Anti-graft campaigner, Edem Senanu, says the illegal purchase of vehicles by judges, as contained in the Auditor-General’s report is ‘depressing’.
According to him, the development is unfortunate, given the involvement of judges who he said, must know better.
Speaking in an interview on the AM Show on Wednesday, he lamented the involvement of the judges; adding that it has the tendency of affecting the public’s trust in the judiciary.
“To be honest, I mean it’s depressing when you get this kind of information.
Like you pointed out, we expect our seniors to ask all the right questions and especially a certain category of citizenry, in whom we have placed our trust in and the country has made investments.
This kind of report damages the confidence of citizens in saying that we have seniors who are making sure that the right thing gets done. So I’m disappointed”, he told host, Bernice Abu-Baidoo Lansa
Mr Senanu continued, “[I’m] really disappointed at this kind of news, and I’m wondering the details, I mean what was the process followed? And how come nobody asked any question.
Or did they ask and they were not listened to. I’m just surprised at the extent of the gap between the value, and what eventually it went for”.
His comments were in reaction to the recent Auditor-General’s report which indicated that at least 16 past and current judges of the Superior Courts were fingered for the purchase of state owned vehicles contrary to Regulation 158 of Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 (L.I. 2378).
The regulation provides that the Principal Spending Officer of a covered entity shall obtain the prior written approval of the Minister for the transfer, exchange, sale, donation, contribution-in-kind, trust and any other disposal of any vehicles of the covered entity.
Regulation 158 also states that, any such disposal, lease and other action referred to in Sub-regulation 1 that is made without the written approval of the Minister, is void.
However, the report revealed that some judges, including recently retired Supreme Court judges, Yaw Appau and Julius Ansah have acquired state-owned vehicles contrary to the provisions of this law.
The Auditor-General therefore wants the vehicles recovered.
Meawnhile, a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr Kwame Asah-Asante, says judges who were implicated for unlawfully buying vehicles in the latest Auditor-General’s report should not be blamed.
According to him, the said judges are not at fault because, there is a defective system which encourages such practices.
Speaking on the AM Show on Wednesday, he explained that, the judges only played according to the existing practice whereby uncleared port vehicles are auctioned by the state, and therefore they did no wrong.
Also, the President of the Association of Magistrates and Judges, Justice Victor Ofoe has defended his 16 colleagues fingered by the Auditor-General.
Justice Ofoe rather questioned the work done by the Auditor-General saying he does not understand why the Auditor-General believes their actions are unlawful.
“I don’t know under what law he is talking about”, Justice Ofoe told JoyNews on Wednesday.
He argued that the Auditor-General should have sought answers from the Chief of Staff; adding that the purchase of vehicles in such a manner is not new.
“Purchase of vehicles has been there for a long time not today. We applied, and they said sell, and we buy. If there is any wrong at all, we applied and they said sell to him. It is valued by the transport office and we pay”, Justice Ofoe said.
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