Ghana: GBA Pushes for Swift Passage of Conduct of Public Officers' Bill Instil Culture of Accountability, Integrity in Public Officers

13 September 2023

Cape Coast — The President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Yaw Achempong Boafo, has affirmed the commitment of the association to hold the President to his undertaking to fight against corruption since as the leader, the buck stops with him and not his appointees.

"Mr President, the GBA will remind you of your public undertaking in December 2016 following your election as the fifth president of the Fourth Republic that if your goal in coming into government is to enrich yourself, then don't come," he said.

Mr Boafo stated this at the opening of this year's conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) at Cape Coast.

The five-day conference is on the theme: "Ensuring high standards and integrity in public life; the role of the legal profession".

"We cannot be proud and satisfied on how Ghana has fared on the recent ranking on the Transparency International on national corruption index. We cannot continue like this, things must change," Mr Boafo further said.

He said, the GBA looks forward to the swift passage of the conduct of Public Officers' Bill which it believes would ensure and instil a culture of accountability, and integrity among public officers in the country.

"We call on government and parliament to prioritise and work closely together in making it a reality. Enough of the lip service," he said.

Public service and offices, he said, were riddled with bribery, embezzlement and corruption while procurement breaches were rife serving as steady flow of questionable wealth of some public officers.

"Corruption permeates all levels of the public sector and social arrangements. Scandals by public and political officers and civil servants are common place. There is even the fear that corruption has become normalised," he said.

He, therefore, called for conscious efforts in training children on the cultural and social norms and values of decency and integrity and question the sudden source of wealth of the people in public office instead of celebrating such people.

On illegal mining, Mr Boafo said the GBA calls on government, political leadership and key stakeholders to show more political will and integrity to decisively deal with the galamsey menace, adding, "This can be done if the real powers behind the galamsey menace are identified and dealt with in accordance with law".

"Galamsey is a capital intensive illegal activity, the heavy duty equipment and other machinery and chemicals used in galamsey activities cannot be afforded and purchased by the young men and women who get arrested on galamsey sites," he indicated.

The illegal mining activities, he stated, were controlled and financed by corrupt public officials, politicians, traditional rulers and wealthy and powerful business interest, saying, "The government must be honest and bold and fish out these evil practice of powerful people engaged in wanton destruction of our environment and deal with them decisively".

Mr Boafo further expressed the GBA's concern about the apparent discrimination against basic education at the public schools noting that, most of the pupils from the public schools popularly referred to as "Syto" were from poor background.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, for his part, also condemned attacks on the judiciary by a section of lawyers attacking the judiciary.

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