Press Releases of Tuesday, 26 July 2011
MR. LARRY BIMI’S FIGHT AGAINST JUDICIAL CORRUPTION AND INJUSTICE WILL CONTINUE - PRESS STATEMENT BY THE FORUM FOR GOVERNANCE AND JUSTICE (FGJ)
JULY 26, 2011
We received, with heartfelt regret, the death of Mr. Larry Bimi. This sad event occurred on Friday, July 22, 2011 after a short illness.
Mr. Larry Bimi was, immediately prior to his death, the Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), an office he held since 1998. Throughout his adult life, Mr. Larry Bimi strived to correct injustice wherever he found it. This he always did by way of educating people on their civil and political rights. This quality was what made him the obvious person to occupy an office whose prime mandate is to create and sustain within the country the awareness of the principles and objectives of the 1992 Constitution.
He was determined to ensure that the ordinary citizen of this country (Ghana) knew his/her rights, duties and responsibilities. He was untiring in his effort to entrench civil and political rights in our society. Through his initiatives, innovation and dedication many have come to appreciate the essence of the fundamental human rights and freedoms contained in our Constitution.
The records show that he was resolute in the fight against child labour, moral decadence, teenage pregnancy, inadequate educational infrastructure, unbridled executive power and corruption. It was through Mr. Larry Bimi’s astute leadership that the presence of the NCCE is felt in all the Districts and the thousands of communities in this country.
Indeed Mr. Bimi was bold and unyielding in his quest to champion what is right. He was keen in exposing the wrongs in our society irrespective of the clout of the perpetrators.
His boldness and valour were abundantly expressed in the case of Tinieye v The Republic, which was decided in the turbulent days of 1979. As a fresh graduate from the university Larry fearlessly challenged the validity of a Decree made by the Supreme Military Council (SMC). The said Decree (SMCD 3) expressly took away a citizen’s right to counsel. In that case young Larry argued that the said Decree was void in as much as it was not in the interest of the people of Ghana. Even though he did not obtain judgement in the case, Larry is always remembered for the tact and valour with which he argued before the Court. One of the analogies he drew was that if the Supreme Military Council were to come out with a law that if a person goes to a hospital with appendicitis, the appendix should be removed by an operation performed by a nurse instead of a surgeon, the law will be invalid. He closed his case by daring the courts of Ghana in the following words:
“The judges and courts of this country will be doing the people a wealth of good if they were with apologies to Lord Denning, M.R. not to behave as timorous souls and to hold laws that are inimical to the people of this country to be invalid when cases come before them."
These qualities, as one would expect in our part of the world, led him into conflict with certain very powerful groups of people and authorities in this country.
In this regard, we wish to remind the general public that Mr. Bimi was one of the four lawyers who have been blacklisted by a group calling itself the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG). The other lawyers are Dr. Raymond Atuguba, Mr. Abraham Amaliba and Mr. David Annan.
Mr. Bimi, Dr. Atuguba and Mr. Amaliba were present at a roundtable discussion organized by the NCCE on 29th April, 2011 in Accra to mark the 11th Constitutional Week celebrations. During the discussions the three lawyers, after reviewing research findings by certain international and domestic research institutions, made statements to the effect that there was a high level of corruption in the judiciary. Due to this, the four lawyers have, among others, been denied access to the courts of Ghana since May this year. This, however, did not deter Mr. Larry Bimi from continuing with the fight against corruption in general and judicial corruption in particular in this country. Certainly, all attempts by the AMJG and subsequently the Ghana Bar Association (of which he was a member) to cow him and the other lawyers into submission have failed.
We the members of the Forum for Governance and Justice (FGJ) consider the achievements of this noble son of Ghana as a great legacy, which is worthy of honour.
We therefore, assure the good people of this country that we shall not abandon the principles for which Mr. Larry Bimi lived and died. We shall continue to ensure that no person, who seeks the ends of freedom and justice, shall be cowed into submission.
Even as we mourn Larry, his queries at the round table discussion would continue to sound in our minds. He said:
“Secondly Ghana is a third world country and we need investments … Any person who wants to bring money and invest in Ghana would want to be assured that if he enters into any private agreement, any private contract, his investment would be protected. And the only institution that can protect his investment would be the judiciary… What sort of judiciary do we have? Do we have a judiciary that is going to be waiting to be given instructions on telephone as to which way a particular private contract should be decided?”
We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of the late Mr. Larry Bimi. Yes they have suffered a heavy loss; but Ghana has suffered a greater loss.
May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.
Dr. Clement A. Apaak
Convener, Forum for Governance and Justice - Ghana
020 011 7620
Dr. Samuel C. K. Buame
Leading Member, Forum for Governance and Justice - Ghana
024 469 3353