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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Elsewhere Kwabena Adjei would be arrested - Papa Owusu Ankomah

Former A-G, Papa Owusu Ankomah
Former A-G, Papa Owusu Ankomah
A former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Papa Owusu Ankomah, has condemned comments by the national Chairman of the ruling party that if the Chief Justice fails to sanitise the judiciary, the government will do that for her.

He said in other countries, Dr Kwabena Adjei would have been arrested.

The NDC National Chairman, after a press conference to shore up support for the A-G, Betty Mould Iddrisu, who is facing mounting pressure within her own party after losing a string of cases brought against former government officials, launched a scathing attack on the country's judges, accusing them of manipulating the judicial process.

"People in the judiciary can make a very good case look very bad. If the judiciary is bias, if the judiciary has made its mind in one direction, not even Jesus Christ who is appointed as the Attorney General can change things. We will clean it if they don’t take steps to clean it. We will clean it and let everybody everywhere blame us for interfering in the judiciary and we will take them on," Dr Kwabena Adjei stated.

But Papa Owusu Ankomah told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah that the ruling party Chairman’s comments were unfortunate and regrettable.

He said the comments amounted to a threat on the judiciary and pitches the ruling party against judges and the judicial system and that for him has serious repercussions for the country’s justice system.

Papa Owusu Ankomah who is also the Member of Parliament for Sekondi said there are laid down procedures for concerns relating to judgements from the court and that if the NDC Chairman or any other person for that matter has any reason to believe that a particular judge or judges are violating the sacred oath they swore to uphold and deliver justice impartially, let them use due process prescribed by the country’s laws to address their concerns.

“If anyone has any reason to believe that a judge has not acted according to the oath of his office…there are remedies available [to deal with the person], but to come out and condemn the whole judiciary, saying that the judiciary is partisan, [cannot be acceptable].”

In any case “how many judges were appointed under the Kufuor administration? How many decisions have gone against the government [to warrant such comments]” he asked.

The former A-G, cautioned the ruling party to desist from seeking to use the judiciary to attain political ends and that for the Chairman of the ruling party to be dabbling in matters of the judiciary was bad enough.

“The NDC was not a party to the case, this was a suit brought by the Attorney-General on behalf of the entire nation. So how can the chairman of a political party take up the issue as if it is the political party against the individuals involved?

But a former Chief of Staff under the Rawlings regime, Nana Ato Dadzie said the comments should be viewed on their merit and the source ignored.

For him, if a section of the Ghanaian society believes that the judiciary is partisan, the issue is worth a national debate.

He thinks the judicial council must table the issue for discussion.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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