General News of Friday, 21 July 2017
The United States (US) government is to sponsor some state attorneys to understudy the duties of the special prosecutor in the US to incorporate best practices in Ghana.
The support is in line with the government’s effort to set up an office of a Special Prosecutor to deal with cases of corruption and judgement debts in the country.
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert P. Jackson, made this known at the launch of a Centre on Law and Ethics in Accra.
The African Centre on Law and Ethics (ACLE) is the establishment of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law School.
It is aimed at facilitating a growing commitment to legal ethnics through research, scholarship and training.
The centre is expected to focus on four areas of programming including conferences and symposia, law school curriculum modules on legal ethics, executive education for practicing lawyers and judges and legal ethics training programme for law students.
For a start, more than 66 law students have been enrolled for a four-day interactive legal ethics training programme at the centre through the collaborative efforts of GIMPA, White and Case, a global law firm, and Fordham Law School.
Case tracking system
Mr Jackson said: “The US Embassy is sponsoring a handful of attorneys from the Attorney General’s office to travel to New York and Washington so they can study special prosecutor offices in the US.”
According to him, plans were far advanced to implement a case tracking system in the country through a Security Governance Initiative of the United States Agency of International Department (USAID) and the Attorney General’s department.
“Courts will be able to use this system to bring transparency and efficiency to the legal process, reducing opportunities to collect ‘facilitation fees’ in exchange for expediting or buying cases,” he indicated.
The ambassador, however, urged the government to take concrete steps to rein in vigilante groups who allegedly answer to powerful individuals rather than the rule of law.
The immediate past Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina T. Wood, said the centre would create a platform for legal practitioners to engage in more discussions about the law and advocacy to ensure that ethical issues are addressed in the country’s legal system.
She applauded the partnership among the three groups to ensure education in law and ethics.
The Dean of the GIMPA Law School, Mr E. Kofi Abotsi, observed that people who spoke about ethics were looked upon with disgust, stating that the centre would change the paradigm by facilitating government’s policies and collaborate with other stakeholders to work towards ensuring transparency in the country.
According to him, the country was suffering from corrupt practices due to the lack of ethics and transparency in most establishments.
“In the midst of ethics, corruption does not reap and that’s why ethical issues are uncomfortable for those who benefit from greed,” he stated.
Mr Abotsi said the centre had a tremendous potential to foster ethically sound legal practice for the benefit of Ghanaians in the future.
For her part, the Global Manager of Social responsibility of White and Case, Ms Elizabeth Black, gave an assurance of her organisation’s continuous support to the centre.