Private legal practitioner Samson Lardy Anyenini has questioned the need for a Judgment Debt Commission to investigate circumstances surrounding dubious payments of judgment debts to private entities and individuals.
He asked what the use of a Commission of Inquiry is given that per article 280 of the 1992 Constitution a President can issue a White Paper to “rubbish” adverse findings made by a commission against someone.
Even more fundamentally, he said the President may have the option to publish or not to publish a commission’s report.
The host of Joy FM’s Newsfile made the comment at the maiden Joy FM debate on the motion ‘Ghana’s Judgment Debt Commission is a waste of public resources’.
Article 280 of the Constitution states that “(3)The President shall, subject to clause (4) of this article cause to be published the report of a commission of inquiry together with the White Paper on it within six months after the date of the submission of the report by the commission. (4) Where the report of a commission of inquiry is not to be published, the President shall issue a statement to that effect giving reasons why the report is not to be published.”
This he argues virtually puts the findings of a commission of inquiry at the behest of the president.
He said some of actions that have occasioned the dubious payments under the guise of judgment debts are straight forward enough for state institutions like the Police to take act on and bring the perpetrators to book.
The President, John Mahama set up the Judgment Debt Commission (JDC) last year, to investigate circumstances surrounding the “inordinate” payments of judgment debts secured against the state.
Justice Yaw Appau, was appointed by President Mahama as the Sole Commissioner of the Judgment Debt Commission.
The establishment of the JDC followed a wave of media reports on scandalous judgment debt payments.
But, Samson Anyenini believes there are state institutions that can move in to prosecute public officials who connive with plaintiffs to defraud the state.
He cited instance where but for the vigilance a High Court Judge then, Justice Mrs. Gertrude Torkonoo, Africa Automobile Ltd would have fleeced the nation with the active connivance of a state attorney.
According to the lawyer, the attorney’s conduct amounted to a “clear case of professional misconduct”. The public official was reprimanded. “We need a commission of inquiry to tell us something about this attorney?” he wondered, concluding “that is a big problem.”
He would consequently be seen raising his hand to vote for the motion. His explanation is that such commissions may be useful only if their recommendations are fully implemented but expressed regret that reports of commissions of inquiry are never really implemented, making them a sheer waste of scarce resources. Story by Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Edwin Appiah|[email protected]
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