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Widespread corruption in Ghana: Why are we surprised?



Corruption in Ghana has become an endemic canker that is destroying our country and jeopardising its future.

The Ghana Integrity Initiative warned in 2018 that the country loses as much as US$3 billion to corruption every year; the 2021 Ghana Integrity of Public Services Survey (GIPSS) report, which indicated that about GHS5 billion was paid as bribes to public officials in 2021 alone confirmed this estimate.

Reports from the Auditor-General (A-G) further indicate that infractions and irregularities in the public sector from 2016 to 2020 amounted to about GHS48 billion. In 2020 alone, the
country lost GHS12.8 billion to infractions and other irregularities committed by state agencies. The recent report to Parliament for the 2021 financial year also flagged a total of GHS17.4 billion in financial irregularities, an increase of 36 per cent compared to the 2020 figure.

Ghana currently ranks #73 on the Corruption Perception Index, tied at a score of 43 with Hungary, Kuwait, Senegal and the Solomon Islands. Indeed, since 2012, the country has not been able to cross a score of 50 on the Index, indicating how poorly it has been performing.

The situation

Ghana’s scores over recent years also depict the deteriorating situation of corruption in Ghana, consistently declining from a score of 48 in 2014. According to the 2022 Afrobarometer Survey, about 77 per cent of Ghanaians believe corruption in the country has increased, compared to only 33.2 per cent who believed the same in 2017.

Additionally, 65 per cent of Ghanaians believe that most or all police officials are corrupt. This negative perception is no different from that held of the presidency, judiciary, electoral commission, members of parliament, civil servants, MMDCEs, business executives, assemblymen and women, traditional authorities, the media, religious leaders and NGOs, albeit at different levels. Obviously, there is a lack of trust in the integrity of institutions in the country, indicative of the moral breakdown of the Ghanaian society.

Corruption has eaten deep into every fibre of the Ghanaian society, such that it has become the rule rather than the exception.

Policemen stop drivers for imaginary faults in order to extort money; customs officials take money before stamping genuine passports or allowing the clearing of goods; parents pay bribes to school authorities before their wards are admitted into schools; contractors and businessmen give “tips” in order win contracts; doctors and nurses have to be “tipped” before they attend to a dying patient; secretaries must be “seen” before they make appointments or move letters from one desk to another. Judges and court officials are visited with envelopes and people’s fates are sealed; fuel stations mix fuel with water, and their attendants defraud unwary customers; market women overprice their commodities and sneak in rotten produce; land-owners sell the same plot of land multiple times. Media persons take money before they decide on whether to air a story.

Even in the church, positions and sermons are influenced by people who give the most offerings. As for the political elite and government officials, corruption scandals have become such regular occurrences that we are barely concerned when we read of them.

But are we really surprised by these occurrences? We take money and gifts from politicians before we vote for them, yet expect them not to be corrupt when they take office. We use connections to recruit people into the police force; do we expect them not to collect bribes when they pass out? We deny our law students justice; how dare we expect them to fight for justice when they become lawyers and judges? We treat our medical students with contempt but expect them to have empathy when they become medical professionals. We help our students to cheat in exams but expect them to have integrity when they start working. Our lecturers extort money and favours from students on campus, then expect these same students not to be corrupt when they start working? We pay our workers such low amounts, knowing very well that they can’t survive on it, and yet we expect them not to find other ways of surviving?

Social system/Solution

Together, we have set up a social system that rewards smart, cunning work rather than hard work. Hard work simply does not pay. Although the evidence of corruption is all around us, we laughingly justify it by declaring that “everybody chops from their job side”, normalising duplicity. Our politicians become rich overnight and can never explain their sudden wealth: indeed, some politicians are richer than their entire constituencies. Our celebrities live lifestyles that their income cannot justify.

Our business executives own businesses with incomes that are not calculable from their tax returns. Even worse are our public and civil servants, whose vehicles alone betray the inconsistencies in their lifestyle and salary. Our lecturers, teachers, doctors and nurses – even while crying about being underpaid – still live in a way that just doesn’t add up. Employees pretend to work, and their employers pretend to pay them… and all of us complain about the corruption in Ghana.

Those we celebrate are those with wealth, and we don’t even bother to question the source. They get the front seats in public gatherings, give the largest funeral and wedding donations, and are appointed as chairpersons at our religious events. We orient our children to go to school to become rich instead of serving the nation. Every new worker is expected by all to fix their family and friends somewhere or, at least, share the office loot with them. State coffers are acceptably burgled because it is government property.

The manner in which the nation celebrated the taxi driver who returned missing money to his passenger was commendable, but telling about the moral decadence in our society: deeds that were supposed to be the norm are now the exception. Indeed, now in Ghana, the person of integrity, who insists on the right thing being done, is labelled as a bad person and sometimes even punished. Yes, to succeed in Ghana, you don’t need to work hard but to work smart.

If we really want to deal with corruption in Ghana, we must become honest as a people. True, our leaders must show integrity, but we the citizens must also audit our values and lifestyles.
In addition to prosecuting corruption-related cases, let us start teaching our children the values of integrity, honesty and patriotism from basic school. Our political elite and public servants certainly seem to need refresher courses on these values as well.

The writer is a Researcher, African Futures and Innovation, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria.

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Illinois police release names of 5 family members found dead in home, includes two young children




Authorities on Thursday released the names of five family members, including two young children, found dead inside a Chicago-area home this week.

Officers with the Buffalo Grove Police Department were called to a home Wednesday to check on the mother, Buffalo Grove Police Chief Brian Budds said Thursday. Officers forced their way inside and found five bodies, he said.

“Today is a very sad day for our community as we continue to process this unthinkable event,” Budds said.


Buffalo Grove police were dispatched to a single-family residence in the 2800 block of Acacia Terrace for a call of a well-being check on a woman. Inside they found five dead family members, including two young children and an animal, police said.
(FOX 32 Chicago SkyFOX)

Investigators believe the killings were domestic-related.

The victims were identified Thursday as: Lilia Kisliak, 67; Andrei Kisliak, 39; Vera Kisliak, 36; Vivian Kisliak, 6; and 4-year-old Amilia Kisliak. An animal was also found dead at the scene.

Autopsies for all five revealed they died from sharp force injuries, the Lake County coroner said.

Authorities declined to disclose who inflicted the injuries or what kind of weapon was used. Vera Kisliak had sought protection orders in August and September and filed for divorce in July, Fox Chicago reported.

A co-worker of Vera Kisliak called the police on Wednesday, Budd said, which led to the discovery of all five family members.


He also declined to comment on reports from neighbors that the police had been to the Kisliak home in the past month. A local resident told the Chicago-Sun-Times she called the police in August over concerns about how Andrei Kisliak treated the children.


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Ex-Florida official with ties to Gaetz sentenced to 11 years in sprawling public corruption case




The disgraced former Florida tax collector who cooperated with federal authorities in their investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) was sentenced Thursday to 11 years behind bars.

Joel Greenberg’s sentencing was delayed multiple times as he cooperated with state and federal authorities.

The sentencing brings to a close one of Seminole County’s most sprawling public corruption cases, which spurred inquiries into Gaetz and other public figures, including Halsey Beshears, a former state House member who also served as the secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Beshears resigned from his government post in 2021, citing health issues. Greenberg, Gaetz and Beshears were named on a December 2020 federal grand jury subpoena.

Authorities have accused Greenberg, an elected tax collector in Central Florida, of financial crimes, stalking, identity theft, sex trafficking a minor and other offenses.

Greenberg was initially charged with more than 30 criminal counts, but in May 2021 pleaded guilty to six charges — including sex trafficking and fraud — in exchange for his cooperation in multiple cases, including a sex trafficking probe into Gaetz. The two men were once friends, and Gaetz described Greenberg as his “wingman” to acquaintances.

The Justice Department’s probe into Gaetz, which started in 2020 during the closing months of the Trump administration, was looking into whether the Florida congressman had sex with a 17-year-old woman and paid her for it. Gaetz, one of former President Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters, had repeatedly denied the accusations and was never charged with a crime.

In September, a person with knowledge of the investigation indicated that the DOJ would likely not pursue charges against Gaetz.

Greenberg helped prosecutors secure convictions in several other cases, including Joe Ellicott, a collectibles dealer who was a groomsman at Greenberg’s wedding and received a 15-month sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and distributing a controlled substance.

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Outgoing police minister warns Ben Gvir moves on Temple Mount could spark intifada




Outgoing Public Security Minister Omer Barlev warned Thursday that his successor could spark widescale Palestinian unrest if he tries to change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir, set to take over the post in the coming weeks, has been a frequent critic of regulations at the Jerusalem holy site.

During a meeting summarizing the ministry’s conduct during his tenure, Barlev said he advised presumed incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to put someone other than Ben Gvir in control of the Israel Police, which currently falls under the jurisdiction of the Public Security Ministry.

“If there is a change in the status quo on the Temple Mount there will be a third intifada,” Barlev was quoted as saying by the Ynet news site. The first two intifadas, in the late 1980s and the early 2000s, were marked by deadly terror attacks against Israelis and clashes with troops on a near-daily basis.

“This is clear to me and also to Netanyahu, but we have seen that his considerations are frequently personal,” he charged, in an apparent reference to the Likud leader’s ongoing trial on corruption charges and accusations that he makes appointments based on narrow political interests rather than the needs of the state.

Ben Gvir has for many years — and also recently — slammed the status quo on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site and the third-holiest site for Muslims, who refer to it as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound or the Noble Sanctuary. Non-Muslims are currently allowed to visit the site — during limited hours, from a single entrance point — but not to pray or display religious or Israeli national symbols. Those wearing clothes that identify them as religious Jews face heavier restrictions and are limited to walking a predetermined route under close police escort.

Despite his long-outspoken advocacy to allow Jewish prayer at the flashpoint site, Ben Gvir equivocated when asked during an interview Sunday if he would allow Jews to pray there. He called the ban “racist.”

Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir visits the Temple Mount compound escorted by police officers on March 31, 2022 (Facebook screenshot; used under clause 27a of the copyright law)

In his expected role as national security minister, a new post that will also be in charge of Border Police in the West Bank, Ben Gvir would have control over law enforcement on Temple Mount, where courts have given the police wide leeway to set policies aimed at maintaining public order.

Ben Gvir frequently visits the Temple Mount and has a long history of inciting violence and played a role in stoking tensions ahead of last year’s war between Israel and Gaza terror groups.

In hot mic comments last month, President Isaac Herzog said the “entire world” is concerned about Ben Gvir and that the next government is “going to have a problem with the Temple Mount.”

According to a recent report, Jordanian officials warned Israel that bilateral ties will suffer if Jerusalem’s new government tries to change the Temple Mount status quo arrangement. Jordan, the self-styled custodian of the holy site, also warned that a visit by Ben Gvir once he is a minister would be viewed in a harsh light.

At Thursday’s meeting, Barlev, the outgoing minister, also linked a number of high-profile violent incidents on Israeli streets to the strong showing for Ben Gvir and his electoral partner Bezalel Smotrich in the November 1 election.

“There is a growing phenomenon in Israeli society — there is room for the use of force as a way to solve problems,” he said, according to the Walla news site.

“The rise is not coincidental. This is what happens with the transfer of power and Ben Gvir’s entry to the ministry: Israeli society is becoming more and more violent,” Barlev added.

L-R: MKs Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich at a rally of their Religious Zionism party in the southern city of Sderot on October 26, 2022. (Gil Cohen-Magen / AFP)

Deputy Public Security Minister Yoav Segalovitz also tore into Ben Gvir and warned of politicization of the police.

“He is a criminal who was convicted of incitement to terror and is going to sit in the minister’s chair. The problem is not the appointee, but the appointer,” said Segalovitz, a former senior Israel Police officer, in a rebuke of Netanyahu.

Ben Gvir later responded to Barlev, calling him “the most failed minister” and asserting that “crime became a national scourge” during his tenure.

“Barlev harmed everyone who lives in this country and instead of being ashamed of the damage he did, he is trying to blame me for his grave failures. Now that he’s going home will be much safer,” Ben Gvir tweeted.

Ben Gvir ran as part of the far-right Religious Zionism alliance, which has since split into three separate factions in a pre-planned move. All three of these far-right parties have inked coalition deals with Netanyahu’s Likud, which is still holding talks with a pair of allied ultra-Orthodox factions before it can form a government.

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