Explaining the Problem of Political Corruption in Ghana’s Fourth Republic

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Joseph ASOMAH, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, Canada
Political corruption involving illegal use of power to advance private interests by government officials is one of the major problems impeding development in Ghana since the country gained independence in 1957. In the recent decade, however, reported cases of pervasive political corruption from the judgment debt saga to the recent bus rebranding scandal have caused public outrage. Using relevant publicly available data on specific cases of corruption scandals, this paper proposes a corruption-ignition framework, which argues that the problem of corruption in Ghana mainly stems from an interaction of greed, power, and dysfunctional institutions of accountability. This proposed framework integrates and builds on other theoretical insights, including Klitgaard’s model, opportunity theory, global anti-corruption framework, and rational-choice theory to illuminate the opportunities and the incentives shaping the spate of political corruption in Ghana. It concludes that uncontrolled political corruption is primarily a function of the consistent political leadership failure to aggressively regulate greed, and limit power by enacting, amending, and strictly enforcing relevant legal provisions. It calls on major stakeholders, particularly the political leadership, to critically analyze power structures, and how the mechanisms of accountability are easily compromised with impunity to help institutionalize robust systems, which are not easily amenable to manipulation. This paper extends our current substantive knowledge of the fight against corruption, and the implications this has for anti-corruption crusade, particularly in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa generally.