President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has admonished lawyers on the African continent to stop dragging cases to make money off their clients.
Delivering the keynote address to members of the Nigerian Bar Association at their 58th Annual General Conference in Abuja, under the theme “Transition, Transformation and Sustainable Institutions”, President Akufo-Addo said lawyers across the continent have a duty to employ the knowledge of the law to assist the State to fight poverty on the African continent and not to use their knowledge of the law and it’s technicalities to make money at the expense of their clients and the Nation at large.
“As we can say that we have a lot to be proud of in the role played by lawyers in trying to promote democracy in our countries, it is also true that we have not always done ourselves proud. The sad truth is that there have always been lawyers ready to find a way to justify some negative developments no matter how bizarre. It is not surprising, however, that sometimes, our profession has attracted the most cynical of comments,” the President said.
He added that “outside literature, it is not uncommon in everyday life to hear disparaging comments on the legal profession, our fees charged being the regular source of unhappiness or the judicial process that many feel does not deliver justice to them.”
He called on the lawyers to avert their minds to these criticisms and “respond in a manner that will assess the integrity of the legal profession and its determination to uphold the rule of law.”
President Akufo-Addo noted in his address that the cost of public works to the State, should shame us all. “Our architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and, yes, lawyers surely have to answer why it costs more for the state to build everything in Ghana and Nigeria than it does in other parts of the world,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo in his speech posed a question on why the cost of building a simple classroom block is so high when the government is doing it, and so remarkably low when it is done by the private sector?
“We are making efforts in Ghana to deal with this phenomenon by enhancing our procurement processes,” he said. Simply reviewing contracts brought before the Public Procurement Authority for approval, under either sole sourcing or restrictive tendering, President Akufo-Addo stated that “we have, in the past 18 months, saved the country some GH¢1.6 billion, approximately $400 million. The whole of 2016, the year before I took Office, the Authority made zero savings. We will continue with this development,” the President assured.
His Highness The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Lamido Sanusi, the chairman for the occasion, was full of praise for the President in his address. He urged the President to continue his agenda of transforming Ghana.
“We are proud to know that we have leaders like you on the African continent. We believe that as more like you step up to show that leadership, we believe that the hope the we have for African growth and development is not misplaced,” the Emir said.