President Akufo-Addo commences action on petition to remove Chief Justice

BY: Daily Graphic
Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah
Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commenced processes on a petition for the removal of the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah.

An anti-corruption civil society organisation, the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), filed the petition over the Chief Justice’s alleged involvement in a $5 million bribery case.

The allegations were made by a private legal practitioner, Mr Akwasi Afrifa, but the Chief Justice had denied the accusation and asked the police to probe the matter.

President’s response

A letter dated July 26, 2021 and signed by the Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, acknowledged receipt of ASEPA’s petition to invoke Article 146 of the Constitution for the removal of the Chief Justice.

“The President of the Republic has, in accordance with Article 146 (6) of the Constitution, commenced the appropriate processes subsequent to being petitioned for the removal of the Chief Justice, ” the letter from the Executive Secretary said.

ASEPA commends President

In its reply to the President’s letter, ASEPA expressed gratitude to the President for acting on its petition.

It said the President was on point in acting in accordance with the constitutional provision of Article 146(6).

ASEPA’s letter dated July 28, 2021, was signed by its Executive Director, Mr Mensah Thompson.

The organisation, however, asked the President to furnish it with the names of the people he would appoint to constitute the committee to look into the petition for the removal of the Chief Justice.

It also asked the President to provide it with details of the decision taken in consultation with the Council of State in respect of the suspension of the Chief Justice, since the process had already commenced, as communicated to ASEPA.

Short of vital information

While quoting portions of the Constitution to support its case, ASEPA also noted that the President’s response to the letter asking for the commencement of processes to remove the Chief Justice was deficient in “vital information”.

“[The President’s response] fell short of providing some vital information in respect of the action taken by the President, in accordance with Article 146,” it stated in the reply to the President’s acknowledgement.

Legalities

Explaining further, it said for the avoidance of doubt, Article 146(6) states: “Where a petition is for the removal of the Chief Justice, the President, in consultation with the Council of State, appoints a committee consisting of two justices of the Supreme Court, one of whom shall be appointed Chairman by the President, and three other persons who are not members of the Council of State, not members of Parliament nor lawyers.”

“In line with the quoted provisions, could the Presidency provide the Alliance (petitioners) with the full list of the names of the two justices of the Supreme Court appointed by the President, in accordance with Article 146, and indicate which of them will chair the committee?

“Can the Presidency also furnish us with the names of the three other members of the committee who are not members of the Council of State, members of Parliament nor lawyers, as stipulated under Article 146(6)?” it asked.

ASEPA further quoted Article 146 (10) of the Constitution: “Where a petition has been referred to a committee under this article, the President may - (a) In the case of the Chief Justice, acting in accordance with advice from the Council of State, by warrant signed by him, suspend the Chief Justice.”

Besides, it asked the President to offer details of the decision taken in consultation with the Council of State regarding the suspension of the Chief Justice.