Corruption is the greatest evil of our time and has become a household name in Ghana, Mrs Josephine Sackey, Chief Executive Officer, Socioserve-Ghana, has stated.
She said every Ghanaian whether old or young now agrees that corruption had eaten deep into our society.
“Corruption widens inequality, creates distortion and destroys all constructive efforts at good governance in any society and consequently, the poor and less privileged suffer the most,” Mrs Sackey stated at the launch of the “Together Against Corruption” Project at Kpong in the Lower Manya Krobo District of the Eastern Region.
Corruption, according to the Transparency International is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
This could manifest in ways such as bribery, fraud, conflict of interest, favouritism, extortion, cronyism and abuse of discretion.
The project, which seeks to change Ghanaians’ perception of corruption within the Ghana Police Service, would be piloted within two years in the five districts; namely the Yilo Krobo, Upper Manya Krobo and Akwapem North Districts of the Eastern Region.
The rest are the North Tongu and Ho West Districts in the Volta Region.
It is being implemented by Socioserve-Ghana in collaboration with iWatch Africa and JMK Consulting, with funding from STAR Ghana.
The objective of the project is to help build citizens’ capacity to fight corruption in their engagements with the Police.
It is also to help increase the responsiveness of the Police Administration to cases of corruption involving Police Officers.
Mrs Sackey said, she could not over-emphasize the importance of credible and professional institutions such as the Ghana Police Service that stands to fight against corruption and injustice.
She said the Ghana Police Service was one of the most critical institutions entrusted with the power to ensure the rule of law and safety of every Ghanaian irrespective of your economic and social status.
“However, you will agree with me that Ghanaians perception of corruption within the Ghana Police Service has not been favourable as revealed by a number of research works like surveys conducted by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII),” she said.
She noted that findings from their Baseline Survey for the “Together Against Corruption” project were also in line with this.
“It is time, we all worked together to change this perception. It requires a multi stakeholder approach.”
Mrs Sackey explained that the project does not aim to bring the Ghana Police Service into disrepute but rather to work together with the Police Hierarchy and Administration, as well as other stakeholders to deal with the menace of corruption within the service.
“Together we can build democratic and credible institutions that we will all be proud of.” she said.
“Our strategy will be to empower citizens to lead the fight/ campaign as well as creating spaces for citizens to engage with the Police,” she added.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) David Senanu Eklu, Director-General Police Public Affairs, said the “Together Against Corruption” project was different from other projects because the Police Service was also a partner in its implementation.
He said, the project when successfully implemented, would be replicated in other parts of the country.
ACP Eklu said the Ghana Police Service was undergoing transformation to become a world class police of renowned global standard.
Mrs Beauty Emefa Nartey, Executive Secretary, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, said it was important that all and sundry comes on board in the fight against corruption.
She said the effects of corruption on Ghana was not the best; declaring that “Unless we all change our minds and attitudes towards issues of accountability, issues of transparency and issues of integrity, corruption would continue to persist”.
Michael K. Boadi, Corporate Affairs Manager, GII, recounted that a study conducted by the GII revealed that 78 per cent of respondents were of the perception that the Police were corrupt; which was worrying.
He said it would take the conscious efforts of every Ghanaian to deal with the issue of corruption in the country.
Mr Philip Kwasi Banini, Co-founder iWatch Africa, said the project would go a long way to enable the public to know their rights as they engage the Police Service.
He urged the public in the implementing districts to collaborate with the project team to ensure its success.