultural consciousness that can promote probity, accountability, transparency, moral and ethical values to wrestle against the canker. This must start right from childhood. Free education? Yes, free education we must have; but, it must be education that takes moral teaching seriously!

Ghanaian governments must take civil education seriously. Civil society in Ghana is passive and politicians know this and use it against their own people. They know of the consequences if Ghanaians know their civic responsibilities. That is the reason why governments after governments fail to resource and adequately equip the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) because it is to politicians’ interest and advantage if civil society remains ignorant of their rights. Which voter knowing his or her civic responsibility would vote for a corrupt politician?

The eradication of the corruption menace from the country demands culture change and civic education has a tremendous role to play in changing people’s attitude. This will not at all be easy, but it will also not be impossible. Gone were the days when in every government office in Ghana you would see patriotic posters some of which read: “Don’t accept gifts, they are bribes” or “Your political opponent is not your enemy.” Ghana Montie! Let us rise up and clean up the mess of corruption.

Other Causes of Corruption

There are other causes of corruption which include:

  1. Greed and selfishness:- As part of its research and advocacy function in this country, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) undertook a survey to find out the “Root causes of corruption in Ghana” covering all the ten (10) regions with representative sample of 1,500 respondents. The findings of the survey identified greed and selfishness of public officials whose desire to get rich quick at the expense of the public good as a major fundamental root cause of corruption in Ghana.

  2. Low wages of workers:- Low salaries and wages of government employees make them revert to corruption for financial gains.

  3. Lack of severe punishments for culprits—Laws in Ghana do not bite hard:- Lack of very severe punishment for corrupt offenders encourages further corruption. Sheer transfers of culprits to another location with the same job position and same pay give a free lincense to continue the practice.

  4. How many officials have been severely punished in the various corrupt scandals we read in the media. Rather, a goat thief is jailed for five years; but those stealing millions and billions are set free. This can only happen in Ghana;

    • In Brazil, a former president, Lula da Silva was sentenced to a ten-year jail term for corruption .

    • In Israel, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went to jail for corruption

    • The South Korean business magnate and Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics Jay Y. Lee was sentenced to 5 years in jail for bribery, embezzlement and perjury.

  5. Low job opportunities:– Lack of job opportunities compels job-seekers to pay bribes to high officials and politicians in order to get jobs.

  6. Desire to get more:- The desire of political parties to gather more wealth to expand their parties and to remain in power makes them opt for corrupt practices to acheive their aim. According to the Bible, the cause of corruption in the world is “evil desire.” (2 Peter 1:4)

  7. Lack of accountability:– Lack of accountability, proper supervision and deliberate procrastination with the expectation that there must be reward before discharging duty for which one is regularly paid is a main cause of corruption.

  8. Encouragement of unhealthy competition:– Political interference in bidding for contracts and where only companies with political influence are selected even if they are not competent and not well-qualified.

  9. Low expectation from civil society:- Ghanaians expect better performance standards from the Black Stars football players than from political leaders. Similarly, both Kotoko and Hearts of Oak supporters expect more from their team players than from their constituency MPs and their Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).

Church and Corruption

Finally, another major reason for the entrenment of corruption in Ghanaian Society is the lack of prophetic voice coming from the Christian churches and other religious organizations against the menace. Corruption is a real threat to the Church’s witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a setback to evangelism. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ teaching denounced religious practices which were not matched by high moral and ethical standards in private and social life (Matthew 5-7).

Scripture cites corrupt practices of individuals as well as institutions and condemn these. For example:

  • The Jewish leaders bribing the soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb to lie about “the disappearance” of the Body of Jesus in Matthew 28:12.

  • John the Baptist condemning bad religious practice and telling tax collectors, “Don’t collect any more than you are required to” and to soldiers, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely” (Luke 3: 13-14). Here, John is condemning corruption and perjury.

  • The immoral and fraudulent acts of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)

  • The wickedness of Simon the sorcerer in Samaria who was bribing Peter and John to be given the Gift of the Holy Spirit and was condemned by Peter. (Acts 8:20)

  • Judas Ischariot betraying Jesus for accepting 30 pieces of silver. (Matthew 27:3)

  • The Christian church since its inception has sought to promote practical steps for ethical behaviour in government, business, and in church and society. In 1517, for instance, Martin Luther accused the Catholic Church of widespread corruption, including the sales of indulgences.

Today, Christians constitute more than 70% of the Ghanaian population. Why is it that Christianity in Ghana is growig but Ghana’s economy is not growing and, worse of all, why is there so much corruption in Ghanaian society?

In effect, corruption presents itself as a crisis of morality which Christians, as messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ must desire to keep in check; Why then has this moral obligation eluded the church?

Most leaders of the church are unable to speak against the issues that go contrary to the Word of God as contained in Scripture. They cannot speak against corruption among political leaders or against government officials because they are not much different themselves. They have therefore lost all prophetic voices. But there are reason for the prophetic silence of the churches. Here I give just a few:

  1. Some Pastors are afraid of insults:- Prophetic utterances from the throne of God condemning evil will doubtlessly bring judgment upon wrongdoers and corrupt society. Most of the time, guilty society reacts to prophetic utterance negatively and with insults. Many pastors cannot withstand such insults and therefore just keep quiet amidst corruption.

  2. Unwise acceptance of “gifts”:- Some pastors naïvely or innocently accept gifts that turn out to be “baits” or “bribes” which subsequently muzzle church leaders from preaching prophetic messages with power. Sometimes, such so-called gifts and the accompanying conversations are secretly recorded and that spells doom for the pastor.

  3. Because of Ethnic Affiliation:- Many church leaders are afraid to speak against corrupt politicians of the same ethnic group as theirs; they fear they would be accused of betrayal of ethnic brothers or sisters. They are also afraid that church members belonging to the ethnic group of corrupt politicians they speak against will leave the church and they leave with their money of course.

  4. To have Political Access and Influence:- Some clergy and Christians will muzzle their prophetic voice in order to gain political access to “big” and corrupt people, and to have political influence and power. Pastors will openly support known corrupt politicians or, immoral candidates even though the Bible is against such things. Some pastors play the political game despite their Biblical beliefs. They are thus unable to come out with a prophetic voice against evil doing such as corruption in society.

  5. Some church leaders avoid dealing with moral issues:- Some clergy avoid sensitive issues like corruption to avoid accusations being leveled against them. Again, for fear of losing members, some clergy avoid talking about social ills such as abortion, fornication, adultery and homosexuality as well as corruption, witchcraft, drug trafficking and drug abuse.

  6. Many clergy limit their faith to only spiritual things and avoid social issues:- For their lack of proper understanding of Scripture, many people in the church including clergy believe the Bible relates only to individual piety and spirituality to the exclusion of current socio-political and economic issues. The prophetic voice of many churches has been buried under individualistic religiosity and self-righteousness. They are therefore unable to speak like John the Baptist or the Biblical prophets such as Amos spoke against corruption in society.

The Effects of Corruption on Society

Corruption is an insidious scourge with very devastating effects on societies. It is a major cause of failure in Ghana’s attempt at good democratic governance and the rule of law. Corruption undermines institution’s effectiveness and damages its ability to achieve its purpose.

The costs of corruption are very high and it impacts institutions negatively and crumbles the fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in political and economic systems and institutions. It can cost people their freedom, health, money and sometimes their lives.

Corruption in Ghana is both endemic and systemic and has brought numerous consequences. It has produced inefficiency, reduced productivity in both public and private sectors of the economy. It has discouraged and driven away foreign investments, increased inflation and youth unemployment, and has reduced quality of life and life expectancy of majority of Ghanaians.

Corruption has given Ghana a bad name; and many of Ghanaian youth are unable to make a clear distinction between right and wrong or between good and evil. Those who engage it corrupt practices to ruin the nation claim to be religious and, if they are Christians, would like to be considered as good or pious Christians. On Sundays, they dressed to church; they donate huge sums of money to churches during harvests and fundraising activities, as they do to political parties during campaigns seeking favour from both human being and God. They think they can bribe and outwit God as they do to humans.

Cost of corruption can be categorized into several factors including political, economic, social, and environmental. Politically, corruption is a great impediment to democracy and the rule of law. When institutions and offices in a democracy are abused for private gain, they lose their legitimacy. And what are corrupt states without justice? Answering this question in his “opus magnum,” De Civitate Dei (City of God), Augustine of Hippo said: they are “gangs of criminals on a large scale.” (IV.4)

Economically, corruption drains and depletes the national coffers. Corrupt leaders will use scarce national resources in high-profile projects which will bring them more money; than the small infrastructural projects that are rather more urgent such as hospitals, schools and the like. Today, the outflow of money from Ghana, as it occurs in other African countries through illegal channels is several times the amount coming in through legitimate trade and aid, thus undermining economic development efforts.

Socially, corruption leads to violations of human rights and wipes out the quality of life in the sense that it allows organized crime to flourish, promotes armed robbery and terrorism and endangers human security. Corruption compromises public safety and provides impunity for immoral acts. It keeps the poor in abject poverty as the burden of corruption largely falls on the poor and makes them extremely vulnerable to injustice. Seeking justice in a corrupt society is like passing through the eye of a needle.

Finally, corruption leads to environmental degradation. This has been demonstrated in the illegal mining believed to be sponsored by some corrupt political and traditional leaders who also in collaboration with foreigners destroy our water bodies, the environment as well as human lives. Corrupt leaders are behind the galamsey operation as well as the indiscriminate felling of trees in the forest.

Such menacing effects of corruption can aptly be summarized in the 2004 United Nations Convention Against Corruption which describes the canker as

an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism, and other threats to human security to flourish.


We must now conclude. Ghana Montie! We are faced with an unquestionably noticeable menace of corruption in this country. Corruption in Ghana is not a perception; it is real. Corruption is being caused by our own institutions, by our own way of life; and it is having devastating effects on every aspect of societal life.

Our Constitution has not helped us. Our culture has not helped us. Our Christian churches have not helped us either. In spite of all these—our Constitution, our culture and our religion, we still remain in the grips and darkness of corruption.

But there is a light of hope dawning on us as a people. We only need the eye of trust and dedication to see the mess; and the will to arise out of this messy scourge.

Abusuafoɔ, adeakyi. Momma yɛnsɔre! Let us rise up and clean up the mess of corruption!

Yɛn ara asase ni! This nation is ours!



October 15, 2017



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This programme builds the capacity of Member Churches and the Local Councils of Churches in good governance and social accountability so that the target beneficiaries could participate meaningfully in decision-making process that affects their lives, and engage constructively with policy makers and duty bearers to be accountable for their stewardship. Read All Latest News


Human Rights and Gender

The Council believes that the right of citizens, especially women, children and the disabled should be protected by all. In view of that, it works to ensure that there is respect for fundamental human right which includes the right to live, the right to education, the right to free speech and the right to movement with the view of ensuring peace. Council’s work in the area of HIV/AIDS, advocacy for Food Security and Worse forms of Child trafficking reflect the right based approach to its activities.


Interfaith and Ecumenism

The Council connects with other Christian bodies such as the Ghana Pentecostal Council (GPC), National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches (NACCC) and the Council of Independent Churches (CIC) to foster peace and advance social issues and Christianity. It also works closely with other religious organizations such as the Office of the Chief Imam, Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Federation Read All Latest News


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