Bongo Chief Joins Corruption War

The Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area in the Upper East Region, Bonaba Baba Salifu Atamale Lemyaarum, has noted that the fight against corruption in Ghana will not succeed if Ghanaians sit on the fence and expect government and mandatory institutions to fight it alone.

He said: “We as citizens are everywhere in this country; we see corruption coming in various forms and so corruption is not strange to us. We know how it comes, so we should be at the front line to nib corruption in the bud. As citizens, we have a duty to expose and shame people who engage in corrupt practices. If you expose and I expose, we will end up exposing ourselves and by so doing we will be discouraging each other from engaging in corrupt practices.”

According to him, if citizens do this, then they will have the power to pressurize government to ensure that persons caught engaging in corruption in government or public institutions are punished to serve as a deterrent to others.

“… Corruption has even permeated our educational sector, where people who qualify for admission do not get admission and rather others who do not qualify, get in there. Some officials in public institutions will deliberately make procedures unnecessarily difficult so that you pay bribe to them at all costs before whatever service you require from them is rendered. Why are we doing this to ourselves?” Bonaba asked rhetorically.

Bonaba Baba Salifu Lemyaarum, who also serves as the vice president of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs, was addressing participants at a Regional Stakeholders’ Awareness Campaign on the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan in Bolgatanga. The Campaign is led by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

The paramount chief of Bongo also mentioned traditional authorities as being part of the perpetration of corrupt activities in society, and urged his colleagues to join the fight against corruption by shunning the canker and any other act that induces them to make wrong traditional decisions. Rather, they should make decisions that benefit all.

Programmes Manager with the Ghana integrity Initiative Mary Awelana-Adda urged district and municipal assemblies to set up independent Clients Complaints Offices to encourage people to freely walk in to complain about corrupt practices in the assembly or about any of the decentralized departments in the district or municipality.

According to her, complainants should feel comfortable and secure enough to give detailed information in order to trigger successful investigations and possible prosecutions if the complain borders on corruption or crime.

She called on government to ensure that all public institutions boldly display the Customers Service Charter to educate the public and clients who visit these public institutions for services.

Mrs. Awelana-Addo believes that if the Customer Service Charter is displayed and the public and clients read and know what is expected of them, no one in a public institution or government can take advantage of them, and this would help curb corruption in public places.