A two day conference by the Faculty of Law of the University of Professional studies, Accra (UPSA) on how to improve on law and governance has ended. Over 30 papers from academics, legal practitioners and policy makers were presented in various areas of law and governance including Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law, Media and Democratic Governance, Peace and Security, Gender Equality and Judicial Independence. The conference was on the theme: “Ghana@60: Evolution of law, democratic governance, human rights and future prospects.”
Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, who chaired the closing session, commended the Faculty of Law for the initiative to contribute to the legal development of the country.
The Conference was opened by the Minister for Education, Mathew Opoku Prempeh on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The President repeated his commitment to amend section 239 of the Criminal and Other Offences Act (ACT29) to make corruption a felony instead of misdemeanour as part of his drive to make corruption unattractive.
President Akufo-Addo further said the Criminal Justice System needs a radical transformation to make it responsive to the current needs of the Ghanaian society. The president said many proposals have been offered including non-custodial sentences for petty offences. “My government will closely consider these and all other proposals that have been advocated over the years and fashion out a policy framework that will lead to the complete overhaul and reformation of the criminal justice system” he said.
The Vice Chancellor of UPSA, Professor Abednego Okoe Feehi Amartey said the free Senior High School Policy was laudable, however, the government must anticipate a potential increase in the demand for financial assistance by the Universities since more students at the secondary level means a potential increase in the number of students who would apply to the Universities.
“We as a university are appealing to government to consider the potential upsurge of demand for quality university education in the foreseeable future and increase financial and technical support to Ghanaian Public Universities for capacity development in readiness.” He stated.
Professor Okoe Amartey noted that UPSA’s unique role as both an academic and professional University; new programmes have been introduced such as Law and Actuarial Sciences. He said this year the University is starting BSc. in Real Estate and Finance and MPhil in Finance programmes as well. He appealed to the President to enable the University employ both faculty and administrative staff for the new programmes. He stressed “we are appealing to Government to exempt our University from the cap on recruitment and to enable automatic replacement of our staff who retire or resign”.
The conference attracted papers not just from the faculty of UPSA but from other Universities such as University of Ghana (UG), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), University of Cape Coast (UCC), Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre and Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
A book and a resolution will be published out of the conference soon.