Cape Coast — The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has affirmed his commitment not to set aside due process in the fight against corruption in the country and said, his administration was committed towards enforcing the law on corruption.
He explained that, every single allegation of corruption against any member of his government had been investigated by independent bodies such as Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Criminal Investigation Commission (CID) and in some cases by parliament.
“It is not my job to clear or convict any person accused of wrongdoing or of engaging in acts of corruption. That is the job of the courts and law enforcement agencies,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said this in a speech at the opening of this year’s conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) in Cape Coast.
The five-day conference is on the theme: “Ensuring high standards and integrity in public life; the role of the legal profession”.
President Akufo-Addo said he would place his government’s record on corruption for public scrutiny and said the current administration under his leadership, had taken the boldest initiative so far in the country to reform and strengthen the capacity of institutions to tackle corruption in the country’s history.
He further stated that: “My job is to act on allegation of corruption by referring issue or issues to the proper investigative agencies for the relevant enquiry or action including if necessary the suspension of the affected official pending the conclusion of investigations”.
That, he said, was exactly what had been done since January 2017 and proceeded to mention a number of allegations against members of his administration on a case by case basis.
President Akufo-Addo further stated that, none of the accountability institutions of state including the Office of Special Prosecutor had indicated of any pressure from the executive over their investigations.
“There are some who will not accept my method of proceeding and characterised me as a clearing agent because for them the mere allegation is enough to merit the condemnation of a public official,” he indicated.
He said, if not controlled, corruption can dampen the economic aspirations of any nation, saying, “Globally, the World Economic Forum has estimated the cost of corruption around the world at some US$2.6 trillion a year.”
The Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo, in her address, urged lawyers in the country to ensure that their work produces the much sought-after values of justice, fairness and the rule of law that started the journey of law making.
She explained that, it was these values that would allow for the strength and stability that provoked the efforts of law making, saying, “Our call is to simply serve the public, our call is to simply serve the communities”.
“We are required to be the guidance of rights, interpreters of the concept of justice and advocates for justice for both the strong and weak without fear or favour or affection” she stated.
Justice Torkornoo urged lawyers to be diligent in their work by ensuring that every citation they worked with their names and reference was correct.
She stated that, diligence, integrity, independence of mind and research would also weed out the horror of the public expecting their counsel to be paid fees and to be given more money ostensibly to bride court officials and judicial officers.
She urged lawyers to see themselves as necessary partners in safeguarding the integrity of the nation’s justice system.