Two anti-corruption experts have said the recent order by an Accra High Court for the seizure of assets of persons convicted in the National Communications Authority (NCA) case is a good 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 $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 added: “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.”
The experts made the comments in the recently launched webcast series of Corruption Watch.
Corruption Watch is a CDD-Ghana led-project that aims at reducing public corruption through transparency in the fight against corruption from exposure to closure.
In this first episode of the webcast series, guests discuss asset recovery.
The 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.