Crooks To Take Over Government Soon - MPs

The issue of corruption took the center stage of discussion in Parliament yesterday when the Majority Leader, Dr. Benjamin Kunbour, declared that pervasive corruption in the society would lead to crooks taking over the body-politic of Ghana and running the country like their personal business. The Majority Leader was contributing to a statement made by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Biakoye, Emmanuel K. Bandua, to mark World Anti-Corruption Day yesterday on the theme, “Zero Corruption, 100 Percent Development.” “I am not a prophet of doom but I am seeing the situation where in the next decade or two, crooks will take over Parliament and the Executive due to the increasing ‘monecratisation’ of our democracy and doing whatever they wish for themselves,” the Majority leader said. According to the Majority leader, the crave for wealth and power had led to widespread corruption in the society because people generally believe that with ‘economic power’ one could easily have ‘political power’ as well as social power to achieve whatever goal they want. “In our society, hard work is not rewarding but corrupt practices are rather rewarded,” he said, adding that corruption now was no more a moral issue but had instead become a political tool to win political power. He said it was time the society pulled the bull by the horns and ensured that the canker was holistically tackled. The NDC MP for Nadowli/Kaleo, Alban Bagbin, who contributed to the statement, said “our democracy being turned into moneycracy is a very disturbing issue and if care is not taken, dedicated and qualified people who the country would be needing to put it on the right footing would always be relegated to the background.” He said the time had come for the country to question the source of money of politicians so that it could be established whether those monies were genuinely acquired or not. “As a way to help check corruption in government, government officials and appointments ought to be made to declare their assets as well.” He said corruption was not being punished because the act was considered as just a misdemeanor or bribery, which did not attract stiff punishment. According to Mr. Bagbin, a former Minority leader, the provision on corruption in the Criminal Offences Act should be amended, with a stiffer punishment prescribed for the offence. He also called on Parliament to do proper scrutiny of the report of the constitutional review commission when it is presented to Parliament so that the recommendations on corruption would be decisively considered to minimize the act in the society. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, who was once a Majority leader, said when it comes to the fight against corruption, Parliament has an important role to play, stressing that Parliament possess oversight powers over the Executive and other public institutions. “Parliament as an institution has to assert itself and help fight corruption,” he said, adding that it was time Parliament and other state agencies moved from rhetoric to action. The NPP MP for Effia,Joseph Cudjoe, in his contribution, said Ghana must emulate the example of the United Arab Emirates where corruption is seen as an abominable act and those engaged in it are given the stiffest of punishments. He also suggested that gadgets such as CCTVs should be secretly installed in all strategic government institutions to expose those who engage in corrupt practices. Emmanuel K. Bondua, the vice chairman for African Parliamentarian Network Against Corruption, indicated that corruption undermines people’s trust in the political system, its institutions and its leadership. He asserted further that general apathy among a disillusioned public result in a weak civil society which allows despots as well as democratically elected, yet unscrupulous leaders, to turn national assets into personal wealth. He defined corruption as an abuse of entrusted power for private gain.