Tackling Perceived Judicial Corruption Is The Way To Go
Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, has said the successful implementation of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan would go to enhance accountability, transparency and good governance across the country.
The 2017 to 2019 Plan, launched on Thursday, aims at strengthening public trust and confidence in the Judiciary thus helping to achieve one of the strategic goals of the Service.
Justice Adinyira, who is also a Judge at the United Nations Appeals Tribunal, said the Service, would, therefore, strive to remove the negative perception by implementing the Action Plan.
The Judicial Service, she explained, often came under severe criticisms from the public who perceived some of its members as corrupt.
She said that perception undermined the integrity of the Judiciary and eroded public confidence in the justice delivery system, thereby posing a threat to the security and stability of the society and undermining ethical values of democracy and sustainable national development.
Justice Adinyira, also a Member of the General Legal Council, made those remarks when she chaired the launch of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan in Accra, on the theme: 'The Judiciary of Ghana-Uprooting corruption, wherever it is found.'
A scandal hit the Judiciary in 2015 when some judges and Judicial Service staff were caught on video taking bribes in an undercover operation undertaken by ace Investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas's Tiger Eye Company.
Following the revelation, an official probe was undertaken, leading to the dismissal of 34.
Justice Adinyira said the Service would provide anti-corruption training and awareness programme to Judges, Magistrates, court officials and other staff on the Plan.
It would also engage the public to sensistise them on actions that lead to corruption to enhance the integrity of the justice delivery system.
The Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, for her part, said the Public Complaints Unit of the Judicial Service, which was established in 2003 as a special unit under the Chief Justice, formed part of efforts to promote good governance and enforce anti-corruption and transparency.
She said the Service regarded the integrity of Judges, Magistrates and staff as very critical to the constitutional mandate of the justice delivery system and would strive hard to protect it from being corrupted.
The Chief Justice noted that corruption challenged the fabric of the existence of the institution charged with the administration of justice and significantly eroded public trust and confidence.
She cited Ecclesiastes 7 verse 7, which reads: 'Extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart'.
She said the Holy Bible spoke in very plain language about corruption, especially in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, therefore, the biblical reference was in tune with the Service's programme to fight against corruption.
The 2017-2019 Action Plan was produced with the assistance of Danish International Development Agency's (DANIDA) Right to Services and Good Governance Programme aimed at fighting corruption along four key areas.
They include; increasing the focus on integrity, reducing opportunities for corruption, increasing transparency and accountability and dealing efficiently and effectively with complaints.
By Godwill Arthur-Mensah/William Fiabu, GNA