Ghanaians are right to expect reduction in corruption – Yonny Kulendi to Akufo-Addo

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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.”

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his part among other things that corruption is a serious challenge that is affecting the progress of the nation.

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||Ghana

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