The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) are undertaking the first-ever actual corruption survey to provide the right information on the levels of corruption in the country.
Currently, the two institutions are evaluating about 250,000 households, using the methodology of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), a United Nations corruption agency, for the survey.
Data collection officials are currently on the field across the country to obtain information to produce a report that will shape how Ghana fights corruption, going forward.
When completed, the survey will take the fight of corruption to another level, where corruption will not be based on perception but the reality on the ground.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Friday, the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal, said the survey would not only expose how corruption manifested in households and the regional prevalence but also serve as a baseline to deploy effective measures better than what the corruption perception index offered.
He said the work would, therefore, provide the country the opportunity to define the level of corruption with data of real cases, instead of the corruption perception index, to support the fight against the menace.
Over the years, Ghana’s score and ranking on corruption has been measured by Transparency International (TI), through its local chapter, the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), as an index of people’s perception.
“We are currently in the field and hoping to do an evaluation of 250,000 households, out of which, when the report comes out in June, we hope the baseline, in terms of where we stand on actual corruption, will give us the basis to see what we need to do annually to improve the fight against corruption,” he said.
“It is not about perception but based on the reality of Ghanaians who have, one way or another, been made to get a service either by giving money or doing something corrupt,” he explained.
Although Ghana had improved on its fight against corruption over the years through various institutions, it could not continue to rely on perception to deal with issues of corruption, he indicated.
“The whole issue of corruption is based on perception,” Mr Whittal said, adding that with corruption perception index, it was not clear who fed the perception, who gave the details and who was interviewed.
“We don’t know because it is done by TI, using businesses and others which may not necessarily be available for anybody to question,” he explained.
CHRAJ, Mr Whittal said, had the mandate to protect and promote administrative justice to ensure that the government and its officers were accountable and transparent.
As a novel initiative, he said, recommendations of the survey could lead to certain law reforms and changes in certain attitudes.
The survey would again help CHRAJ, as an investigating body, to act and use the information for advocacy work in terms of getting people to know what they ought to do and not do when it came to issues of corruption, he added.
An assessment by Transparency International shows that the country has made significant strides in the fight against corruption.
The drivers include the introduction of anti-corruption legislation with respect to financial administration, public procurement, internal audit and whistleblowing.
Parliament has also improved its watch-dog status with its Public Accounts Committee holding public sittings to expose issues of corruption.
The establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to tackle corruption without fear or favour by prosecuting corruption cases has boosted the confidence of the citizenry that corrupt practices in the public sector would be reduced.
The Mr Whittal expressed the hope that erasing the perception and providing factual evidence of corruption would put Ghana in a better position to deal with the menace, which affected its development.