Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo says Ghanaians are allowing ‘corrupt people’ to hide behind political parties to escape prosecution, a situation he observed, is affecting Ghana’s fight against the white collar crime.
Addressing anti-corruption advocates in the country in Accra Wednesday, he underscored the need for Ghanaians to view corruption as a crime and devoid of politics.
“Corruption is a crime! A crime is a crime and you must approach it from that angle,” he stated while launching a four-year strategic plan of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition.
For Mr Osafo-Maafo, “If we make people hide under the umbrella of a political party to protect themselves against corruption, then we have a problem as a nation”.
He however said that is exactly what has been happening in Ghana, saying “this is what I see as I listened to the radio stations, as I read the newspapers every morning.
“Ghanaians, by notion are trying pitch criminality to political camp and this is wrong! A crime is a crime. The whole country is now divided on NPP, NDC axis and people defend wrong with some political colours,” he stated.
In his view, Ghana “cannot fight corruption that way”.
He observed corruption has become topical in Ghana to the extent that “every nook and cranny of our nation is discussing corruption as a problem to our development”.
Mr Osafo-Maafo has thus urged the Coalition to help fight corruption in the country and do so by naming and shaming.
“If we do name and shame and make corruption unattractive, then we are fighting corruption,” he said.
‘Stealing time’ is corruption
The Senior Minister who is also the chairman of the Ghana Beyond Aid Committee, has meanwhile asked Ghanaians to view corruption holistically and not just as stealing monies from the State.
He said “corruption are in various forms” indicating persons who ‘steal’ their employers’ time are also equally corrupt, noting the practice seem to have permeated the Ghanaian society is not normal.
“…people should get to the office at 8 o’clock; they get to the office at 11 o’clock. They are supposed to close at 5 o’clock; they leave the office at 3 o’clock. So the whole day, they have cheated the state about four good hours but nobody thinks that is corruption, everybody thinks that is normal. It cannot be normal!” Mr Osafo-Maafo stated.
He cited Germany as country whose citizens have the nation at heart, noting “no German wants the fatherland to be cheated”.
According to him, for the about four days he spent in Germany, he realised that employees who go to work later than their time, always stay on and work for the hours wasted.
“When you come to this part of the world it is the reverse; if you cheat the government, if you cheat the state it is normal, in fact you are encouraged to cheat the state,” he stated.