The ugly face of corruption
Corruption has been realized as having a linkage with human rights in its causes and effects, so no one can talk about the causes of corruption and not relate them to the effects they put on human lives, especially the poor.
This linkage was the focus of discussion at a workshop organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), on Tuesday at the Cresta Royale Hotel, in Accra.
Mr. Charles Ayamdo, the Deputy Director of the Anticorruption unit of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), noted that corruption comes with costs to the nation, in terms of loss of funds for development.
“It results in over inflation of administrative costs, loss of dignity, respect and legitimacy of constitutional authority, loss of confidence in systems and institutions, and lowering of moral values”, he emphasized.
Ayamdo explained further that the linkage between corruption and human rights is direct and strong. He said while human rights grant individuals entitlements to live with dignity and freedom to explore ways of development and prosperity, corruption, grand or systemic, impedes the full realization of human rights. Its bedfellow, nepotism also leads to the hiring of unqualified persons, undermining the merit principles, false travels, and patronage.
Besides, he said human rights which are the constitutional entitlements that enable everyone to live in dignity; including the right to health care, education, food, shelter, life, and living in freedom are undermined whenever there is corruption. This explains why the promotion and protection of human rights cannot be divorced from the fight against corruption.
Mrs. Sandra Ameyaw Amankwaa, the Programme Manager of ActionAid, Accra, also emphasized the fact that it is always the poor who fall victim to corruption, since they can neither get access to basic rights enshrined in the constitution nor are they able to bribe their ways through to getting what they need.
She stressed that corruption always gives social and economic power to a section of the citizenry, while neglecting the rest. According to her if the syndrome is not nipped in the bud, it will continue to recycle and the effects could be devastating.
For instance, people’s entitlements to health care and clean environment are always compromised because resources geared toward such facilities are either diverted or are just not available, because of corruption.
She further stated that corruption is creating classicism in the country because some find themselves in the upper class because of corruption and using this power to intimidate and humiliate those who find themselves on the other side of the ladder.
She sees this disparity as a human rights violation. “If care is not taken, this cycle could cause damaging effects to the rule of law where the rich have access to justice but the poor is denied the same rights.”
Mr. Brian A. Sapati, formerly of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), also stressed that a country’s existing human rights regime determines its ability or inability to fight corruption and that corruption thrives in the midst of a weak human rights regime.
For him the fundamental human rights issues addressed in the 1992 Constitution, are to some extent, indications of a regime ready to fight corruption. But this will not come on a silver platter unless human rights advocacy groups join the fight to deepen the linkage between human rights and corruption.
The workshop was attended by about fifty participants drawn from human rights organisations, SFO, the Ghana Police Service, Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Auditor-General’s Department, Accountant-General’s Department, Attorney-General’s Department, the National Commission for Civic Education and the media.
Corruption is often described only in the context of bribery but the canker goes beyond this scope. It includes the abuse of one’s position for his personal gains. Its also includes fraud, deception, stealing, kickbacks, among others.
Author: Nana Ayensu
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