An aspiring presidential candidate who is interested in representing the National Democratic Congress in 2020, lawyer Elikplim Lorlormavor Agbemava, has hinted of an anti nepotism law if elected as president.
The private legal practitioner says nepotism has found its way in the current New Patriotic Party and deeply rooted.
According to him, the criminal justice system is the worst affected system where family and friends of the President have been appointed to these institutions.
"The criminal Justice system seems to be the most affected and this has serious implications for the rule of law, separation of powers and the freedom and justice guaranteed by our 1992 constitution.
The criminal justice system is made up of the Police, the Attorney General’s Department and the Judiciary and the Prisons. An objective look at these institutions reveals relational linkages with the President. The degree of consanguinity creates undoubtedly a suspicion that there may be an improper interference with the course of justice,he stated.
Quoting Article 284 to buttress his argument, the private legal practitioner said, "A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office”
Read below his position on the matter:
GHANA NEEDS AN ANTI NEPOTISM LAW.
Article 284. “A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office”
This is a topic that will engender a lot of debate. Recent appointments by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government makes it an urgent national socio/political question that must be addressed. We should not adopt a culture of silence over nepotism in Ghana. In the public interest therefore we must touch on it even though many would want to gloss over.
The issue of NEPOTISM has found its way or manifested itself like an octopus in the NPP government spreading its tentacles everywhere. In this opinion ed, nepotism will be defined, its manifestations in the current government identified and a solution proposed in the context of national development as subsequent governments may also fall prey to the absence of clear laws on the subject. Humans by nature will exhibit their best and worse characters at the same time. It is the laws we make and submit ourselves to that encourage the best attitudes and outlaw the negative ones for an orderly and peaceful society.
Laws are are written to protect people from being harmed by others, self harm, promote morality, grant goods or services of some kind to citizens or protect the government from harm or to increase its power for its own sake.
Nepotism is the the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. This definition by google is preferred because it’s simple, straight to the point and easy to grasp. In Ghana any government that has the incidence of nepotism is referred to as “Family and Friends” government.
According to Wikipedia the term originated with the assignment of nephews to important positions by Catholic popes and bishops. So there has been nepotism even in the Church.
However being a system of patronage, corruption, discrimination, inequitable distribution of public goods and services and opportunities, it is a practice that must be frowned upon at the least sniff of it. Indeed nepotism as a social canker is frowned upon in the United States of America. America passed the Federal Anti Nepotism Statute after the public condemnation of the appointment by President John F. Kennedy of his brother Robert Kennedy as the Attorney General in 1961. Those who violate the law are not entitled to pay or salary.
In the United Kingdom the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will ban the practice in the House of Commons after the 2020 general elections.
"We believe that the employment of 'connected parties' is out of step with modern employment practice, which encourages fair and open recruitment to encourage diversity in the workplace," IPSA chairwoman Ruth Evans said in a statement.
The current NPP government has thrown all caution to the wind, testing the sensibilities of Ghanaians. The President being the one with the executive powers of appointment has with little or no regard to the multi cultural composition of the Ghanaian society has packed his government with relatives (distant and close). One can easily point to the Executive Secretary to the President, Minister for Finance, Works and Housing, Transport, Communications and a host of others who bear close affinity to the President in one way or the other.
The criminal Justice system seems to be the most affected and this has serious implications for the rule of law, separation of powers and the freedom and justice guaranteed by our 1992 constitution.
The criminal justice system is made up of the Police, the Attorney General’s Department and the Judiciary and the Prisons. An objective look at these institutions reveals relational linkages with the President. The degree of consanguinity creates undoubtedly a suspicion that there may be an improper interference with the course of justice.
These institutions play vital roles in our criminal justice system and should not be compromised in anyway. Nemo judex idoneus in propria causa est meaning Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done". The rule is very strictly applied to any appearance of a possible bias, even if there is actually none.
In the landmark case of R v Sussex Justices, Ex parte McCarthy ( 1 KB 256 a motorcyclist, was involved in a road accident which resulted in his prosecution before a magistrates court for dangerous driving. Unknown to the defendant and his solicitor, the clerk to the justices was a member of the firm of solicitors acting in a civil claim against the defendant arising out of the accident that had given rise to the prosecution. The clerk retired with the justices, who returned to convict the defendant.
On learning of the clerk's provenance, the defendant applied to have the conviction quashed. The justices swore affidavits stating that they had reached their decision to convict the defendant without consulting their clerk.
The appeal was essentially one of judicial review and was heard at the Kings Bench division by Lord Chief Justice Hewart. In a landmark and far-reaching judgement, Lord Hewart CJ said:
“It is said, and, no doubt, truly, that when that gentleman retired in the usual way with the justices, taking with him the notes of the evidence in case the justices might desire to consult him, the justices came to a conclusion without consulting him, and that he scrupulously abstained from referring to the case in any way. But while that is so, a long line of cases shows that it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.
The question therefore is not whether in this case the deputy clerk made any observation or offered any criticism which he might not properly have made or offered; the question is whether he was so related to the case in its civil aspect as to be unfit to act as clerk to the justices in the criminal matter. The answer to that question depends not upon what actually was done but upon what might appear to be done.
Nothing is to be done which creates even a suspicion that there has been an improper interference with the course of justice. Speaking for myself, I accept the statements contained in the justices' affidavit, but they show very clearly that the deputy clerk was connected with the case in a capacity which made it right that he should scrupulously abstain from referring to the matter in any way, although he retired with the justices; in other words, his one position was such that he could not, if he had been required to do so, discharge the duties which his other position involved. His twofold position was a manifest contradiction.
In those circumstances I am satisfied that this conviction must be quashed, unless it can be shown that the applicant or his solicitor was aware of the point that might be taken, refrained from taking it, and took his chance of an acquittal on the facts, and then, on a conviction being recorded, decided to take the point. On the facts I am satisfied that there has been no waiver of the irregularity, and, that being so, the rule must be made absolute and the conviction quashed”.
The current government is made up of cousins of the President who head vital public institutions in our criminal justice system. These are cited for purposes of examples or case studies and in no way call into question the competence of any of the appointees. As was noted in the case cited above, it is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done. The question therefore is not whether in those appointees have acted in any manner which they might not properly have made; the question is whether they are so related to the president as to be unfit to act in the positions in which they find themselves. The answer to this question depends not upon what actually has been done but upon what might appear to be done.
NOTHING IS TO BE DONE WHICH CREATES EVEN A SUSPICION THAT THERE HAS BEEN AN IMPROPER INTERFERENCE WITH THE COURSE OF JUSTICE.
Article 284 of the 1992 constitution provides that on conduct of public officers provides that “A public officer shall not put him/herself in a position where his/her personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office”. Nepotism or being related to ones appointer is one of the positions one may find him or herself in that may conflict with the performance of his or her public functions.
As a society we must strive to improve upon our social condition in every way we can and to conclude this discourse, I promise that when elected as president of the Republic of Ghana I will stop the incidence of “Family and Friends” and Article 284 of the 1992 constitution will be the foundation for an anti-nepotism statute that will proscribe appointments of relatives into public office by those who have the power to do so. If such appointments are made, those who take up or accept such appointments will assume their positions with no pay, salaries or other benefits attached. If we are to protect the public purse from abuse and prevent corruption then our conflict of interest laws must be developed and more laws passed to prevent all its manifestations.
The wife of the Dansoman SDA District pastor, mother-in-law and three children were Sunday burnt to death in a fire outbreak at Dansoman, Akokofoto in Accra.
The incident according to details occurred
between 5 and 6am on Sunday August 19, 2018.
Pastor Ato Kessie was not at home when the unfortunate incident occurred.
He had reportedly gone for a camp meeting, leaving the wife and their two children together with a third child who had come to the house with the pastor's mother-in-law.
All the five people were burnt to death.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed that the national flag should fly at half-mast for one week in memory of the late former UN secretary General, Kofi Annan.
Beginning from Monday, August 20, the national flag would fly at half-mast across the country and in all Ghana’s foreign missions, in honour of the late Annan, who died on Saturday in the Swiss capital, Berne, at the age of 80.
President Akufo-Addo in a statement said “the Government and people of Ghana, First Lady, Rebecca and I are deeply saddened by the news of the death, in Berne, Switzerland, of one of our greatest compatriots, Mr. Kofi Annan”.
“I extend, on behalf of the entire Ghanaian nation, our sincere, heartfelt condolences to his beloved widow, Nane Maria, and to his devoted children, Ama, Kojo and Nina, on this great loss.
I am, however, comforted by the information, after speaking to Nane Maria, that he died peacefully in his sleep.”
“Rest in perfect peace, Kofi. You have earned it. God bless.”
The statement said the late Kofi Annan was a consummate international diplomat, who brought tremendous honour to the nation – serving as the first UN Chief from sub-Saharan Africa and through his conduct and comportment in the global arena.
“He was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian to chart his or her own course onto the path of progress and prosperity.
Undoubtedly, he excelled in the various undertakings of his life, leaving in his trail most pleasant memories”, it added.
Kofi Atta Annan, was born in Kumasi, Ghana, on 08 April 1938, and best known for his diplomatic career, having served as the seventh United Nations Secretary General, from January 1997 to December 2006, the first Secretary General to be elected from the ranks of the UN, where he had worked in various capacities since 1962.
During his two-term service as Secretary-General, one of Mr. Annan's main priorities and accomplishment was reform of the UN aimed at revitalizing it and making the international system more effective.
He was an unrelenting advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa, and sought to bring the Organization closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners.
Through Mr. Annan's initiative, UN peacekeeping was strengthened in ways that enabled the United Nations to cope with a rapid rise in the number of operations and personnel.
It was also at his urging that, in 2005, member states established two new intergovernmental bodies: the Peace-building Commission and the Human Rights Council.
He also played a central role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the adoption of the UN's first-ever counter-terrorism strategy, and the acceptance by Member States of the “responsibility to protect” people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. His “Global Compact” initiative, launched in 1999, has become the world's largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility.