The Roots of Corruption: The Ghanaian Enquiry Revisited

Due to its deleterious and corrosive consequences on politics, governance, security and socio-economic development, corruption has engaged the attention of the international community, politicians and citizens. Several strategies including reform of the constitutional, legal and institutional framework have been implemented by all countries including Ghana to curb the scourge of corruption but they have remained largely unsuccessful. As a contribution to the debate over corruption, the paper revisits some of the causes of corruption. After a review of the literature on corruption, the paper discusses the findings of the Corruption Survey of the IEA in the following areas (i) understanding of and awareness about corruption; (ii) opportunities for corruption; (iii) motives and causes of corruption; (iv) evidence and perception of extent of corruption; and (v) combating corruption. The paper found that traditional and cultural values and practices may not necessarily be the major cause of corruption in Ghana. Traditional practices in themselves do not support corruption; it is rather individuals who misinterpret some of these practices for their own selfish needs or ends.