Bribery & driving in Ghana

I love your Ghana guide, which is my bible as I’m here for an 18-month job .  However, the situation vis a vis bribery is not quite as benign as you describe on pp.85-86, 2009 edition.  I work for a US-funded project that is trying, among other things, to reduce the incidence of bribery along intra-regional (West Africa) trade routes.  It’s pandemic.  And at the individual level in Accra…

My first day driving, I was stopped by a policeman when I inadvertently went through a red light (never mind that the taxis do it all too often and the motos more often than that).  I was in the wrong, no question.  But the policeman asked to get in my car, which I let him do, not knowing “the rules”.  Mistake.  He said if I gave him 20 cedis ($14.00, but still outrageous) he wouldn’t arrest me, which would cost a lot more (true).  I told him it was illegal but gave it to him anyway, and he asked for 10 more, which I refused. Threats of “arrest”
and then being asked for $ are fairly commonplace.  You shouldn’t break traffic laws, of course, but you should also know that if you do, the police are on foot and aren’t going to be able to do much.  Drive away and DON’T pay them.

Again, many thanks for all  your and your colleagues’ invaluable advice (I also used Bradt when I was posted in Rwanda).  I talk more about the car culture in Ghana — as well as other aspects — in my blog, http://grammyinghana.blogspot.com.

Regards,
PL

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