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General News of Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Source: rainbowradioonline.com

Dealing with corruption once will require strong independent bodies - Lawyer

Private legal practitioner, lawyer Foh Amoaning has explained that, the abrogation or annulment of contracts cannot be done in the blue rather, due diligence must be followed to prevent any judgment debt.

Speaking in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said, setting up a committee to investigate any contract awarded under a particular administration, should be subject to law. Governance he indicated ''is in a continuum and every government when elected, goes into a contract with the public-to protect and uphold our constitution-which gives guidelines in dealing with cases of corruption, mismanagement and misappropriation.

He said, before a contract is awarded, it must have parliamentary approval and when a new government comes and suspects any foul play, they have the right to investigate and make recommendations.

However, efforts must be explored to prevent any case of judgment debt, he stressed. Lawyer Foh Amoaning said, ''everyone must be given an opportunity to respond to any accusation leveled against them.

This will ensure fairness and ensure the rule of natural justice comes to play.

Committees have been setup over the years to investigate certain contracts and after the committee, have submitted its report; the people involved in those deals come to say they were not invited to tell their side of story.

When a committee was set up to investigate the KT Hammond drill ship saga, KT Hammond raised concern after their investigation that he was not called to tell his side of story hence his decision to go to court.

Alfred Woyome raised similar concerns and now, the people involved in the Ameri Power deal, are raising similar concerns that the 3-member committee set up to investigate the deal did not invite them.

Responding to a question on how valid is a committee’s report if the main person(s) involved is/are not invited and can such report be used to take a decision; he said, everyone mentioned in an allege corrupt deal, must be given an opportunity to respond. ‘’This is referred to as the fundamental rule of law.

Any committee or judicial body that violates this constitutional provision may have their report quashed.

But in some cases, some of the cases may have documentations and so, it may not be necessary to invite them.

However, to be honest with you, when such cases come up, you will have to invite those involved.’’ When asked what we can do to get the best out of committees set up to investigate cases of corruption or contracts awarded, he had this to say: ''You have asked a very important question and that is why the constitution has allowed us to set up institutions that can investigate independently; matters of omissions or commission by people to whom power has been given.

We have institutions like CHRAJ-an independent body mandated to deal with such cases.

We also have the judiciary that is also mandated to administer justice to aggrieved persons.

The solution is to have independent bodies that can oversee these things especially government contracts.

We are losing so much money and we need a process to prevent that, and so we need an independent body to help us deal with all such cases.

That is why I support the Independent Prosecutor because it will help us deal with corruption once and for all. We also need competent and men of integrity at the bar and the bench to help safe guard the integrity of the judiciary,'' he emphasized.