Corruption Perception Index: The level of rot from Rawlings to Akufo-Addo

Transparency International since 1995 annually releases its Corruption Perception Index, a ranking of countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.

Just last week the group released the 2019 edition of the rankings which has seen Ghana fall two places further from its 78th position in 2018 to 80th, out of some 180 countries.

A lot of times, the two major political parties: the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress who are the only parties to rule in the Fourth Republic tend to make reference to the annual rankings by Transparency International to either make a defence in their case or to chide their opponent. in this report brings you a review of Ghana’s annual performance on the Corruption Perception Index under the various administrations of the Fourth Constitutional Republic of Ghana.

Jerry John Rawlings – NDC 1992/2001

Even though the Corruption Perception Indexing was instituted in 1995, 3 years after the commencement of Ghana’s Fourth Constitutional Republic, it had to take another three years for the country to make its debut on the rankings in 1998.

This was under the leadership of Jerry John Rawlings, who prior to the 1992 elections had spent years ruling as a military leader.

When Ghana debuted in 1998, the country placed 55 out of 85 countries with a score of 3.6. The scoring system by then was between 1 to 10. The score related to perceptions of the degree of which corruption is seen by business people with a perfect score of 10.00 meaning a totally corruption-free country.

Ghana was ranked 65 out of 99 countries, earning a score of 3.3 in 1999. In 2000, Ghana despite placing 54 in the rankings made a score of 3.5 with the total number of countries ranked reducing to 95.

The legacy of Jerry John Rawlings who cumulatively (military and constitutional terms) ruled Ghana for over 20 years, when it comes to corruption fight is one that Ghanaians remain split over. In his term, one of the most controversial issues of corruption was the sale of some state factories and assets.

Whilst the former president has justified his decisions on several occasions, his critics continue to cite the sale of some state factories and assets as some of the corrupt acts under his regime.

John Agyekum Kufuor – NPP 2001/2008

2002 being the first year of John Agyekum Kufuor’s two terms in office saw Ghana being ranked to 59 out of 91 countries, with a reduced score of 3.4. In 2002 Ghana placed 50 in the rankings out of a total of 102 countries with a score of 3.9.

2003 was bad for Ghana as the country received a score 3.3 which earned the nation 73 in the ranking out of 133 nations. In the final year of Kufuor’s first term, Ghana placed 64 out of 145 countries scoring 3.6.

In 2005 Ghana slipped by rank and was placed 65 out of 158 countries with a score of 3.5. 2006 was no good as the country was ranked farther to 70 out of 165 countries with a score of 3.3.

2007 was no different with Ghana being ranked 69 out of 179 countries with a score of 3.7 and when Kufuor finally left office in 2008, Ghana was placed 67 out of 180 countries with a score of 3.9

Some major scandals including the ‘Hotel Kufuor’, Ghana at 50 spendings and the sale of public lands to NPP ‘cronies’ are some of the issues that fuelled perceptions on corruption under the Kufuor administration.

John Evans Atta Mills – NDC 2008/2012

With the same score as the previous year, Ghana placed 69 out of 180 countries in its first year under Prof. John Atta Mills as president. In 2010 Ghana was ranked 62 with a score of 4.1, in 2011 Ghana ranked 69 with a score of 3.9.

Even though many have tried to dissociate the late former president from the allegations of corruption that emerged under his tenure, accusations of his appointees engaging in corrupt practices formed a major factor in the public’s perception of corruption during his term of office.

John Dramani Mahama – 2012/2016
John Mahama succeeded Atta Mills after the man he was serving as his vice passed away less than 6 months to the end of his term. In that year Ghana was ranked 64 with a score of 45. In 2013, John Mahama started his four-year term after winning the 2012 elections. In 2012 Ghana improved with a rank of 63 with a score of 46, after the scoring system was changed to percentage.

In 2014 Ghana made further gains by placing 61 with the same score as the previous year. In 2015 Ghana increased its score to 47 and was ranked 56.

However, in the last year of the Mahama administration, Ghana was de-ranked to 70 with a reduced score of 43.

The NPP led by current president Akufo-Addo relied heavily on alleged corruption in the John Mahama administration in their 2008 campaign, which ultimately won them power.

Some of the cases they were quick to cite included the GYEEDA and SADA scandals as well as the ‘Ford bribery’ allegation.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – 2017/Present

In 2017 President Akufo-Addo came to office at the back of a campaign promise to fight corruption, in his first year, Ghana’s rank was reduced to 81 with a reduced score of 40. In 2018 there was an improvement for Ghana as it was ranked 78 with a single point increase in its score of 41.

Having won power at the back of promises to fight corruption, critics of the Akufo-Addo government say despite taking actions such as the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, the president’s fight against corruption has been a mere talk. With the president’s final year of his first term already commenced, some people say his tenure has been another term that has seen corruption in the country grow in roots.

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