Lecturer Calls For Spiritualised Sanction Regime To Curb Corruption

Professor Justice Nyigmah Bawole, the Head of the Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), is urging African countries to revisit indigenous cultural traditions, adopt and adapt various aspects that are compatible with African's needs, goals and circumstances in dealing with corruption.

According to him, the intractable 'wicked problem' of corruption that has spread across the continent can be minimised, if not completely erased from the society, by applying spiritual sanctions to officials who engage in corrupt practices.

He believes that, "elevating the sanctioning regime higher to include the spiritual realm where exacting punishment for corruption is seen as a duty on behalf of all," can serve as a deterrent to others.
Prof. Bawole said this when he took his turn on the Inter-college Lecture Series platform to deliver a lecture on the topic, "Corruption as a 'Wicked Problem' in Africa: Culture, Values, and the Paradox of the 'Collective'" on Thursday, 5th October, 2017 at the Great Hall.

Although corruption is a global problem, he bemoaned the deep-seated level of the practice in politics and businesses, particularly across Africa.

In 2007, a World Bank report shows that at the business and individual levels, an estimated $1.5 trillion is paid in bribes across the world which constitutes about 2% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and in fact, ten (10) times more than the development assistance some developing countries get. Also, the Transparency International (TI) estimates that between 30-45% of prices of commodities such as water is as a result of corruption and 50% additional costs are added to procurement in such projects because of corruption.

He noted that this phenomenon, driven by self-interest and an innate desire of public officials to take away from the 'collective' is in sharp contrast to the African Ubuntu philosophy that classifies Africa as a collectivist society. He explained that collectivism embodied in this philosophy drives many deep-seated values and cultural elements in many parts of Africa and traditionally shapes attitudes to common pool resources. However, due to self-seeking public officials in many countries in Africa are battling with the intractable problem of corruption.

In his closing remark, the Provost of the College of Humanities, Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, who chaired the program said, in order to minimise corruption, it is imperative to institutionalise strong structures and systems that will make it difficult for people to engage in corrupt practices.

Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Provost of College of Humanities
Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Provost of College of Humanities

He argued that, in some developed countries, the State ensures that its citizens have access to free healthcare, free education to high school level, and access to loan schemes at the university level. These, he said, make the citizens more nationalistic because the State cares for them.

The inter-college lecture series hosted by the various colleges within the university provides the platform to lecturers and researchers to present their research to members of the university community.

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