Politics of Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Source: GNA

NGO “gravely worried” about ruling on Jake’s bungalow case

The Forum for Governance and Justice (FGJ) has said it was “gravely worried” about the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling that dismissed a suit challenging the purchase of a State bungalow by Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.

In a statement signed by Dr. Clement A. Apaak, the Convener of FGJ, an NGO, said the ruling impacted negatively on governance, given the socio-political status of the person involved.

“This, in our opinion, re-enforces the already widespread perception that politicians are self-seeking individuals who use entrusted power and connections for personal gain,” it said.

“If we may ask our Justices, how can the people be told not to see the verdict as support for the practice whereby public officers exploit their official positions for private gain, given the socio-political status of Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey currently the National Chairman of the NPP? Why should the people think otherwise when the said property was not advertised nor the expected tendering processes followed?”

FGJ said the ability of the nation to protect public property from being appropriated by persons of influence in the society, especially the political class, had been dealt “a fatal blow”.

“With the verdict, the floodgates have now been opened for public or State property, which is owned collectively by the population of the State, to be sold to private individuals with influence.”

FGJ said it believed that the ruling would raise questions about the role of the Judiciary in the protection of the public interest.

“The Judiciary is the last resort available to the people, and should have an obligation to protect the collective property of the people. Indeed, as the Constitution states, justice emanates from the people and shall be administered in the name of the Republic by the Judiciary,” it said.

FGJ said while it respected the highest court of the land, it strongly believed that if the verdict was not challenged, it would have negative consequences for the nation in relation to public interest, protection of public or State property and good governance.**