I am firmly against corruption – Dr. Raymond Atuguba

My attention has been drawn to a misleading video clip of less than 2 minutes, taken out of a more than 3 hour3-hourdiscussion I participated in on the role and functions of the Special Prosecutor.

 

For the avoidance of any doubt I wish to re-state my firm opposition to all forms of corruption, fraud and unethical behavior, especially by holders of public office.  During the three-hour long debate organised by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation and the Institute of Law and Public Affairs, and held at the GIMPA Law School, I made this very clear.

 

In support of the successful prosecution of the fight against corruption, I injected a light-hearted but serious comment to stress the need for a fight that is comprehensive enough to guarantee success. I argued that to be fully successful it would be absolutely necessary to consider the endemic nature of corruption, to the extent where certain key sectors of the economy of a country like Nigeria became heavily dependent on corrupt money. I cited the sad example where in Nigeria, some people, instead of supporting the corruption fight, have been calling for corruption to be brought back, for the simple reason that their daily livelihoods – largely dependent on corrupt money – have been drastically curtailed.  So I presented the proposal that the fertile grounds that benefit from corruption must be looked at to ensure that social intervention programmes are available to cushion the unintended harsh effects of the corruption fight on ordinary citizens.  

 

All this looks to me like déjà vu. In 2011, some colleagues and I publicly discussed our research findings on corruption in Ghana’s judiciary over some four to five hours at a Seminar organized by the National Commission for Civil Education (NCCE) as part of the National Constitution Week Celebrations. Exactly as in this case, a small excerpt of that programme was widely circulated by Joy FM and other media. I was publicly and continuously condemned by many members of the Ghana Bar Association, and a section of the public. The Association of Judges and Magistrates formally wrote to the General Legal Council (GLC) to take disciplinary action against me. The Supreme Court refused to hear my cases then pending before them, including very urgent constitutional cases, until the outcome of the investigation against me. When my lawyers responded to the GLC, providing the details of what I said, and the bases for what I said, they backed down and things normalized. I must mention that a great number of the public were supportive of my stance during this period. It is always good to make informed, nuanced, and balanced comments and to act on complete information, when that information is readily available.

 

I wish to stress again that the fight against corruption is absolutely necessary.  This fight is necessary for us to build the Ghana we can be proud of. This fight must succeed.  And to succeed, we need better strategies. During the over 3 hour discussion, I proposed 4 strategies to aid in the fight against corruption, let us focus our energies and discussions on the substance of those four proposals.

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