Ghanaians are right to expect that corruption would be reduced to the lowest level following the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), a Justice of the Supreme Court, Yonny Kulemndi, has said.
The NACAP was adopted by the Parliament of Ghana as the coordinated anti-corruption policy of Ghana in 2014. The plan identifies collaboration among Anti-Corruption Agencies as a key activity to achieving Strategic Objective 4, which is “to Conduct Effective Investigations and Prosecution of Corrupt Conduct.” NACAP seeks to create a sustainable democratic Ghanaian society founded on good governance and instilled with high ethics and integrity.
Speaking at an International conference on anti-corruption in Accra on Friday December 10, 2021, Justice Kulendi said “The citizens undoubtedly, are right to expect that with the adoption of NACAP, corruption would have been brought under significant control. In a few minutes we will hear what [President Akufo-Addo] has done well and what you have not. For now, permit me to state that the judicial service is a key partner in the fight against corruption.
“By Article 125(5) of the constitution, the judiciary is given the jurisdiction in all matters, civil and criminal, including matters relating to the constitution and such other jurisdictions as Parliament may by law, confer on it. This, the judiciary is clothed with the jurisdiction to adjudicate corruption and other criminal cases prosecuted before the court and to punish those found guilty and recover assets found to be tainted and proceeds of crime. We shall continue to discharge this role without fear or favour , affection or ill -will . We are also takings seriously our role in the implementation of NACAP.
He further indicated that the Judicial Service is strictly enforcing the code of ethics and conduct among judges and magistrates as well as all staff of the Judicial service as part of measures to tackle corruption within the service.
Mr Kulendi stated also that the Judiciary has key roles to minimize corruption in the country hence, the need to enforce the ethics among its members.
“We are also mindful of our role as underscored in Article 11(1) of the UN Conventions against corruption which states as follows ‘bearing in mind the independence of the judiciary and its crucial role in combating corruption each state party in accordance with the fundamental principle s of this legal system and without prejudice to independence take measures to strengthen integrity and to prevent opportunities for corruption among members of the Judiciary. Such measures may include rules with respect to the conduct of members of the judiciary.’
“Among other measures, we are actively enforcing the code of conduct for judges and magistrates as well as the code of ethics for judicial service staff. But there is no doubt that we need to do more. Therefore, with the new vision of building culture of integrity for generations. I believe the judiciary must play a more catalytic role in building integrity in our society.”
He indicated that all efforts must be marshalled to reduce the practice to its lowest ebb in order to realise the needed growth and progress of the nation.
Speaking at the same event, he said it is not only corruption involving high profile persons and politicians that retard growth. Rather, he added, all the petty corrupt practices in all aspect of life negatively affect the nation.
He said “Corruption has been a perennial problem for several decades . Everyone in this room is well aware of the danger it poses to our nation. In trying to address the menace, governments over the years have introduced a host of policies and measures including some unconventional and draconian ones.
“We have promulgated anticorruption decrees with provisions for lengthy jails. We have confiscated personal assets of public officials believed to have been corruptly acquired. We have declared zero tolerance against corruption, we had appealed to the good sense of the Ghanaian through moral crusade for integrity and giving sermons on the sins of corruption.
“We have passed anti-corruption laws, we have strengthened the anticorruption institutions and undertaken public sector financial management and institutional reforms. We have also ratified regional, international anticorruption convention as expressions of our commitment to the global fight against corruption. We have even tie people to the stake merely of suspicion of them being corrupt and shot them dead.
“We have done all these , we have the laws, we have the institutions and yet the problem persists . But it is worth bearing in mind that it is not only the headline corruption , the type that involved politicians and high profile figures that retards our progress and hinders our development.
“The driver who knowingly puts a faulty vehicle on the road with the intention of paying bribe s to the traffic Police man, the Policeman who takes a bribe to allow unlicensed drivers on the road , the planning official who at the receipt of a bribe allows a house to be constructed on the waterway , the GRA official that accepts bribe and allows goods in without the payment of duties , the officials that allow receipt of bribes drugs to be imported into and exported out of our country and all the everyday petty bribe taking. All such actions constitute corruption and retard our progress even if they do not attract headlines.”
Touching on how he had dealt with corruption among his appointees, he said “My job is to act on allegations of corruption by referring the issue to the proper investigative agencies for the relevant inquiry and necessary actions including if required, the suspension of the affected official pending the conclusion of the investigation. That is exactly what has been done since I assumed the mantle of national leadership.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana