Crumbling Morality

Ghana is suffering some of her worst morality challenges in her political life, the reasons for which are not far-fetched. The moral blemishes emanating from boardrooms of state agencies could not have been better manifested than in the recent developments at the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC), stories which made headlines in the media when they broke. We do not have any difficulty in describing the approval for the payment of GH˘4000 to an appendage of the ruling party’s campaign machinery by the GIPC as morally untoward. The same goes for the GH˘20000 handshake for the birthday bash of the Board Chairman of the state agency. Although the venerable corporate governance veteran, now living on a retirement emolument which could be the envy of even the President (some ˘100 million monthly), said he rejected the money after it was delivered to his children for onward delivery to him, we are hard-pushed not to slam the palpable infraction of public purse management convention. It is important that this glaring instance of misappropriation of state resources and abuse of incumbency, as witnessed in the cases under review, have happened at a time corruption is occupying centre stage in public office integrity discourse. It is equally disturbing that what we have seen is not only a tip of the iceberg but a parlous challenge to best practices in governance, which we ignore at the peril of our national interest and security. We find it laughable and regrettable too that the Board Chairman of the GIPC only asked that the money be returned to source with no sanctions taken against whoever was responsible for initiating the gesture. GH˘4000 and GH˘20000 are not ceiling-hitting monies worth the candle, but the principle behind not dipping fingers into the public purse by those entrusted with its management is what is driving us to scream from rooftops. Mr. Ishmael Yamson, the name associated with corporate governance in the country and whose name resonates around many a conglomerate’s boardroom, has amazed us for presiding over a state agency reeking corruption. He described our story as bogus. We are only doing our work of reporting the news and supporting good governance which is currently listing under personalities like him. For politicians, here is a man who stood against the monetary figures proposed for them as ex-gratia and other allowances, claiming the economy was too frail to contain them. His ugly noises did not matter in the end though, as the Chinery Hesse report overshadowed his wish. Today, his conduct and that of the state agency he presides over are not commensurate with the realities of the economy which therefore contradict his supposed posture of protecting the public purse. Such total abuse of the public purse could not have taken place in another clime without those at the apex of such agencies tendering their resignation letters. But this is Ghana where monies so withdrawn from the public purse can only be ordered returned just because the lid has been removed from the can of worms of financial management.