Fact-Check: Has Akufo-Addo’s gov’t better funded anti-corruption institutions than others?

On August 19, 2021, the leadership of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House.

The focus of the meeting is not a difficult guess – Corruption. It is a subject the President is very familiar with, it partly contributed to his winning power in 2016. His campaign anchored largely on corruption and mismanagement, labelling the erstwhile John Mahama government corrupt and incompetent.

But after six years as President, many Ghanaians feel that Akufo-Addo’s lofty rhetoric on fighting corruption, including claims of adopting Investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ style, has just been what it was – mere words. Even more worrying, according to Transparency International’s corruption perception index, many people think graft has worsened under his tenure.

Indeed, Akufo-Addo himself has been noted to be muting his loud rhetoric on the subject of corruption since becoming president. Fact-Check Ghana’s sister investigative journalism outlet, The Fourth Estate, found that the president failed to talk about corruption for two consecutive State of the Nation Addresses (January 2021 and March 2021). In fact, in an almost  13,000-word combined speech from the two addresses, Akufo-Addo did not mention the word corruption, graft or any associated word to it. It was the first time in 13 years a president had done that.

But anytime President Akufo-Addo decides to talk about corruption, one claim is sure to surface – that he has funded accountability or anti-corruption institutions more than any other government.

So, when he addressed the leadership of the GACC on the floor of the Jubilee House, he re-echoed it.

“I don’t think that any government has mobilised resources to give the opportunity for anti-corruption agencies of the state to function as efficiently as this government has done. It is a matter of record,” Akufo-Addo said.

For well over six years, this claim has been Akufo-Addo’s response to his critics who chided him for promising more in the fight against corruption but doing worse. He first made the claim at the State of the Nation Addresses (SONA) of 2018, after a year of being in power:

“I believe it bears repeating here that, thanks to these boring figures, for the first time in a long while, we have been able to provide better budgetary support to the constitutionally-mandated institutions that hold government accountable, i.e. Auditor-General, Parliament, Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), and the Police,” he said

President Akufo-Addo repeated the claim in both the 2019 and 2020 SONAs. In 2021, he said his government had more than increased two-fold budgetary allocations to anti-corruption institutions.

“That is why, within two years of being in office, we more than doubled funding for accountability institutions of state, like CHRAJ, EOCO, the Judiciary and the Auditor General,” Akufo-Addo said.

President Akufo-Addo has over the years maintained that his government has better funded anti-corruption institutions than erstwhile John Mahama’s administration

In the recent 2023 SONA, the president made the claim again.

“[We have] improved significantly the financing of governance and anticorruption MDAs like the Ministry of Justice and Office of the Attorney General, NCCE, CHRAJ, EOCO etc.,” President Akufo-Addo said

But are these claims true?

A two-step approach to verify the President’s claim

To verify the President’s claim, Fact-Check Ghana used the Right to Information Law to request data on budgetary allocations and the actual amount released by the government to all the anti-corruption institutions.

Three of the institutions provided the data – Audit service, Judicial Service and the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

Fact-Check Ghana opted to analyse government funding to the anti-corruption institutions by comparing allocations under the John Mahama government of 2013 – 2016 to the first term of the Akufo-Addo government from 2017 – 2020 as they were the years the data were readily available.

The analysis was done on two levels:

Firstly, actual budgetary funds released to the anti-corruption institutions from 2013 – 2020 were compared to ascertain if President Akufo-Addo and his incumbent new patriotic party (NPP) have indeed increased and more than doubled the allocations to the institutions relative to the previous government.

Secondly, Fact-Check Ghana analysed how much funds the government released to the anti-corruption institutions out of the originally approved budgets for the institutions annually for the period of 2013 to 2020. Thus, we sought to measure what percentage of the budget requested by the anti-corruption institutions was eventually released and disbursed for their work.

Computing the current value of the amount disbursed

President Akufo-Addo may have made the claims by just considering the face value or the nominal value of the funding provided to the accountability institutions. But monies provided in different years are incomparable because the value of money and its purchasing power changes over time owing to inflation and the frequent changes in general prices of goods and services. For instance, how much will one pay for a plot of land or a two-bedroom house that costs  GHs 250,000 in 2013 in 2023? There’s therefore the need to compute the current value of the budgetary allocations over the aforementioned periods.

After several interviews and enquiries on the best way in calculating the value of money over a period of time, many economic and financial experts prescribed the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

“Using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate the value of money can indeed provide a holistic and accurate assessment of inflation and its impact on the purchasing power of the currency in Ghana,” Dr. Dennis Nsafoah, a Ghanaian Economics Professor at Niagra University, Canada, explained.

According to Dr Nsafoah, the CPI is a globally-used measure that tracks changes in the average prices of a basket of goods and services commonly consumed by households. He added that “it reflects the local and international market demand and supply factors, making it a comprehensive indicator for assessing price changes over a specific period.”

In Ghana, the CPI is provided by the Ghana Statistical Services (GSS) every month. According to the GSS, the CPI measures proportionate changes in the prices of a fixed basket of goods and services that households in Ghana consume. It is the changes in the index that is expressed as inflation in the country, the GSS says.

Since 2022, the GSS has provided the CPI using 2021 as the base year. Prior to 2022, the GSS used the CPIs of 2018 and 2012 as the base years for the periods of 2013- 2018, and 2019-2020 respectively. This makes any comparison using the CPIs of the periods uneven.

Fact-Check Ghana collected the CPI values for 2013-2020 by calculating the averages of the monthly CPIs provided by the GSS. But to ensure an even calculation, the CPIs were regenerated using a uniform base year. Below is the table:

Year CPI
2013 111.61
2014 128.9
2015 151
2016 177.38
2017 199.33
2018 218.94
2019 238.95
2020 262.71

Using the current CPI of 170.5 provided by the GSS at the end of May 2023, Fact-Check Ghana computed the current monetary values of the allocation received by the anti-corruption institutions from the government using the formula below:

 Current CPI

________    X Amount received by the institution in the Year

CPI of Year

The three tables below present the amount received by the institutions and their current values for the Audit Service, Judicial Service and CHRAJ from 2013 – 2020.

       Table 1:  Audit Service

The data from Table 1 above shows that over the eight-year period (2013-2020), the two governments of John Mahama and Akufo-Addo generally increased funding for the Audit Service as the years progressed.

The Akufo-Addo tenure (2017- 2020) saw a cumulative allocation of 681 million Ghana cedis compared to the cumulative 528 million Ghana cedis provided to the Audit Service by the John Mahama administration (2013 – 2016). The difference in the allocation which is 153 million Ghana cedis represents a 29 percent increment between the funds provided by the Akufo-Addo and John Mahama’s administrations.

    Table 2:  Judicial Service

From Table 2 above, while the Akufo-Addo tenure (2017- 2020) funded the Judicial Service with 788 million Ghana cedis, the John Mahama administration (2013 – 2016) provided 800 million Ghana cedis to the Service. The difference between the funding of the two administrations to the Judicial Service is GHS 11,507,769.36. The figure indicates that comparatively, the Akufo-Addo administration in its first term (2017-2020) provided 1.4 percent less funding to the Judicial Service.

    Table 3:  CHRAJ

The John Mahama (2013 – 2016) and Akufo-Addo (2017- 2020) governments funded CHRAJ with 70 million and 81 million respectively, from Table 3 above. Thus, Akufo-Addo’s tenure increased funding allocation by GHS 11,232,328.68, representing 16 percent.

In conclusion, the data shows that President Akufo-Addo’s government increased funding to the Audit Service by 29% and CHRAJ by 16%. Thus, when compared to the erstwhile John Mahama tenure of 2013- 2016, Akufo-Addo’s government from 2017 to 2020 increased funding to two out of the three anti-corruption institutions, although insignificantly.  However, the incumbent Akufo-Addo government within the same period (2017-2020) reduced funding to the Judicial Service by 1.4% comparatively. Also, the data on funding to the three anti-corruption does not support the President’s claim of “more than doubling funding” to the institutions.

Therefore, as it concerns the Audit Service, Judicial Service and CHRAJ, President Akufo-Addo’s claim of significantly increasing funding to the institutions is inaccurate, and the assertion that his government has more than doubled funding to them is false.

In part 2 of this analysis, Fact-Check Ghana will assess how much funds the government has over the years released to the anti-corruption institutions out of the monies they originally requested for.  

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