Political investment breeds corruption - Expert

Saturday, 04 June 2016 07:08

A renowned accounting expert, Joseph Winful, says the lack of State funding of political parties in the country has led to what he has termed as ‘political investors’.

He argued monies being pumped into the activities of political parties by individuals and corporate entities are investments, noting those companies and individuals will reap big when the party they funded wins political power.

“Because of the nature of our cooperate world here, we tend to come up with what we call political investors. These are persons who will finance the political party through campaigns and so on. When it wins, that is the lottery; the bonanza [for them],” he said.

Mr Winful said this when he took his turn on TV3’s current affairs programme, Hot Issues, to speak on the issue of State funding of political parties. The programme will televise this Saturday at 4:00PM on TV3.

Acting chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Freddy Blay this week admitted there are wealthy people who fund political parties in Ghana, adding “In that case, some people get near power to somehow get their business to go on and we are not happy with that and we think that should change.”

This, Mr Winful said breeds corruption because the individuals and companies funding those parties are not doing so on charitable grounds but rather, view their money for these parties as investment they must profit from at the end.

“I keep telling Ghanaians that there is no entity in Ghana, especially a company, that is [of] a charitable concern, which means he’s financing a political party because the leaders are good looking; they’re nice to be with,” he said.

“It becomes an investment so they’ve got to be paid. That’s where we have a problem because [in] the repayment, the risk is factored into the repayment and it’s a huge one. And then we start shouting corruption, we start shouting sole sourcing but it is part of the process,” he said.

Political fund

Mr Winful is also the Chairman of Civil Society Platform said the State can explore a number avenue to get money for the funding of political parties in Ghana.

For him, Ghana can set up a political party fund just like it did for the National Health Insurance Scheme where monies to the fund are received from varied sources.

“There could be a fund set up; political party fund like we came up with the NHIS or we could have identifiable corporations or companies that are suppose to make contributions into a fund that will be distributed”.

Although he admitted that companies might not be unwilling to contribute to such a fund, “it could be part of the incentive for them to doing business in Ghana.”

Again, he said if governments were to manage the resources and finances of the State well, there would be enough money to use some to fund political parties

“When I look at the waste and the misapplications and so on, I can bet you it’s more than whatever funds that we could use to fund political parties.

Parties audited accounts

Touching on the law that requires political parties to file their audited financial accounts at the Electoral Commission, the former Senior Partner of KPMG observed the parties’ unwillingness to comply is somehow due to the lack of State funding of their activities.

He argued the parties would feel obliged should there be some level of State funding of their activities, saying “You don’t give us fund, we have to go and search for our funds all the time but if there is help from the state to some extent, they will be obliged to account for it because you’ve been given State funds.”

Mr Winful wondered whether when parties are funded by the State, the institutions mandated to enforce the law could be strong and live up to the expectation by ensuring every party complies with it.

“Are our institutions going to be that strong and independent to go after those who actually do not comply with the law?” he asked

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|tv3network.com|Ghana

Twitter @steviekgh