Jun 19 Freetown
Togolese Government is conscious of the existence of corruption in the Public sector. Then anti-corruption institutions have been created. The court of account is included in the constitution and on 28 July 2015, the high authority of prevention and fight against corruption and similar offences (HAPLUCIA) was created. But they are not doing what they were expected to do. acti has been
CORRUPTION A CENTRAL CHALLENGE IN TOGO
1. Since the independence of Africa countries, corruption takes place in Public Administration and has been gradually extended to the private sector.
Without encountering obstacles, corruption has developed and its manifestation is in many forms. Corruption is one of the main causes of poverty in Africa. Togo one of the West Africa countries is classified 117th least corrupt nation out of 180 countries by Transparency International.
2. According to World Bank, corruption involves behavior on the part of officials in the public and private sectors in which they (public and private officials) improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves and/or those close to them, or induce others to do so, by misusing the position in which they are placed .
For ordinary people, corruption is any illegal exchange of any service against a personal interest to the detriment of the general interest. Considering above definitions, and looking at what is happening in Togo, it is clear that the phenomenon of corruption really exists to a high level thereby undermining the economy of the country. In Togo corruption has reached a dangerous level in public sector. Despite government’s attempts to eradicate it, all efforts remain ineffective. Corruption will not be eradicated easily without strong decisions and practices.
3. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the way of eradicating corruption in Togo. This paper will reveal the real causes of corruption and the impact of corruption in public sector. Finally, an attempt will be made to outline a possible way to eradicate corruption in Togo. It is more than imperative to eradicate or reduce corruption because no country can develop without being corrupt free. The paper will be limited to corruption in public sector which ensures countries develop. It is assumed that readers have knowledge in public sector and their role.
The aim of this paper is to highlight corruption in Public sector in Togo with a view to make recommendation to eradicate it.
CAUSES OF CORRUPTION IN PUBLIC SECTOR IN TOGO
4. Corruption has several forms and the following acts are qualified corrupt practices: bribery, embezzlement, fraud, intimidation, extortions, and abuse of power. Although they are said to be unethical according to moral standard, corruption affect all strata of society in Togo. But the public sector is the most affected place. To fight corruption, it is imperative to know the reason why it is spreading everywhere. Some of the causes of corruption in public sector in Togo are as follow:
a. Poor recruitment procedures of Public servants. In Africa countries such as Togo, job opportunities are very rare. When it comes randomly to recruit public servants in certain services, the roots of corruption take place there. Those who are in the position of decision recruit the members of their families and those close to them. Some who are unqualified compete by paying money. These kind of public servants recruited with favouritism, become mostly actors of corruption in their different workplaces. For them it is normal to get extra profit to compensate for the money spent to have this job. Others offer free services to members of their families despite this services are supposed to make money for the country in terms of tax. Therefore, there is the need for government to ensure fair methods of recruitment of public servants so that competent qualified people are given opportunities.
b. Low wages. The low rate of salaries in public sector is one of the main causes of employees pain. Then they are often tempted to look for money through illegal channels. In Togo the labour union held strike against low salaries in 2011. After a long battle, the government signed an agreement which came into effect in January 2012. This agreement set the minimum wage to 35,000 FCFA ($ 63.67) . However, housing for a reduced family rises to about $35 per month. How such official could manage and take care of his family? Hence, there is the need for Government to revisit low wages of workers to stand the prevailing cost of living.
c. Over ambitious and Greediness. The industrial boom of Asia, new developed countries has poured on the Togolese market of the different category of material goods that contribute to the human wellbeing (car, furniture, appliances, media, luxurious gadgets etc.). Aiming to afford this wellbeing material whatever the price to pay, any Togolese from all strata embarks on over ambitious acquisition of money. For this purpose everyone wants to become rich even young officials recruited. Because wages are inadequate, they create tortious ways to make money. Thus it is important for Government to ensure that all public servants dealing with public funds are regularly controlled by the court of auditors.
d. Lack of Ethics values. Since the 1990s, the wind of Western democracy has been blowing in the francophone countries of West Africa. This democracy has been misunderstood by the people who confuse it with libertarianism. So many officials, who have such mistaken thinking, reject any moral value and engage in corrupt acts in their workplace. To inculcate these moral values, there is the need for government to sensitize public servants. Ethics and religions programs should be initiated in institutions and services to raise awareness among public servants about the importance of moral values.
e. Lack of denunciation of illegal act. Every citizen do not have habit to denounce the corruption, they are not informed about citizenship. People believe that only the police or a State authority is empowered to denounce or arrest fraudsters and corrupt people. When the corrupt agents organize fraud in their services, even colleagues know, no one dares to denounce them. Very often corrupt people are the most respected because they are rich. Then there is the need for state elders to sensitize citizens to understand that states property must be protected by everyone for the countrys development.
f. Culture. In Togo life in community has inherited ancestral values of sharing and mutual assistance. So some State agents offer free services to their relatives instead of paying tax for those services. In hospitals for example, some health workers bypass the payment of tickets for medical consultation to their families at the detriment of the State profit. Hence there is the need for the Government to establish surveillance system to catch and punish those defaulters.
g. Lack of strict punishment. The law is too tolerant in Togo. The Parliament has not provided strict and enough laws against corruption. Some corrupt practices are not punishable according to the law. When corrupt people are denounced some of them are not punished. Others are slightly punished because of law weaknesses or Politicians influence over the jurisdiction. As result others will continue stealing or doing corrupt activities. Without coercive measures to deter fraudsters corruption will not stop.
IMPACT OF CORRUPTION IN PUBLIC SECTOR IN TOGO
5. Corruption has several effects in public sector in Togo. Some of them are as follows:
a. Economic Loss. Taxes are the main source of funds for a countrys budget. In corrupt country like Togo, business men usually give bribes where they are expected to pay considerable taxes. Corrupt public servants in those offices accept very often those bribes for their own interest destroying state income. For example some Togolese customs officers are very often corrupted by business men. Not only they destroy the economy, they allow dangerous goods to pass through into the country. So that even some food products sold in market are expired and unqualified. Frequent seizures of infected or perishable products mediatised by the hygienic service are proof of this. At the top level of institutions also most often, public funds are stolen. Some managers used funds allocated to the public projects (road, building) for their own interest. The consequence of that unlawful behaviour is underdevelopment. Therefore there is an important need for Government to develop adequate monitoring systems such as cameras, private anonymous detectives and technical tools to monitor directly or indirectly every service in public sector.
b. Poor service delivery. The poor quality of service rendered in the public sector is one of the impacts of corruption:
(1) This poor quality in some cases is consequence of unqualified servants recruited with favouritism. On the other hand this poor quality of service is due to the irresponsibility of some corrupt agents. They delay service delivery intentionally with a view to demand money before delivering those services. Such acts are noticed at the town Hall and in others public agencies. Indeed there is further need for the Government to take control of all educational system to ensure people are having good education and ensures during different exams that graduates are only awarded to deserving students.
(2) The most dangerous impact of corruption on quality of service is in health realm. Doctors and nurses play with patient life. If somebody has a patient, he should have a relationship with a health agent who should help him/her or he/she should have extra money to negotiate for good patient care. Usually, heath agents dont render quality services for poor patients despite their sickness require emergency attention and this leads to loss of lives. Here again monitoring with independent detectives is important. This system is being experienced in one of Togolese hospital CHU SYLVANUS OLIMPIO: Detectives are among patients and visitors looking for any illegal acts commit by Doctors and nurses during their work. There is the need for the minister of health to ensure this method be extended to others hospitals.
c. Corrupt justice. The judicial system in Togo is corrupt and is losing credibility. According to international observers, the Togolese judicial system is plagued by difficulties due to the great political influence of the Presidency. This explains the prolonged and un-judgemental detention of political opponents, and the impunity of political allies. The institution supposed to protect the right of citizens has become pesky for citizens. Corruption has its ramification throughout the system. Justice is unjust contrary to the thought of Aristotle on the virtue of justice. The accessibility to justice is another negative aspect in Togo. In case of litigation the party with the peculiar means employ good lawyers, so this person has the confidence to win the trial. Few legal audiences are granted to poor peoples, hence there is the need for the Government to ensure justice for everyone and establish an independent judiciary system.
6. Togolese Government is conscious of the negative impact of corruption in Public sector. Some effort has been made to fight corruption. The court of audit exists even theoretically. On 28 July 2015, the high authority of prevention and fight against corruption and similar offences (HAPLUCIA) was created. Its mission is to combat any form of fraud and economic sabotage. But until today, the activities of this institution are limited to few meetings discussing on corruption. However concrete actions should be taken by the Government fight corruption.
7. Corruption is much embedded in public sector in Togo. Unlawful acts as bribery, embezzlement, fraud, intimidation, extortions, and abuse of power are noticed in several institutions. Those acts are likely justified by the recruitment of unqualified public servants, who are not able to ensure good services delivery. Corruption is also caused by low wages given to public servant despite life expensiveness; the lack of strict punishment against corrupts acts and the lack of ethical values. Few people care of righteousness. In the society corrupt people are respected instead of being disavowed (paragraphs 4a, b, d and 4g).
8. Corruption deeply rooted in society has dangerous impact on the economy: It is difficult for government to collect efficiently taxes for a sufficient budget. At the same time enormous public funds are misused or theft. The Public projects for human wellbeing cannot be realised. Poor people have not access to certain public services (Paragraphs 5a and 5b).
9. The judiciary system which is supposed to ensure human right is corrupt. Justice is for rich people. Then Togolese dont trust judges performance because they are not fair. If strong decisions are not taken against corruption, never the country will be developed (Paragraph 5c)
9. Given extent of corruption in Togo and knowing that that people tend to destroy public goods, concrete actions must be taken by the Government for the success of the fight against corruption. The following recommendations must be considered:
a. The government must ensure a good education to youth and ensure only deserving student are awarded with graduates in order to enhance performance in workplace in the future (paragraph 4a and paragraph 6).
b. The Government must revise salaries of public servants and build accommodations for them (paragraph 4b).
c. Government must enhance the power of the institutions fighting corruption (court of auditor and HAPLUCIA), provide with strong laws and ensure their independence from executive power (paragraph 4g, 5c and 6).
d. The Government must monitor every service by using private anonymous agents, cameras.
e. Ethics and religious programs must be initiated in schools, institutions and services to inculcate moral values to public servants (paragraph 4d).