Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and Transparency International have launched the 2020 Government Defence Integrity Index (GDI) in Accra.
Speaking at the launch, Transparency International Project Manager, Camilla Zuliani said, the Ghanaian defence sector is underpinned by robust legislation, providing strong legal provisions against corruption on issues such as procurement, asset disposal and anti-bribery.
Despite these conditions, the Ghanaian defence sector lacks a level of transparency and accountability necessary to effectively protect its institutions against corruption she said.
There is a high level of secrecy and opacity within Ghanaian defence institutions, with the sector often utilizing national security exemptions to bypass transparency requirements.
While frameworks may be strong on paper, legislation is often not fully implemented.
Anti-corruption expertise is lacking among defence personnel and members oversight bodies, limiting their ability to effectively mitigate corruption risks Zuliani added.
She emphasized that, Corruption is not addressed as a strategic issue in military operations, leaving troops ill-prepared to counter corruption in key lines of activity, including contracting within areas of operations.
According to the GDI report, the risk areas which Ghana is faced with such as the operational risk; there is little evidence that corruption is considered a strategic issue in military operations despite senior defence officials publicly recognizing corruption as an issue to be addressed. There is no evidence that the three main defence education institutions address corruption in their officer training or pre-deployment courses.
In West Africa, in recent years, state corruption and weak governance have fuelled popular grievance and diminished the effectiveness and legitimacy of national institutions. While the region has benefited from relative stability, a variety of threats are looming on the security horizon.
Governments are struggling to respond to spikes in Islamic terrorism and intercommunal violence. There are also enduring issues with corruption and drug trafficking that pose severe threats to national stability as they continue unchecked; weak accountability mechanisms and opacity in defence sectors across the region contribute to these problems.
Lack of transparency translates into governments releasing incomplete information on budgets, personnel management systems, policy planning, and acquisitions of military assets. This, in turn, often coupled with lack of expertise and resources, undermines civilian oversight.
Defence sectors in the region benefit from a defence exceptionalism in which they are exempt from regulations such as procurement or freedom of information legislation.
By: Latifa Carlos