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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ex-Supreme Court Judge slams undue pressure on judiciary

Prof Kojo Kludze
Prof Kojo Kludze
A former Supreme Court Judge, Prof. Kojo Kludze has expressed worry about what he says is the undue but increasing pressure being put on the judiciary.

He says it is wrong for successive governments and their functionaries to think that they must necessarily win every case and the judiciary must pander to them.

A few months after the ruling National Democratic Congress came into office, foot soldiers of the party started agitating for the prosecution of former government officials suspected to have engaged in financial malfeasance.

In the heat of the agitations, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) restrained the former Information Minister Stephen Asamoah Boateng and his family from travelling abroad. The Bureau also seized the passport of former Foreign Minister, Akwasi Osei Adjei also toprevent him from travelling out of the country. The two former ministers, the BNI, argued were being investigated for some wrong doing.

Unhappy with the behaviour of the state investigator, the two went to the Human Rights court seeking various declarations and the release of their passports which were granted.

Then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty-Mould Iddrisu came under intense criticism by National Democratic Congress footsoldiers for allegedly not doing much to secure the prosecution of some Kufuor appointees.

In the wake of the pressure, she processed former Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani and the CEO of the erstwhile Ghana@50 Secretariat, Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby for court in connection with their handling of the celebration of Ghana’s 50th independence anniversary, but emphasised the prosecutions were not in direct response to the pressure brought to bear on her.

That case was however struck out, infuriating some members of the government and the ruling NDC.

Next, the NDC’s National Chairman, Dr Kwabena Adjei generated a lot of furore when he accused the judiciary of delivering political judgements and advised foot-soldiers of the ruling party to direct their anger at the judges and not the A-G. He subsequently cautioned the Chief Justice Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood to cleanse the judiciary of its corruption and biases or the NDC would do that for her.

However, speaking at a forum organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs for political parties on political accommodation, Prof. Kludze warned that the situation where governments expect to win all cases they take to court could lead to chaos.

Joy News’ Cyrus De-Graft Johnson who sat through the forum reports that the retired judge cited many examples to back his concerns.

Prof. Kludze said all successive governments were guilty of putting undue pressure on judges to deliver judgments favourable to them.

He said any case before a court must of necessity produce two outcomes – a winner and a loser. To expect to win all cases therefore cannot be consistent with democratic tenets.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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