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Use of names for personal gain

Author: Dr Kofi Amponsah-Bediako
Use of names for personal gain
Use of names for personal gain

No matter how one looks at it, the misuse of a person’s name by another person to the benefit of the latter is an immoral and unpalatable behaviour that is deceitful, criminal and also amounts to insincerity and dishonesty.

Every person has a right to prevent and/or control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness or other unequivocal aspects of his or her identity. It is for this reason that in many countries, a person can be sued for using someone else's name, likeness or other personal attributes for exploitative purpose(s) or for personal gain.

Thus, the use of names of prominent persons in society, such as the President of a country, constitutes a serious offence and such behaviour, if found out, should normally be subjected to court processes for fair trial. What makes the current issue disturbing is the alleged use of the name of the President of the Republic of Ghana, his Vice and others.

It is very surprising that at a time when the President is committed to implementing programmes to salvage the country out of its economic woes, such issues should emerge and be catapulted into the realm of our national psyche not only to disturb the focus of our reconstruction efforts but to throw us into disarray and possibly turn back the clock of progress.

President Akufo-Addo acted in the right way when, after carefully watching the yet-to-be-released video put together by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, he immediately informed the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service to investigate the matter to its logical conclusion. This investigation is most welcome because that is what will establish the truth or otherwise of the issue at stake and throw further light on the next line of action.

Again, it is important for everyone to abide by the principle that in all cases, an accused person is presumed innocent until proved otherwise by a competent court of jurisdiction. In this connection, all forms of political gimmick to score political points on the matter must cease immediately and thereby help all of us to focus on the most productive and positive way forward in the interest of the country.


Indeed, what is happening cannot be swept under the carpet in terms of certain unforgettable and useful lessons to the country. In the first place, in a democratic country such as ours, the tenets of rule of law must be made to prevail in all circumstances so that there will not be pre-judgement of cases before they go through the juridical process.

Second, state institutions ought to be made to work professionally and competently to guarantee fair play and equity for all. Third, we need to be patient with investigations and court processes in order to come up with the best of decisions for national peace and progress.

Again, a good name is better than silver and gold. Today, it is someone else; tomorrow it could be you. Such useful lessons ought to be embraced and made part of us to serve as a guide and move us on to a higher pedestal of development.

The people of this country, as well as the world will be closely watching Ghana to see how this case will go in terms of the pursuance of justice since it will have deep-seated ramifications for all those involved in the matter. Since the names of the President of Ghana and his Vice have been allegedly used in the matter at hand, it will be of interest to know whether those involved acted alone or in collaboration with others, and if so, how long this has been going on.

For this reason, those charged with carrying out investigations into the matter, as well as those who may possibly and subsequently be involved in the process of adjudication, depending on the evidence adduced, should display high-level professionalism that is characterised by admirable unique competence to put the matter to rest once and for all.

This is what everyone, whether in the country or outside it, will be yearning for in the interest of truth, fair play and justice!

The writer is Director of Corporate Communications, Ghana Standards Authority.