Corruption is a form of dishonesty undertaken by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit or a system of fraudulent conduct by a person, group of people or co-operate bodies. This unethical conduct however can be attributed more to persons in positions of authority and may include many activities including bribery,mismanagement, misappropriation and embezzlement of state funds,though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries .
According to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English, corruption is defined as an act of dishonesty especially using bribery or an immoral or wicked act.
It is the abuse of public office for private gain.
In his book titled Fundamental Understanding of Corruption, OGrai MG, explains that the word corruption connotes a particular meaning with each letter specifically describing the behaviour of the corrupt.
A number of factors contribute to the reasons why corruption exist in our society. These include, the individual factor, the organization factor and the societal factor.
The individual factors that cause corruption comprise human greed, disregard for values, low income and urgent necessity, over ambition and belief in money, rationalization for wrong doing, external pressure from boss, lack of professional integrity.
Among the organization factors are lack of good leadership, absence of good organizational culture, lack of transparency and accountability, while the societal factors include erosion of societal values, disregard for rule of law, negative tribalism or nepotism.
Corruption negatively affects different aspects of our nation in diverse ways;
Politically, corruption leads to poor governance, political patronage, political instability, limits press freedom, increased inequality, and undermines democracy and disregard for rule of law.
Economically, corruption leads to poor economy, shoddy work and stalled projects, exorbitant prices of goods and services, lack of domestic and foreign investment, increases costs of doing business and unfair allocation of resources and opportunities.
Some of the social effects of corruption are insecurity, erosion of values,poor infrastructure, poor service delivery, increased food prices, harbouring terrorism, more impoverished citizens, increased mistrust and suspicion, wide gap between rich and the poor.
In Ghana this canker has been a common practice since independence and fighting it has become a problem that is engulfing all of us.Almost all our governmental and non-governmental institutions are characterized by corruption and fraudulent deals of all kinds .Create, loot and share has become the order of the day as some politicians use their offices to unlawfully amass wealth for themselves, their families, friends and cohorts.
The negative attitudes of our corrupt leaders over the years have brought the development of this nation to a stand still.
The situation has and is still undermining our integrity both at home and abroad. This menace has dented our once envious morally upright society with new trends like cyber fraud stemming up in towns and cities over the past decades.
Corruption is no doubt an ancient crime that has in our dispensation of time,paved way for the creation of loopholes and lapses in all government sectors for the siphoning of tax payer’s money.This has down played our national development. Countless number of corruption cases have been recorded over the years but nothing seems to be done to minimize its occurrence. People steal from government coffers and go scot free.
In 2012, Ghana was ranked 64th as one of the highest corrupt nations in the world. Anytime the issue of corruption surfaces in public discussions, politicians from two of Ghana’s big political parties (NDC and NPP) turn to play the blame game and equalisation of corrupt practices of each other.
The spate of corruption, particularly in government circles is very unfortunate and needs urgent correction. Obviously, past and present governments have at one time or the other identified corruption as a major challenge to the development of Ghana in their respective regimes but as to whether the methods adopted to deal with the canker has achieved result or not, we are yet to know.
The fight against corruption which has now graduated from a national crisis to a global crisis has myriads of benefits,some of which include ;better medical care,facilities, quality education, improved security, better roads,reduction in poverty and bad governance will be overcomed.
A survey conducted in 2015 by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Ghana revealed that, corruption level has risen to 72.1%. These findings must be a source of great worry to our society if indeed we intend to fight corruption. The challenge is, how do we as a country try to reduce or curb this menace?
State institutions mandated to investigate corrupt cases are not given the independence and needed logistics to do so; our national debts keep increasing as successive governments come to borrow and go away piling up more debts for younger generations to pay. We need to be serious as concerned citizens and hold our leaders accountable.
Like our current President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo always say “let us be citizens and not spectators”.