Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this debate.
I would like to continue from where the Hon Member for Offinso South ended, in particular, about the challenges that anti- corruption agencies face in the country; piecemeal, unsustained enforcements and in particular, lack of resources.
Mr Speaker, we would like to know why, how come that across the political divide, there is always a cry by the anti-corruption agencies that they are under-funded. I would like to say that the problem is not that any one party or the other is not attending to those agencies but in particular, this is because we as a country do not appear to have a culture that supports and sustains anti-corruption activities.
Mr Speaker, why do I say so? In my view, in the countries where anti- corruption activities are sustained, it is the priority of the country members themselves and it reflects in the Government's action, then anti-corruption would be high on the agenda. We cannot implement this action plan successfully unless we build a culture that supports anti-corruption. That culture can be built by making sure that there is no tolerance or breach of any rule.
We are talking about Procurement Act here, it is common knowledge and I have also lived it; that when you go out on the streets now to ask of the price of cement, it would be sold to you between GH¢28.00 and GH¢30.00. But go through Government procurements, all of them, we accept that when Government procures, it should be GH¢35.00. We will not question it; we all think that, that is allright.
That kind of tolerance is what I am talking about. Mr Speaker, elsewhere, the country trains its young people to eschew all things that are dishonest and builds them against corruption. We have examples of countries where from nursery, the children learn rhymes; the teacher enters the classroom and asks, if it is not yours, and the children would answer, do not take it.
Now, they grow up with these things imbedded in them and it is difficult for them to do things that are against the State; to steal.
Mr Speaker, as we are going on, I have read the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) but I regret that I am a bit cynical because, I am afraid that even those that we have put in charge may themselves not be willing to do the things expected of them.
All around us, people in charge of anti- corruption agencies themselves, if we were to go into them one by one, we would get evidence of people themselves; the managers of the anti-corruption systems themselves, the Police Agencies, the Security Agencies, we would get evidence which are sometimes overwhelming that people, those who are in supposed to police systems are themselves practising the corrupt acts that the system was set- up to change.
Mr Speaker, lastly, I would want to talk about us in the political class. Today, I think that it should concern and worry us that the country does not appear to differentiate. So long as you are identified as a politician, you are corrupt. Not because they know that you specifically or even the group you operate in have done anything that could be described as corrupt, but it is because we have refused or failed to give up our members who are caught in acts of corruption.
Indeed, in this day and age, I find it most unacceptable that we could use a whole political party to support a person; one member of that class, who has been found to have engaged in acts that are corrupt or against the law.
Like my leader, Hon Kan-Dapaah said yesterday, that when he was a Minister, if he took a bribe, he would not come and share it with the party or even his President; it would be for him. So, it is not acceptable that when one member of the
class does anything that brings the whole class into disrepute, we tend to send the whole class to support him and allow the person's misconduct to be foisted on all of us.
It is time those of us in the political class looked at that critically, examine ourselves, and exclude people who do acts that tend to bring the entire class into disrepute. Probably, we should name and shame them and let the world know that we do not condone that.
Mr Speaker, the success of this NACAP would depend 100 per cent on the persons charged with the imple- mentation. This is where I challenge all of us to assist the people by constantly reminding them of the principles behind the NACAP and to continue to encourage and help to build a culture of anti- corruption ourselves so that we would have a sustained programme.
Corruption takes away from the poor, making them poorer. It takes away the soul of the country. If you ask me, the integrity of a country is destroyed.