Petty corruption in the Ghanaian police sector

Mohammed, Aisha Abba
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Background of the Study According to Tanzi (1998) corruption has been a part of our societies for many centuries, and this has been an issue that many political regimes have either tried to solve or bury. Some political leaders come into power with the intention to fix the economy and eradicate corruption as their primary goal. However, leaders end up making situations worse for the economy because they lack the understanding of how sensitive corruption is as a problem. Corruption has been in existence for many years, embedded in the roots of our economic development, which is why countries that are highly corrupt are most likely to experience slow development. The issue with fighting corruption is that when a leader comes into power with the aim of building a better nation, the next leader may not necessarily share the same vision. Hence, eradicating corruption in a country could take a longer time than it has been in existence because there are several stages to it. The popularly known definition of corruption is the misuse or abuse of power to personally gain from it (Transparency International, n.d.). Corruption cuts across the public and private sectors or institutions in the country from the highest levels to the lowest stages. Corruption in any nation starts from the top, as high as in the presidential political parties known as grand and political corruption, down to the lowest levels in government institutions referred to as petty or bureaucratic corruption (Elaine Byrne, 2009). These forms of corruption are fraud, bribery, extortion, embezzlement and nepotism. A clear example of corruption starting at the highest level of an institution was during the Nkrumah regime of Republic of Ghana. 4 Ghana, once known as the Gold Coast is West African country formerly colonized by British. The country was led to independence by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on the 6th of March, 1957. Ghana’s highest achievement was becoming the first country in the sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence from colonial rule (About Ghana, 2004). However, with such great achievement came the root of corruption in the county. Ghana had so much pride in becoming the first African country to escape colonial rule and in obtaining higher living conditions, better educational facilities, and more skilled and experienced workers than most other African countries. Consequently, Ghana was supposed to be the model for the newly independent African states. The country however failed, as Ghanaians were shown to be corrupt and inept (Werlin H. H., 1972). According to Werlin H. H., (1972) corruption in Ghana started long before the country gained its independence, but worsened during Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s regime. Under Nkrumah’s regime, corruption was acted as a requirement to meet certain roles, make a gain or achieve an objective in society, that when not met could result to serious failure on that person’s part. Corruption was not only practiced by politicians alone, but by powerful people in the civil service, in commercial corporations, in political parties and so on. The extent of corruption was severe in Ghana under Nkrumah’s administration that it was documented by more than 40 committees of enquiry. The National Development Corporation was set up in 1958 as a legitimate insurance business. However, to facilitate the collection and handling of bribes, this same corporation became an avenue through which commissions and other cash could be collected. Those resistant were effectively 5 disallowed government contracts, thus it became necessary to bribe many levels of the governing body to carry on a business According to Werlin H. H., (1973) an American political scientist argues that the level of corruption is more extensive and effective in developing countries because of the condition under which the administrations are formed. There are no adequate measures for coordination, criticism and control necessary for meaningful legislation. Thus, legislation tends to be poorly formulated in developing countries. Nkrumah left Ghana with serious balance of payments, starting with a considerable large foreign reserve fund of over $500 million at the time of independence. By 1966, the country had an external public debt of over $800 million. Inflation was high between 1964 – 1965 causing a rise in price level to 30 percent, creating serious unemployment. A great deal of Ghana’s economic trouble based on corruption is difficult to determine. Ultimately, the effect of corruption in Ghana weakened the legitimacy of the regime. Corrupt practices have the capacity to affect not just the country but the lives of millions of people in that country. Corruption can be a voluntarily act or it can be imposed on someone when it becomes a norm practiced in that society, as in the case of Nkrumah’s regime. Corruption distorts labor markets, discourages investment, leads to misallocation of resources and alters the distribution of income. Corruption does not affect everyone equally in the society but has a larger effect on the underprivileged class. When the poor are asked to pay bribes, it takes away a higher percentage of their incomes as compared to similar payments by the high class. In this case, it acts as a regressive tax, when the low 6 income earners carry a relatively larger weight than the high-income earners. Corruption leads to poor delivery of public services such as health care and education. Such deterioration affects the lower class because they may have to pay bribes to receive proper services and because they are more dependent on the public amenities (Gale, 2008).
Thesis submitted to the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University College, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, April 2017
corruption, Ghana, police