May 31, 2012 at 2:39pm
Supreme Court Ruling On Jake Obetsebi
NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE SUPREME COURT RULING ON JAKE OBETSEBI LAMPTEY
It is obvious many Ghanaians are disenchanted at the Supreme Court ruling justifying the purchase by Jake Obetsebi Lamptey current NPP Chairman of a bungalow he had occupied as a Minister of State during the previous regime.
The Supreme Court, the highest court of the land by a majority of six to three threw out a suit by two Deputy Ministers of State that challenged the right of Jake Obetsebi Lamptey in purchasing the bungalow.
The Supreme Court presided over by Mr.
Justice William Atuguba, acting Chief Justice was of the view that, Mr.
Obetsebi Lamptey did not acquire the said property as a Minister but a private citizen after he had resigned from public office.
According to the court, the plaintiffs failed to prove that the defendant had violated provisions in the 1992 Constitution relating to the acquisition of state lands and property by individuals.
Public opinion has been divided over this landmark ruling by the Supreme Court with some describing it as a bad precedence.
In the view of many, the decision will open the floodgates for the plunder of state resources by public office holders using their influence or the colour of their office to manipulate policies.
True, Jake may not have been holding any public office when he opted to purchase the property in question but the issue is, would such an offer be given to any ordinary person at all?
At a recent news conference to chart the way forward in the housing sector, the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, E.T.
Mensah unveiled a list of beneficiaries of the Borteyman Housing project.
This was full of cronies and lackeys of politicians.
Ghanaians have had issues with the behaviour of some public officials who at the end of their tenure of office or whilst in office plundered state resources.
Not too long ago, we had the Speaker of the previous Parliament, Mr.
Begyina Sekyi Hughes looting his entire service bungalow of all its furnishing and contents.
Also a former First Lady, has acquired the Nsawam Cannery which she bought through a bid.
Currently before the courts is a political activist, Alfred Agbesi Woyome who is being tried over the controversial payment of a 51 million cedis judgement debt.
The President of the Ghana Football Association Kwesi Nyantakyi is also alleged to be a Director of ABN Consulting Services, the Company that is currently in court over the Glo Sponsorship deal for the local premier league and the Black Stars.
Nyantakyi is alleged to have used the name "Nana Nimo" in the registration of the company.
The list is endless, but suffice it to say public office holders and as such politicians are gradually making governance irrelevant through acts of omissions and commission.
Some of these corrupt and conflict of interest situations are seemingly encouraged by the ruling of courts of equity.
Even though some of these enterprises prima facie look justified, the morality behind them begs a lot of questions.
As it stands now, the Supreme Court has shot itself in the foot and the earlier the decision is overturned the better.
The Greek Philosopher Plato holds that knowledge of what is just or moral and the ability to distinguish between true justice or morality from what is merely apparent depends on the full development and use of human reason.
Plato portends that there is a very close connection between true justice or morality and human well-being.
To him, legal and political arrangements that depart too far from true justice should if possible, be replaced by arrangements that better promote justice.
The Supreme Court to many people seems to have surrendered moral judgement on the altar of convenience.
Public reaction to the ruling should be a vital lesson to the current regime.
Today it is Jake, tomorrow it will be their turn.
What is good for the goose is equally good for the gander.
Salt can mock at shea butter because it is sunny but when rain falls it will be the turn of salt.
Good is good no matter who does it.
Okudzeto Ablakwa and Dr.
Omane Boamah have raised a vital moral issue.
They have lost the battle and not the war.
We applaud them for their sense of patriotism, justice, equity and transparency.
It will be unfair if the rod is waved just at Jake.
The fight must be extended to cover all public officers who benefited from the so called Accra redevelopment scheme.
Land is exhaustible and posterity will never forgive the present generation if we usurp the rights and belonging of future generations.
For the way forward, there is the need to promulgate a law that will guide future disposal and redevelopment of state property.
How rational is it to use state funds to develop public property only for them to be disposed of to private individuals with state connections.
Sustainable development involves utilising what we have judiciously so that our future children will come to inherit.
We say Ayekoo to the two Deputy Ministers and all those who fought along with them.
The race is indeed not always for the swift for equity must not only be done, but must be seen to be done.
BY: JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST.