Political Corruption: The Ghana Case

By Victor T. Le Vine | Go to book overview

Introduction

The subject of this study is political corruption in Ghana. I define political corruption as the unscheduled, unsanctioned use of public political resources and/or goods for private, that is, non-public, ends. A detailed elaboration of this definition is contained in chapter 1.


The Study: Background and Scope

Ghana was chosen as the focus of the study because circumstances took the author there at a time when the country was uniquely and intensely preoccupied with the problem of corruption in its midst.1 It may be that a good part of that preoccupation resulted from the revelations of the more than forty Commissions of Inquiry 2 that were appointed during the 1966-69 period by the National Liberation Council (NLC) government in an attempt to discredit the preceding regime-the regime headed by Kwame Nkrumah from 1951 to 1966. Indeed, since so massive a series of revelations about any wrongdoing in government could not fail to excite widespread public interest and introspection, it is perhaps more significant that of all the denigrative themes the NLC might have chosen, it chose corruption as the theme most likely to be widely understood and to have the greatest public impact. Whatever the reasons for this preoccupation, it remained undiminished six years after the collapse of the Nkrumah regime: the country's leading newspapers and journals were still filled with reports of corruption and discussions of causes, effects, and cures; the Busia government, which succeeded the NLC, appointed its own special commission to look into the problem in its broad aspects; and no week passed in which Ghanaian officials at all levels of government, religious leaders and heads of other organizations, and various publicists and scholars failed to discuss the matter of corruption publicly and inveigh, caution, or preach against its evils. Thus, whereas normally it is exceedingly difficult to find any documentation on political corruption anywhere, Ghana, in some of its public.

-xi-

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