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29.06.2004 General News

Punish irresponsible Leaders - Kludze

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Accra, June 29, GNA - Professor Justice Kodzo Paaku Kludze, Supreme Court Judge, on Tuesday expressed the need to reprimand irresponsible rulers to discourage the deviant use of political authority. He said: "Seeds of future misrule are sowed", if irresponsible acts were left unpunished.

Justice Kludze, who was delivering his second talk, at a two-day Agyepong-Sarkodie-Koranteng-Addow Memorial Lectures in Accra, said any nation searching for good governance "mandates its citizens to insist on the accountability of its leaders".

The lectures were instituted a decade ago by the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) to immortalise the memory of three High Court Judges who were murdered on June 30, 1982.

On that fateful day, the three; Mr Justice Kwadwo Agyei-Agyepong, Fred Poku Sarkodie and Cecilia Koranteng-Addow, together with a retired military officer, Major Sam Acquah, were abducted from their homes and murdered at the Bundase Military Range, in the Accra Plains. Their charred bodies were later discovered, prompting an official enquiry into the murder.

Justice Kludze, whose lecture had: "Ghana in Search of Good Governance", as its theme, said even though the cowardly murder of the four persons occurred more than two decades ago, the sordid story must be told.

He described the deceased as "Martyrs of the rule of law, the independence of the Judiciary, and the principle of good governance. "They were indeed martyrs who died for their beliefs and for their commitments to freedom and justice for all Ghanaians."

Justice Kludze warned Ghanaians not to condone corruption to: "Lay the foundation that will entice future rulers to loot the treasury." "However long it takes, the nation will ask for accounts from its rulers."

He noted that transparency and accountability were the two ingredients that would ensure the rule of law, eschew arbitrariness and nepotism in high places.

Justice Kludze repeated his call for the repeal of portions of the Transitional Provisions in the 1992 Constitution, which confer permanent immunity on members and appointees of the Provisional National Defence Council and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.

He pointed out that a repeal of the immunity provisions would preserve the rights of those, who were aggrieved by actions taken by the two military juntas.

Justice Kludze, however, cautioned that in an attempt to repeal those provisions, "we should not grant a blanket immunity to those who may have violated the law or committed wanton acts of repression, murder and torture, or caused irreparable damage to the economy."

Justice Klutze suggested the need for the courts "to adopt a principled interpretational approach to define the precise contours of the immunity conferred by the Transitional Provisions," and interpret the immunity clauses against the presumption that all public officials, whether military or civilian were accountable for their actions. "We cannot hope to establish the rule of law; accountability in public affairs or good governance, if we immunise those who deliberately misuse and abuse power."

Mr Ebow Quarshie, immediate past president of the GBA, who chaired the function, said the active participation of members of both the Bench and the Bar in the lectures was very impressive and expressed the hope that the two bodies would work closely together to help promote the rule of law and good governance.

Dignitaries at the function included Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Chief Justice, Mr Paul Adu-Gyamfi, President of the GBA, and the Most Reverend Dominic Kodwo Andoh, Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra.

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