Ghana Loses US$3 billion to Corruption a Year

Despite being one of the least corrupt countries in Africa, Ghana is annually losing billions to graft - a menace that keeps people poor and shatters their dreams, officials said last week.

ghana akufoaddoGhana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (Photo: Republic of Ghana, the Presidency)Ghana’s anti-graft body,  Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), which is Transparency International’s Local Chapter, warned that the country “loses close to US$3 billion to corruption annually,” GhanaWeb news portal reported on Wednesday.

The outlet cited GII Executive Director Linda Ofori-Kwafo, who stressed that successive governments have attempted to minimise corruption through “moral crusades to uphold high ethics, the confiscation of properties found to have been acquired through corruption or public reforms,” but that there is still a long way ahead to fight the problem.

While most of the countries of the continent are awash with corruption, tiny Ghana is according to Transparency International (TI) Corruption Index among the least corrupt countries of the continent.

A recent corruption scandal serves as an example for acts that leave “citizens in poverty, joblessness, in their broken homes and with shattered dreams,” said a statement, issued by the The National House of Chiefs, the highest body in Ghana that unites all traditional rulers, chiefs and kings.

The scandal erupted when the Government decided to hand over the country’s power supply system to independent foreign power producers.

Because of this, the “demand for electricity never went up at the anticipated rate due to tariff increases and slow economic growth,” according to the Business Weekly research.

Instead, the plants ended up producing excess capacity, as, reportedly, the installed capacity, according to the Energy Commission of Ghana, is 5,083MW, “almost double the peak demand of 2,700MW, out of which 2,300MW has been contracted on a take-or-pay basis, which means that Ghana is contractually obliged to spend money for excess capacity that is not being consumed.”

This meant that Ghana’s Government is paying more than US$500 million every year for unused electric power.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was criticised for giving away the country’s strategic company - the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to a group of friends, politicians and businessmen allegedly linked to his administration.

Member of Parliament Alhaji Inusah Fuseini described the case as a “disappointment and failure towards the fight against corruption.”