Apathy towards official corruption worrying — GBA
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has called for the swift passage of the Conduct of Public Officers Bill to ensure the culture of accountability and integrity among public officers.
It said that move would help address the perceived apathy towards reported corruption-related incidents involving public officers and appointees under the current administration.
At a post-conference to brief journalists on diverse issues adopted as part of this year’s Bar Conference, the President of the Association, Yaw Acheampong Boafo, said the GBA was particularly concerned about the country’s ranking on the Transparency International Corruption Index and the Index of Public Integrity, as well as the issues raised in the Auditor General’s Report.
The GBA therefore proposed that basic cultural and social norms, values of honest labour, decency and integrity must be imbibed in children.
“We must stop defending and covering up for persons, especially those in the public service, who suddenly become rich and acquire properties without questioning how they came by them,” Mr Boafo said.
Following his election as the 5th President of the country, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in December 2016 sent a caution to potential public office holders that, “If your goal in coming into government is to enrich yourself, then don’t come; go to the private sector. Public service is doing exactly that; public service.”
The GBA President said the undertaking by the President gave hope to Ghanaians of the emergence of a new dawn of politics.
“However, it is our respectful view that the several reported corruption-related incidents involving some of the appointees and also among some public officers under the current administration and the largely lethargic manner with which they are dealt with and even defended and protected leaves much to be desired,” Mr Boafo said.
On the issue of galamsey, Mr Boafo noted that despite the efforts and assurances of the government to deal with the menace, there appeared to be a general consensus that the government had not done much to effectively and roundly deal with it.
He called on the government, political leadership and key stakeholders to show more political will and integrity in decisively dealing with the galamsey menace.
In the area of education, the GBA commended the government for the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy but called for investment to address the infrastructure deficit in the sector.
The GBA President further condemned the recent partisan attacks on the legal profession and the judiciary, saying the GBA would resist any attempt to foment disaffection against the Judiciary and the legal profession.
He also called for the use of decent language in the media space, while condemning the recent attacks on journalists.
“If any citizen is unhappy with the programming work or news angle of any media house or journalist, there are a number of remedies from the right of rejoinder, through National Media Commission (NMC) to the court,” he said.
On the spillage from the Akosombo Dam which has affected hundreds of persons, the GBA appealed to the public to support rescue efforts to help resettle the affected persons.
“Accordingly, we will be making a direct appeal to all our members to donate in cash and in kind to assist the relief efforts,” he added.