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HELP ME FIGHT CORRUPTION - Prez tells Bar Association

General News

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appealed for the support of Members of the Ghana Bar Association to help guarantee the success of the ‘battles’ against corruption and the galamsey phenomenon, which he described as two of the most important challenges facing Ghana.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appealed for the support of Members of the Ghana Bar Association to help guarantee the success of the ‘battles’ against corruption and the galamsey phenomenon, which he described as two of the most important challenges facing Ghana.

 

According to President Nana Akufo-Addo, “if we do not get a handle on corruption, we will not be able to develop our nation. By the same token, if we do not win the fight against environmental hazards, especially the battle against the galamsey phenomenon, we will have no nation to speak of.”

The President  made this appeal, yesterday, when he delivered his remarks at the National Conference of the Ghana Bar Association, in Sunyani, which is being held on the theme “Saving the Future Generation from the Scourge of Corruption and Environmental Hazards – The Role of the Legal Profession.”

With the Office of Special Prosecutor is in the offing, President Nana Akufo-Addo noted that the Office is an attempt to take the politics out of prosecutions of past and present public officers, (i.e. echoes of so-called witch-hunting), and, thus, needs the active support of the Bar to realise its goals.

Whilst expressing his satisfaction about the constitutionality of the creation of the Office, he noted that “I do not have the last word when it comes to pronouncements on matters constitutional. But it would certainly be remiss of me if I did not satisfy myself on the constitutional aspect, before I put it before the Ghanaian people.”

President Nana Akufo-Addo further added that it would be members of the Bar who would provide the personnel for the Office, stressing that much of its success will depend on their integrity and genuine commitment to the fight against corruption.

In the same vein, the President appealed for the co-operation of the Bench and Bar to ensure speedy prosecutions of those allegedly involved in illegal galamsey activities.

“It is important that deterrents are quickly dispensed to reinforce the abhorrence of the Ghanaian nation about the illegal galamsey activities, which threaten our very survival and future,” he added.

The President concluded, “Mindful of each other’s prerogatives and duties, I am calling for us, the Bench, the Bar and the Executive, to enter into a grand alliance to fight and defeat the twin scourges in the supreme interest of the Ghanaian people, and in the fight against corruption, for my part, I shall lead by example.”

He also assured Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo and the State’s lawyers in the Ministry of Justice, that his government, within the constraints of our public finances, would do its very best to address issues of remuneration, conditions of service and the logistical needs of the Judiciary and the Ministry of Justice. `

“We are in it together – the great, noble adventure of self-government, popular government, free government. Let us put our shoulders to the wheel so that future generations will appreciate our contribution to the making of a successful, democratic Ghana, which guarantees the liberties of our people, the institutions of good governance, the cohesion of our society, the wellbeing of the masses, and the peace and prosperity of our nation. The Black Star has a tryst with destiny. Let us work together to make it happen,” he said.

President Nana Akufo-Addo continued that he believed that the noblest chapters in the modern history of the Ghanaian people, so far, have been written by lawyers.

According to him, the writing was begun by Ghana’s first lawyer, “the immortal John Mensah Sarbah”, who, together with Joseph Casely-Hayford, another lawyer, and their other colleagues in the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS), warded off “the greedy hands of British imperialism”, and kept control of the country’s lands.

This, he said, was the first monumental step towards the making of modern Ghana.

The President noted further that one had only to reflect on the complicated land inheritance that the countries of Southern and Eastern Africa endured to acknowledge the importance of the ARPS’ contribution to the growth of Ghana.

Further chapters, the President indicated, were written by the likes of Thomas Hutton-Mills, Kobbina Sekyi, Kojo Thompson, Akilakpa Sawyerr, all lawyers, who maintained the momentum of nationalist agitation initiated by the ARPS.

In 1948, when that agitation reached new, unprecedented heights, with the killings by the colonial police of the three ex-servicemen, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, and Private Odartey Lamptey, President Akufo-Addo noted that of the six persons, “Big Six”, who were arrested and fixed with responsibility by the colonial power for that development, four of them – Joseph Boakye Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi Lamptey, Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Edward Akufo-Addo – were lawyers.

“One, William Ofori-Atta, a decade later, subsequently became a lawyer; and the sixth, Kwame Nkrumah, Osagyefo, was apparently prevented by the arcane mysteries of Roman law from becoming a lawyer. So, as you can see, the responsibility of lawyers for setting our country on the road to freedom and national independence was great,” he added.

Succeeding generations of lawyers, the President stressed, have remained committed to the goal of securing not only the independence of Ghana, but also the establishment of the body politic of the country on the foundation of respect for the rule of law, individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability, values whose promotion are at the core of the Bar Association’s historic mission.

“I refer here to the work of lawyers like Kuranchi Taylor, Akua Asabea, Joe Appiah, Victor Owusu, B.J. da Rocha, J.E. Jantuah, F.A. Jantuah, Johnny Hansen, Obed Asamoah, Ray Kakraba Quarshie, Anthony Mmieh and Obeng Manu Snr. In more immediate times, lawyers have been at the forefront of the struggle against authoritarian rule. Peter Ala Adjetey, Sam Okudzeto, Nutifafa Kuenyehia, Akoto Ampaw, all members of this Association, were prepared to suffer the deprivation of preventive detention in defence of liberty and accountability in our nation,” he said.

The President continued, “They join the others in the pantheon of Ghanaian patriots who devoted themselves, in the face of great odds, to freedom and justice. And who can forget the collective, heroic determination of the Bar in the 1970s and 1980s to bring an end to the era of military rule and help engineer the restoration of democratic, constitutional governance to our country. Future historians will look kindly on the activities of the Bar, and speak of them with commendation.”