Private legal practitioner Samson Lardy Anyenini says enacting new laws in the country is not the ultimate solution to the corruption activities being practised in the country.
“We sincerely do not need to continue on the path of passing more laws and setting up more institutions, especially after the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and the Right to Information (RTI) laws. Those are two deadly weapons to kill corruption.”
The PAV Ansah Journalist of the Year, was speaking on Friday at the OneGhana Lecture Series themed ‘The Fight against Corruption: A Mythical Pursuit?’.
He noted that the Contracts Protection Law has never been used since enacted in 1979, Mr Anyenini said the corruption fight would not achieve much if the contracts protection law is not used to prosecute offenders.
“This is a scant but monstrous six-sectioned one-page law crafted to exact high-quality execution of government-sponsored infrastructural contracts and service delivery,” he said.
The host of Joy FM’s Newsfile further explained that a violation, especially making fraudulent payments, attracts a refund of up to three times the value of the contract plus a possible jail term of up to 10 years.
“It is curious that this apparently watertight anti-corruption law, with a clear purpose to produce substantial deterrence and in the event of a successful prosecution under it to recover punitively and deny a convict any benefit of the proceeds of the crime, is not known to have been used since it was enacted in 1979,” he added.
According to him, serious consideration ought to be given to an agenda to oil the resource-starved civic educator, National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), to undertake vigorous education to change mindsets and attitudes in schools and communities to revive the patriotic spirit of the Ghanaian.
He also called for the adequate funding for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to empower it to vigorously pursue and confiscate unexplained wealth from public officeholders.
He lamented that Members of Parliament (MPs) have delayed passing the CHRAJ-sponsored new law on assets declaration requiring verification and publication of declared assets.
In his view, it only needs one paragraph rules of court for CHRAJ to pursue this non- conviction-based forfeiture or confiscation.
He, therefore, reminded the Parliamentarians that Ghanaians told the Constitution Review Commission that “though the Constitution attempts to curb the menace of corruption through the assets declaration regime, the absence of compulsion and the lack of transparency in the exercise defeats the very purpose of the regime.”
Commenting on Public officers refusing persons and media seeking information, the veteran journalist described as shameful, for a public servant to deny citizens information on matters of corruption, adding that the act impedes accountability.