A FORMER Press Secretary at the Presidency in the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, Andrews Awuni has frowned on the pervading nature of corruption in the country saying “one can hardly get any service in this country today without having to grease some palms.”
“To get connected to electricity or water you will have to grease some palms. To register your land or get a permit to build, you must grease some palms. To get your child admitted into a school or recruited into some of our security agencies, or employed into any state agency, you must grease some palms.”
Mr. Awuni who is Executive Director of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) was speaking at the Freedom Power Lectures on corruption addressed by former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings in Accra last Wednesday.
Welcoming the audience, Mr. Awuni said “the truth remains that today corruption has literally taken over our country. There is hardly any institution left that has not been attacked.”
He said the recently published afro-barometer of the CDD citing that corruption had overwhelmed most institutions of state; at the Presidency, the Executive and the Legislature must not be taken lightly noting “the report reveals a disturbing trend of increasing corruption between 2008 and 2012.”
He expressed regret that there was not a single official national campaign against corruption in the country currently adding “what is worse is that it would appear that those who are elected and given the responsibility to protect the national kitty have joined the plunder themselves.”
He said recent cases of solicited judgment debts or negotiated settlements suggest “a mad rush to plunder.”
“Allegations of kick-backs in official deals, of dubious sole-sourcing, of over invoicing and under invoicing have become the nation’s daily bread but these are treated with contempt as though the people don’t have the right to know the truth,” he said, adding “contract prices are doubling and sometimes quadrupling even under a single-digit inflation.”
Mr. Awuni said it was estimated that the nation loses over $3billion annually through corruption, not counting the incalculable damage it caused to lives and businesses adding that “in all this we are all busy criss-crossing the country and looking into the eyes of these same Ghanaians and asking them to vote for us.”
He said what was ‘more dangerous’ was that some of the youth had been “stung by this cancer” and appeared to have gladly embraced it.
“For some of them what matters is the good life: a good car (s), a good home, designer wear and a fast lifestyle. It does not matter where the money comes from. The end justifies the means, they say. These groups of people are really excited about their new found friends and access to resources. The danger is that these are the people who will eventually take over the reins of leadership in our country.”
He was not happy about recent reports of extortion on the part of some officials of the Electoral Commission saying “we sincerely hope that these allegations are completely false… We cannot afford to bastardize that institution.”
He urged former President Rawlings not to relent in his efforts to fight corruption saying “we know that he is the target of the money bags and the plan is to try and silence you…We say to the former President, keep talking, don’t stop saying it. When the clouds are full they will have no choice but release the rain.”
Source: William Yaw Owusu
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