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Opinions Wed, 22 Dec 2010

And the beat goes on” in Ghana Law School

General Legal Council and the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General sits in laxity.

Once again, the General Legal Council and the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General are virtually ‘ball-watching’ at the spectacle that seems to be going on at the Ghana School of Law. This is a far cry from the decisiveness with which matters were handled when the Council included the former Minister of Justice, Hon Ayikoi Otoo, who demonstrated every resolve to inject sanity into the affairs of the premier institution for training lawyers in Ghana . The perceived neglect of the law school may be another egg on the face of the current Attorney General, an acclaimed stranger to the courtrooms of Ghana . Consequently, the promise of a ‘better Ghana’ by H. E. President JEA Mills may not be realized particularly in the law school as the clarion call seems to have fallen on the ‘deaf ears’ of the management and the directorship of the law school plus the elite who superintend over its affairs.

Ironically, the affairs of the law school are improperly managed despite it being placed in the hands of the highest judicial personalities Ghana can muster. This notwithstanding, the school is amazingly plagued with such avoidable problems that leaves a passive observer to wonder about the motives of those in authority.

The latest information intercepted by an news reporter reveals a ploy by the ‘vested interests’ that controls the school to confirm their favorite candidate for the position of the Chief Accountant who was, reportedly ‘ordained’ before newspapers adverts inviting prospective candidates commenced. An insider told the reporter that the terms of the advert were designed to stalk up the odds against persons who dared apply as these terms were tailored to fit a particular candidate.

A look at the advert confirms this. Indeed, why should the position of an accountant be tied to ‘at least Ten (10) years of work in Professional legal Education, Training or similar institution,” six (6) years of which, at the minimum, must have been in a senior grade or position. The hurdle is still skewed further by the requirement that the Applicant must be conversant with procedures related to ‘sourcing funding/subvention from the Controller & Accountant-General's Department’. That is not all. It is further restricted by the requirement that, that experience should have been acquired only from ‘subvented professional training institutions’. Now, who on God’s earth, from Afghanistan through Eritrea to Iran , can qualify for this position unless the person has had a long experience in the Ghana Law School ? Indeed, if we subject these conditions to any of Ghana ’s best accountants, none of them will stand the chance against a worker of the law school. Not even the Auditor-General of Ghana will dare submit an application upon reading the advert. Incidentally, by the standard set, no external auditor will be qualified to audit the law school since emphasis on form at the expense of substance. There is no rational connection between the duties of an accountant in a modern institution with challenges similar to those of the law school and the qualifications demanded in the advert. It would have been a better option to require an accountant with an MBA or management background than to tie the skill-set to years of running errands to and from the Controller & Accountant-General's Department or the Ministries.

One is therefore left to question the motive behind the ‘kokofu’ football being played on the ‘off-side’ of Ghanaians. It must be noted that the law school collects, from private sources, millions of dollars in fees from students and plunders most of it with very little to show for its usage. The Akamba Committee report indicated the rot in that institution. No one has so far been held accountable and the funds of the school end …

It is being reported that the ‘ordained’ candidate has to be appointed at all cost as the official cannot afford to open themselves up to an outsider as this will spell doom for them.

If the General Legal Council is clean and desires to honestly require the services of a competent Accountant while desirous to have a transparent hiring process that has all the attributes of the procedural fairness the Supreme Court of Ghana preaches about, then it must follow the guidelines it has set for itself. A ‘jujuman’ this reporter chanced upon claims that it has been revealed to him that during to the hiring of the former chief accountant of the law school, Mr. Wutor, the General Legal Council decided that the next Chief Accountant to be hired for the school should be a Chartered Accountant. The ‘jujuman’ further stated that it has not been revealed to him, yet, that the Council has since decided otherwise and for which the adverts for the position lack authority.

I therefore wish to draw the attention of the General legal Council to its previous decision on the matter which is binding on the law school until otherwise decided. We also wish to notify them of the contents of the said adverts assuming they are unaware of it.

( To be continue )

G. Bandoh

USA

Columnist: Bandoh, G.