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Regional News of Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Source: GNA

Amend laws on Corruption – Law lecturer

GIMPA entrance GIMPA entrance

A law lecturer has called on Parliament to amend laws on corruption in order to make it unattractive for perpetrators.

According to Ms Diana Asonaba Dapaah, a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Faculty of Law, there should also be uniform application of the law and sanctions by the Police to ensure that there was no discrimination.

Ms Dapaah who is also a Barrister and Solicitor in Ghana and New York, made the suggestion at the 8th annual Chief Justice Forum in Accra on Monday, on the theme: Deepening Public Trust and Confidence in justice delivery”.

The event created a platform for all stakeholders in justice delivery to fashion out strategies and best practices in doing business.

She noted that laws on corruption in the country were ineffective and the offence had also been branded as a misdemeanour.

That notwithstanding, Ms Dappah noted that laws of corruption also focused on fines and custodial punishments without recovery of illegal gains by the state.

The GIMPA law lecturer noted that Ghana could emulate the example of Malaysia which has in place an Anti-Corruption Commission Act which focuses on recovery of value or gratification.

According to her, under the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Commission Act 2009, people found culpable of corruption were made to pay five times the sum or value of gratification.

Touching on the theme; Ms Dapaah noted that deepening public trust and confidence in justice delivery was a collective responsibility of all stakeholders.

The stakeholders, she listed, as judges and magistrates, court clerks, bailiffs, lawyers, prosecutors from the Police and the Attorney General’s Department, Parliament and enforcement institutions, Government and the public.

Pointing out the actions and inactions that diminished public trust and confidence, the law lecturer cited incessant adjournments of cases, lack of case management, delay and porous judgments.

In the case of lawyers, Ms Dapaah noted that there were instances where court officials and judges and lawyers colluded to manipulate the system.

She said some prosecutors in their line of duty also hide relevant evidence.

Ms Dapaah therefore tasked judges to be sensitive as gatekeepers and fulfill their responsibility as custodians of the rule of law and justice by ensuring personal integrity.

On the appointment of judges, Ms Dapaah stressed the need for them to undergo rigorous scrutiny based on merit and high proven character involving the public.

“There should be publication of details of proposed magistrate and judges to elicit factual evidence of corrupt and unscrupulous behaviour of persons seeking appointment to the bench.

“Complainant procedures against judges and magistrate should be published and made easily accessible and available to the public,” she stressed.

She entreated the government to avoid political manipulation of judges, magistrates and court officials among others.

Ms Dapaah called for an Anti-Corruption Day that all would take a retrospection and Introspection of the achievements and short comings within the justice delivery system.

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