Stop abusing commissions of enquiry – lawyer warns Presidency

A legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong, has asked the Presidency to take a cue from the processes being used by the judiciary to purge itself of judges alleged to have engaged in corrupt acts.

He explained that the practice where the executive arm of government sets up commissions of enquiry to look into allegations of corruption among its members, which at the end comes to nought, only deepens corruption.

Speaking on TV3’s The Big One segment of News @ 10, Mr Oppong observed the executive has been hiding behind these commissions over the years to shield people in government, particularly so by issuing white papers to set aside recommendations of the said commissions.

“When matters [corruption] like this happens or are alleged against members of the executive, then they quickly set up commissions of enquiry, exonerate them by issuing a white paper to set aside the recommendations of the commission. At best, they will ask the people to resign and give them further positions in the Presidency and we continue to pay them, they’re not accountable…” he said

However, he said when it came to the issue of the judiciary, although they could have used a commission of enquiry to investigate the judges implicated in the scandal, the judiciary chose to go through the proper processes.

“This so called judicial corruption could have also be a subject of a commission of enquiry but no, when it came to them [the judiciary], they have gone through the process which is good.

I think it’s a wake up call that as a people, we should really be on the executive to stop using this commission of enquiry and white paper to set aside recommendations.

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If we continue like that, allowing the executive to continue to do that, this fight against corruption will be against everybody but the executive, where we will see huge allegations against them,” he explained.

He said as a people, we should let the executive understand that we will not accept “the improper use of commission of enquiries to protect their own” and bastardise their foe.

Amidu – Anas discourse healthy

The lawyer was commenting on the statement issued Monday by former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Martin Amidu in which he asserted among other things that the investigation by Anas Aremeyaw Anas into the judiciary was State-sponsored in order to divert attention from corruption within the political elite.

Anas has since denied the claims by Mr. Amidu but Mr Amidu in another statement issued Monday evening insisted on his claim, noting he would provide more details in a yet-to-be published statement on Anas’ firm, Tiger Eye PI.

But the lawyer, Mr Oppong has indicated the discourse between the two can only enhance the work of the two individuals and their course of fighting corruption within the society

 “The discourse can only enhance the work of the two of them. Because then they realise in case they may have forgotten, that while you’re watching someone, others are also watching you. While you’re exposing someone, others may also expose you,” he said.

 He added: “If everyone sees what you’re doing right, then you’re definitely doing everything wrong. That’s the way I see it that’s why I was surprised that especially no journalists was seen questioning what has been done [by Anas].

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He underscored the need to challenge people in the performance of their functions in order for them to give off their best

State sponsorship dangerous

On the issue of whether the State sponsored Anas in his investigations into the judiciary, Mr Oppong said that would have been very serious on grounds that it will somewhat incapacitate Anas to investigate the Executive.

He said if the claims by Mr Amidu are true, then it would have been surprising for the executive to sponsored investigation into the judiciary, which he said, is the supervisor of the executive and has been the only institution that can refuse executive interference.

“If the government is the one that is to be investigated and the government sponsored you to investigate another organ of State [judiciary], how will it be possible that you can investigate that other organ of state [the executive], which is the executive, that has sponsored you,” he asked

He added: “…The danger may be whoever pays you may be insulated from being investigated and if it happens to be the Executive, which is already so powerful, then that will be quite dangerous”.

Reputations at state

He said he does not think that both Mr Amidu and Anas are ready to soil their hard won reputation, and as much do everything to protect that.

“I may not know the details Mr. Martin Amidu knows. I don’t think he’s about to soil his hard won reputation in this regard. Perhaps he may do all of us a great favour if there is something more.

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I’m happy they [Anas and Tiger Eye PI] have come out to deny it. If Mr. Amidu has something more to contradict it, the difficulty can only get better,” he stated.

By: Stephen Kwabena Effah||Ghana

Twitter: @steviekgh