"Ghanaian corruption hushed up by investment promoters"
, 11 October
- While trying to attract Spanish investors to Ghana, the Spanish government, local governments and trade chambers are said to deliberately hide that "Ghana is one of the world's most corrupt countries." This is claimed in a new book presented yesterday in Accra.
Yesterday marked the last day of the Fifth Exposition of Spanish Products in Ghana, held at the Ghana Trade Fair Site in Accra. Not only positive aspects of the Ghanaian-Spanish commerce were presented, also a book denouncing the "endemic cancer" called corruption that is plaguing Ghana was presented by a Ghanaian sociologist.
The two chambers of commerce of the Spanish Canary Islands - headed by their leaders José Miguel Suárez Gil and Ignacio González - were also present at the fair. They, together with officials from the autonomous government of the Canary Islands, yesterday had to face harsh critiques for urging local businessmen to invest in neighbouring West Africa.
Mr Gil, Mr González and the Canary Islands government during the days of the fair were hiding the fact from local journalists that Ghana is "one of the most corrupt countries of the world," decries the book. 'Zero Tolerance. Corruption in the Public Sector of Ghana' is written by the Ghanaian sociologist Iddrisu Haruna. His book was presented in the same hotel where the Canary Islands trade mission to Ghana is lodging.
The trade promoters from the chambers of commerce and local government this week on various occasions celebrated the stability and economic growth in Ghana during the last years and have tried to animate businessmen from the Canary Islands to invest in this West African country.
However, during these presentations they have not made any comment at all of the "generalised corruption that exists in this country before and during its independence" from the United Kingdom, according to statements from Mr Haruna.
In his book, Mr Haruna gives a detailed account of the corruption that prevails in the public administration of Ghana, making particular reference to the current Minister of Tourism. The Canary Islands commercial delegation on Thursday had met with the same Minister.
Mr Haruna claims that Tourism Minister Jake Obeisebi is responsible for the "theft of cedis 150 million" (euros 15,000), which he was said to have taken from the Ghanaian Emergency Fond when he still was Minister of Presidential Affairs under incumbent President John Kufuor.
Last Thursday, Mr Obeisebi in particular had mentioned to the Spanish delegation that his Ministry was interested in an improved tourism exploitation of the 14 historic forts along the Ghanaian coast. Mr Haruna however mentioned that the Minister himself had seized on parts of the funds that originally had been destined for the renovation of one of the forts, which once had been the seat of the Ghanaian government.
Referring to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen - whom the Spanish delegation also had met with - Mr Haruna reveals that the Minister writes out obligatory importation permits that include the fake use of terrains, producing irrelevant costs for investing companies.
Mr Haruna further notes that even the Ghanaian government recently has denounced these "grave" practices by Minister Kyerematen, which are under investigation. State investigations are discovering "many fraudulent operations that have cost our nation millions of cedis" during the last few years, he adds.
Finally, Mr Haruna refers to a publication by the renown organisation 'Transparency International', published in 1997, which described Ghana as "one of the most corrupt states in the world."
The autonomous Spanish Canary Islands, which are located just off North-West Africa, are taking an increased commercial interest in Ghana. Lately, both the island's government and their chambers of commerce have focused on trade with neighbouring Western Africa. Canary Island businessmen especially focus on Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and the Cape Verde islands. Secondary, focus is on Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria.
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