Supreme Court judge, Justice Yaw Appau, has said it has become imperative for government to revisit the call for a political campaign funding bill.
According to the former Sole Commissioner of the Judgement Debt Commission, the funding of political activities and election campaigns has become a major source of corruption in public office.
â€œParty patrons sponsor candidates to become Members of Parliament and Presidential candidates. Others are sponsored to become Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives. When such candidates succeed in winning elections or get appointed, then it is â€˜paybackâ€™ time for the patrons. This is usually carried out by awarding dubious contracts to such cronies, which lead to unlawful abrogation of existing ones awarded by previous governments,â€ he stated.
The respected Supreme Court Justice made the comments when he addressed the eighth edition of the Leadership Dialogue Series organised by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ).
The event was held in Accra on May 12, 2021, on the theme â€œUprooting Public Sector and Political Corruption in Ghana.â€
This is not the first time Justice Appau, who is also an anti-corruption campaigner, is recommending the setting up of the political party bill as a way to stamp out public sector corruption. It was among the many forward-looking recommendations of the Judgement Debt Commission he chaired as Sole Commissioner.
Speaking at the CSJ lecture that brought together other anti-graft campaigners, Justice Appau also said usually, contracting parties whose contracts are terminated by a new government normally end up in courts where they manage to secure undefended judgments against the State, in most cases after the abrogating authorities have existed from power.
â€œSuch judgments carry heavy penalties, sometimes factitious. A political campaign funding bill is, therefore, required to stem these sources of corruption, which in the long run, generate huge debts to the State. To add up to this, our Political Parties must strictly comply with the provisions of article 55 of the 1992 Constitution and the Political Parties Act, 2000 [Act 574] on the organization of political parties in the country,â€ he stressed.
His eleven-point recommendation on dealing with public corruption also include the suggestion that every government or public institution must be made to report annually on steps taken to reduce corruption including how better they have become as a result.
â€œThis requirement should be mandatory with sanctions against the heads of institutions who refuse or fail to comply. It is high time public office holders, particularly heads of departments, agencies and all public institutions, were periodically called upon to account.
â€œOn top of all this, I call for a strong and forward-looking political leadership. Our presidents must be bold enough to strike when the iron is red hot, irrespective of whose ox is being gored. Their only limitation must be the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land from which they derive their authority. Nobody must be made to appear to be above the law,â€ he stressed.