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High risk of corruption in Ghana’s defence sector – Report

Transparency International (TI) has revealed that Ghana’s defence sector lacks the level of transparency and accountability necessary to effectively protect institutions in the sector against corruption.

The assertion is contained in the Defence and Security report on Ghana dubbed ‘2020 Government Defence Integrity Index, which falls under TI’s Government Defence Integrity Index (GDI), a comprehensive risk assessment that examines the strength of the anti-corruption system used by defence institutions across countries worldwide to deal with high-risk corruption in the sector.

GDI specifically assesses the quality of political oversight, accountability mechanism, the integrity of personnel, procurement, financial system and the control risk, which militaries apply when on an operation.

Speaking at the launch of the 2020 GDI report, the project manager of Transparency International,  Camilla Zullani, said on the scoreboard set for Ghana, it had E which predicts the high level of corruption in the sector.

According to Zullani, “there is a high level of secrecy and opacity within the Ghanaian defence institutions, with the sector often utilising national security exemptions to bypass transparency requirements.”

The manager also said the legal framework on paper might be strong but legislation is often not fully implemented.

“Anti-corruption expertise is lacking among defence personnel and members of oversight bodies, limiting their ability to effectively mitigate corruption risk. Corruption is not addressed as a strategic issue in military operations, leaving troops ill-prepared to counter corruption in key lines of activity, including contracting within areas of operations,” she added.

Risk areas

According to the GDI report, Ghana does not have a publicly available defence policy or security strategy.

The report also states that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior is mandated to scrutinise defence but its effectiveness is undermined by lack of expertise and limited access to information.

It continues that the annual defence budget is publicly available in a disaggregated form, but lacks adequate details and is often submitted to Parliament with tight timeframes for scrutiny and approval.

“It is not clear what percentage of the budget is spent on classified items, and there is no evidence that Parliament is giving information on this.

The report also states that the Auditor General presents audit reports on public accounts, but that on defence is vague and lacks detail.

The report states a Code of Ethics is available for defence personnel but it is not publicly available and it is unclear whether it has a portion that addresses corruption.

Ghana and W/Africa

In spite of the problems in the country’s defence sector, the report says, “While Ghana’s defence has sector similarities with other West African countries, including excessive secrecy, limited transparency, and weak democratic civilian oversight, the country has a strong anti-corruption legislative framework and is often seen as  the good governance frontrunner in the region.”

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