Fighting Corruption Has Been Cornerstone of My Administration – Akufo-Addo Tells Critics

President Akufo-Addo, has touted the contribution of his administration in the fight against corruption since assuming the high office in January 2017.

The president, said contrary to criticisms from his opponents, fighting corruption, has rather been the cornerstone of his administration, citing the passage of two laws by Parliament under his watch, as examples of his commitment in the fight against the menace.

Speaking at the commissioning of ‘The Law House’, an edifice to house the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General and State Attorneys in Accra yesterday Monday, June 10, President Akufo-Addo, mentioned the passage of Right to Information Act (RTI) 2019, ACT 989, by Parliament during his first term, as part of his commitment.

He recalled how successive governments, have struggled without success to pass the bill into law, until his government finally did.

“The Act which successive governments failed to pass, see to the implementation of the constitutional right to information held by public institutions to foster the culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs subject to exemptions necessary and consistent with the protection of the public interest in a democratic society, the Act is now fully implemented with the governing board chaired by an experienced and respected retired high court judge”, the President said.

The president said the Ministry of Information has trained information officers across various government ministries, departments, and agencies to ensure the full implementation of the RTI law.

President Akufo-Addo also mentioned the Witness Protection Act, Act 975, which he signed into law on August 24th in 2018.

“The Act establishes a witness protection agency to create a witness protection scheme as a vehicle for offering protection to persons who are required to corporate with law enforcement agencies as witness in the investigation and prosecution of cases particularly corruption cases affecting public officers,” he noted.

I Won’t Set Aside Natural Justice

He also expressed concern about accusation that, he only clears his appointees who have been accused of corruption, saying as a champion of the rule of law, he has only ensured that cases are fairly investigated, in order to avoid a miscarriage of justice

He mentioned in particular, flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) John Dramani Mahama’s labelling him as “a clearing agent” is unjust.

According to him, he will not set aside due process and the principles of natural justice in the fight against corruption.

“Before I conclude, Madam Chief Justice, ladies and gentlemen, I’m sure you are all aware of the statement by the former President and perennial NDC presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama, stigmatizing me as a clearing agent. Because for him, a mere allegation without proof is enough to merit the condemnation of an accused public officer, especially one from my administration.”

“For my part, let me state it again for the record, I will not set aside due process and the principles of natural justice in the fight against corruption, no matter how much criticism this stance brings me,” he President Akufo-Addo stated.

Touching on the all-important edifice located near the Court Complex, the President, stated that its commissioning, symbolises the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) strong dedication to upholding the tenets of the rule of law.

President Akufo-Addo, said the 10-storey and 2-tier basement parking Law House, is one of the many commitments of the NPP government toward improving the justice delivery and defence for the rights of citizens.

Gracing the event as a guest of honour at the Ministries enclave, President Akufo-Addo, said it is a testament to the NPP’s commitment toward addressing the accommodation difficulties confronting justice delivery across the country.

He said, the building will house the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice, in order to create a conducive environment for the administration of justice.

“The completion of The Law House stands as a testament to the NPP government’s commitment to address the age-old office accommodation problem that has plagued the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice for far too long. This state-of-the-art facility will now house the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice to provide a conducive environment for the official administration of the law in our country.”

He added that the building will also lead to an equitable, free, and just society.

“It symbolises our strong dedication to upholding the tenets of the rule of law, which is the bedrock of any thriving democracy. The rule of law ensures that no one is above the law, and that is the concept of equality before the law is respected.

“That justice is administered fairly and impartially under the protection of the rights and freedoms of every citizen. It is the foundation upon which we build an equitable, free, and just society.”

The Chief Justice, Gertrude Torkornoo, in her remarks commended the embattled Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, for his leadership in overseeing the completion of ‘The Law House’ project which started as far back as 2001.

According to her, the Attorney General’s resourcefulness in bringing the facility to fruition, ought to be appreciated.

“I believe he [Godfred Dame] must be commended. Indeed, Attorney General, I stand on behalf of the entire legal community to express our appreciation for your resilience’’. She concluded

The Chief Justice also expressed gratitude to the president and his government for their commitment to the project.

“Mr President, I also stand on behalf of all the legal community to express our thanks to you and your government for championing the delivery of this community for justice delivery.”

According to the Chief Justice, the law house will accommodate all state attorneys and support officials of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

However, she called for more law houses to be built across the country.

“I am hoping that sooner than later, we will be having another beautiful edifice close by to house the council for law reporting, to house legal aids, the law reform commission, the legal service board and all of the agencies that feed into providing justice to this dear nation of ours,” she said.

The Law House project, initiated in 2001, was originally slated for completion in May 2004. However, it faced delays, leading to its termination and subsequent re-awarding on January 10, 2023, with final completion achieved in June 2024.

The project spanned the administrations of four presidents: John Agyekum Kufuor, John Evans Atta Mills, John Dramani Mahama, and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Initially planned as an eight-story office building, the project was later revised to a ten-story structure with a two-level basement.

The final design includes conference rooms, 130 office spaces, 120 parking lots, an eating area, and various other facilities, significantly enhancing its capacity and functionality.

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