Intensify seizure of assets of corrupt officials – Experts say as Corruption Watch launches Webcast series

Two anti-corruption experts have said the recent order by an Accra High Court for the seizure of assets of persons convicted in the NCA case is a significant deterring anti-corruption measure.

Overall, they view Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s judgement as the clearest indication yet of the application of laws to combat corruption.

Regarding Justice Kyei Baffour’s order for the seizure and forfeiture to the Republic of any asset of the convicted persons to the tune of US$3 Million, Korieh Duodu, a Senior Partner at Egality Law, said “Putting someone in jail over this type of allegation is really only a part of the deterrent effect.

“Now, if you can also take steps to recover the losses to the state, there are a number of benefits to doing that…you strike fear to the hearts of those who are involved in stealing from the state and dispersing those funds; profiting from those funds,” said the legal practitioner and anti-corruption expert.

Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Executive Director, Ghana Integrity Initiative on the other hand asks “…of what relevance and importance [would it be] if you are only able to send people to jail and not be able to recover the monies that were wrongly applied?”

She said “If you use state resources wrongfully and then you are investigated and found culpable and then there is a judgement that says take the assets and actually the assets are recovered…it will serve as a warning and a deterrence to other people that the benefit of corruption is actually lower than the cost it brings to the perpetrators.”

Watch their full comments in the first episode of the Corruption Watch webcast series released today, Wednesday 27th May, 2020 in Accra. The webcast series, which is available on-demand on our YouTube channel (Corruption Watch Ghana) will complement the traditional Corruption Watch Radio Programme that airs on two platforms of the Multimedia Group – Joy FM’s Super Morning Show (SMS) and Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem.

In this first episode of the webcast series, our guests discuss asset recovery. Our case study is the May 12 2020 judgement by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Kyei Baffour, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court Judge.

In that judgment, Justice Kyei Baffour sentenced three of the five persons accused of corruption in the ‘clandestine’ purchase of supposed cybersecurity equipment for the National Communications Authority (NCA) to a collective 16 years imprisonment.

In his judgement, Justice Kyei Baffour gave an order for the seizure of any asset of the convicted persons to the tune of Three Million US dollars. The seized assets are to be forfeited to the State (Ghana). Justice Kyei Baffour also ordered the Attorney-General to take steps to enforce this order of the court.

Egality Law’s Duodu assessed that “…this is a reasoned and solid judgement…with important ramifications in Ghana’s fight against corruption because it has a number of powerful features to it which should stand Ghana in good stead in recovering stolen funds in future.”

Mrs Ofori-Kwafo further stated that the judgement is “…a boost and reassurance that there is hope and that if we continue to do the right things we are likely to get the results that we are looking for.”

Source: Frederick Asiamah (Corruption Watch)

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