President Akufo-Addo has stated that the activities of lawyers who engage in fraudulent means to procure judgment debts against the state were a dent on the law profession.
He described as “sad truth” how, a few years ago, such lawyers succeeded in fleecing the state through dubious payments of judgment debts.
“It is not surprising, therefore, that sometimes our profession attracts cynical comments. We need to be aware of these criticisms and respond in a manner that asserts the integrity of the legal profession and its determination to uphold the rule of law,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo was speaking at the First Session of the 11th Congregation of the faculties of Law and Information Technology and Communication Studies of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) Monday.
A total of 326 students graduated, with Ms Sandra Akweley Martey, who secured First Class honours, receiving three awards — Best in Information Technology and Communication Studies, Public Relations and Issues and Crisis Management.
The President, a lawyer of long standing, commended the various roles played by lawyers from the days of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society to contemporary Ghana.
According to him, lawyers played a cardinal role in putting the country on the road to freedom and independence and that succeeding lawyers had also committed themselves to ensuring democracy, the rule of law and fundamental human rights in the country.
President Akufo-Addo with Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo
President Akufo-Addo also said only law and order were the basis for any organised and progressive society and urged Ghanaians to be advocates of a law-based state whose institutions were solid enough to sanction vigilantism, bribery and corruption, fraud, illegal mining activities, among other crimes in the country.
Public Universities Bill
The President announced that consultations on the Public Universities Bills had been completed and would be laid before Parliament this year to, among other objectives, bring all public universities under a common law to make their administration less cumbersome and more efficient.
He described as ‘flimsy’ and ‘disingenuous’ allegations that the bill would undermine academic freedom.
According to the President, the government remained a firm subscriber to the cardinal principles of academic freedom, as the bill demonstrated.
He commended the council and the management of the UPSA for placing emphasis on courses relevant to the needs of the Ghanaian public.
He further expressed his commitment to ensuring that Ghanaian youth did not gain free access to only senior high school (SHS) but also tertiary institutions, saying that was one of the ways to equip the youth with the requisite skills for national development.
President Akufo-Addo announced that from September this year, all students in public SHSs would be covered by the free SHS policy.
He said a new standards-based curriculum for kindergarten to class six, which focuses on making the Ghanaian child confident, innovative, digitally literate, well-rounded and patriotic citizens, would also be rolled out this year.
The President added that all was set for the construction of 21 state-of-the-art technical and vocational education training (TVET) centres this year and that 10 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centres were also being built across the country.
The Vice-Chancellor of the UPSA, Prof. Abednego F. Okoe Amartey, said the university was constructing two 10-storey multipurpose blocks and new hostels to accommodate the expectant increase in admission of free SHS students this year.
He said a 2019 report on the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings, which measures global universities’ success in delivering selected UN Sustainable Development Goals, placed the UPSA, the University of Ghana and the Ashesi University on joint third positions in sub-Saharan Africa.