Press Releases of Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Source: Forum for Governance and Justice
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE FORUM FOR GOVERNNCE AND JUSTICE ON THE RIGHT OF THE CITIZENRY TO JUSTICE AND IMPROVING
GOVERNANCE IN GHANA
[Monday May 30, 2011]
The Forum for Governance and Justice is a grouping of like-minded persons committed to influencing the growth of our democratic culture, social transformation and the delivery of justice.
The Forum intends to harness the expertise, experience and principled positions of its members to think through matters that bother on governance, human rights and respect for the rule of law. It is our determination to share our views and contribute to the improvement of the aforementioned issues through various public events, research-based seminars and the submission of memoranda on identified themes.
Through our actions and activities, the Forum hopes to among others, improve and enhance public knowledge and action, influence public policy, enhance governance, promote respect for human rights, and contribute to the strengthening of democratic and justice institutions.
Ghana has over the years demonstrated that it has embraced multi-party democracy, enhancing governance and assess to justice. Unfortunately, some developments over the last few weeks, which prompted the actualisation of this Forum, raise serious concern that we must act on.
And in that regard, we wish to associate ourselves with the statement issued by the National Organising Committee of the 11th Annual Constitution Week. The description of the four lawyers sent to the General Legal Council by some judges, as Anti-Corruption Promoters is most apt.
The Forum for Governance and Justice wishes to support the position of the four legal practitioners, if they infact made the statements attributed to them, that there is corruption in the judiciary. We congratulate them for bringing attention to the issue, which many others have had cause to talk about privately.
Instead of attacking the four lawyers for saying what many ordinary people of this country know and say everyday, we wish to urge the Chief Justice, the Judicial Council and the General Legal Council to rather loosen up and announce workable steps towards cleansing the judiciary of corruption.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a matter for Dr Raymond Atuguba, Abraham Amaliba, David Annan and Larry Bimi.
This is about the delivery of justice, it is about our access to justice, and it is about people paid by the state to ensure that you and I can access Justice, rather working hard to deny us that right.
The decision of the Supreme Court to deny a citizen his right to justice because according to them Dr. Atuguba was representing the person in court is a serious infringement on the rights of us the people of Ghana.
It is the considered opinion of the Forum that the Supreme Court judges who took that decision have negated this country’s adherence to the rule of law.
We wish to call on the guilty judges to rescind their decision in the interest of the administration of justice, the rule of law and the promotion of good governance.
The Forum also wishes to call on the Judicial Council in the interest of the citizen’s right to justice, to ensure that the four lawyers, who are being persecuted because some judges may have cobwebs in their closets, are allowed to work without hindrance.
Has the Judiciary itself and for that matter Chief Justice Georgina Wood and his predecessor, Justice Acquah all not had an opportunity to express concern about the need to curb corruption in the judiciary?
Are the judges and magistrates saying that each and every one of them is above reproach and cannot be faulted in anyway? Can our members of the bench say that they are unaware of the negative practices that take place at the court registries, by bailiffs and between lawyers and judges?
If there are no concerns about corruption, why did the Judicial Service headed by the Chief Justice support a project to help curb corruption in the Service and also ensuring that justice is not sold to the highest bidder? Visit the office of the Chief Justice, and at the entrance you will see a big billboard warning against the sale of justice. Why have the judges not attacked the Judicial Service, the Chief Justice and GTZ which sponsored the billboard?
Have we not heard our judges admonishing the media against sensationalism, lack of objectivity among others? Is that enough cause for the media to decide not to provide coverage for judges?
We are giving the judges seven days to withdraw their action against the four lawyers and for the Judicial Council to set up an independent enquiry inviting members of the public to submit complains if any about corruption within the judiciary.
Should the judges fail to rescind their decision and/or the Council not set up the enquiry in seven days, the Forum will announce a number of public events aimed at galvanising the support of the public towards ensuring that the sale of justice is curtailed.
Dr. Clement A. Apaak
020 011 7620
Dr. Samuel C. K. Buame
024 469 3353