A Lecturer at the GIMPA Law School, Kwesi Keli-Delata has described as “gravely scandalizing”, for the General Secretary for the New Patriotic Party Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, to make statements that portray a panicky, uncertain and indecisive Supreme Court bench.
Mr. Owusu Afriyie in an interview on Joy FM’s Newsnight on Thursday, made comments to suggest bias, on the part of a member on the panel of judges hearing the NPP’s petition challenging the outcome of the 2012 Presidential elections.
Lawyers for the Presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, his running-mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and party Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, at the hearing of the NDC's application, raised objections to the panel sitting on the case.
The petitioners are opposing the NDC's application and raised a preliminary objection to one of the justices whom they didn't name in open court.
Although the petitioners are tight-lipped on the identity of the judge they want removed from the panel, it is believed that Justice William Atuguba, whose nephew, Dr. Raymond Atuguba, was recently appointed by President Mahama as Executive Secretary to the president, is the judge whose membership of the panel is being objected to.
However, Mr. Keli-Delata in a statement copied Myjoyonline.com on Friday, wants the Ghana Bar Association to condemn Mr. Kwadwo Afriyie, a lawyer, in the strongest terms, for making comments to such effect.
“To cast that kind of reflection on the highest court of the land, or any court for that matter, amounts to gravely scandalizing the court".
"Mr. Afriyie is aware, or should be aware, that such actions are contemptuous of the court as they lower the highest bench in the estimation of the general public and dangerously affect the administration of justice,” the statement noted.
“These developments do not complement the efforts of the legal academia who are diligently training law students in the best practices of the law and ethical standards.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Keli-Delata has also described as erroneous, arguments being made with reference to Supreme Court decision in the case between J.H. Mensah and the Attorney-General [1996-97], on President Mahama’s directive that immediate-past Ministers should assume caretaker roles in their respective Ministries.
“In that suit, the Plaintiff challenged the proposition by the then government that retained ministers and their deputies needed no legislative approval at the start of the second term of the administration. The argument was that they had already been vetted by Parliament at the start of the first term of the administration”.
“None of the facts on which that case and the court’s conclusions were constructed are present in this presidential directive. There is therefore no basis for evaluating the constitutionality of the President’s action in reference to the J.H. Mensah case”.
Mr. Keli-Delata said, the directive must rather be considered in light of the President’s unique position as the repository of executive authority, under article 58 of the Constitution and the nuanced circumstances of this and other presidential transitions.