The recent order by an Accra High Court for the seizure of assets of persons convicted in the recent National Communication Authority (NCA) corruption case is a significant anti-corruption, deterrent measure, two anti-corruption activists have said.
Executive Director, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo and Mr. Korieh Duodu, a Senior Partner at Egality Law view Justice Eric Kyei Baffour’s judgment as the clearest indication yet of willingness by the judiciary to apply laws meant to combat corruption.
Regarding Justice Kyei Baffour’s order for the seizure and forfeiture to the State of assets of the convicted persons to the tune of US$3 million, Mr. Duodu, said putting someone in jail over this type of allegation is really only a part of the deterrent effect.
“Steps must be taken to recover the losses to the state”, he added.
Mrs. Ofori-Kwafo similarly questioned the impact of sending corrupt people to jail when steps are not taking to recover the monies that were misapplied.
“If you use state resources wrongfully and are found culpable and there is a judgement that says take the assets and actually the assets are recovered, it will serve as a warning and a deterrent to other people that the benefit of corruption is actually lower than the cost it brings to the perpetrators”, she stressed.
This came to the fore during the first episode of the Corruption Watch webcast series in Accra. In the first episode of the webcast series, the guests discussed asset recovery using the May 12 2020 NCA case judgement by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Kyei Baffour,
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 to a collective 16 years imprisonment.
In his judgment, Justice Kyei Baffour gave an order for the seizure of any asset of the convicted persons to the tune of US$3 million, stating that the seized assets are to be forfeited to the State.
The Presiding Judge also ordered the Attorney-General to take steps to enforce the court’s ruling.