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NDC calls for inquiry into Judiciary

BY: Faith Ayorkor Mensah & Charleselta Abaidoo
 Johnson Asiedu Nketiah — NDC General Secretary
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah — NDC General Secretary

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on the Judicial Council to institute an inquiry into developments at the Supreme Court where judgments are made without assigning full reasons to the rulings.

It said the inquiry must also address some administrative lapses and abuse of office by the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, the General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, stated that the findings and recommendations would salvage the country’s democracy.

He stated that the judiciary was key to maintaining democracy in the country.

He said the NDC would also petition Parliament for the Judiciary Committee of the House to conduct a public inquiry into the reasons for the blunders committed by the Supreme Court in the 2020 Presidential Election Petition and other cases with the view to proposing appropriate remedial legislation.

“The NDC is saddened by and gravely concerned about the phenomenon of unreasoned judgments, lack of fidelity to the record of cases, unpardonable factual errors that have become commonplace in judgments of the apex court, as well as glaring administrative abuses by the Chief Justice,” he stated.

Commitment

He said the NDC remained committed to Ghana's democracy and the promotion of the rule of law.

“Accordingly, we shall endeavour at all times, in line with our social democratic ethos, to ensure that the justice system performs the role assigned to it by the 1992 Constitution by serving the interest of all Ghanaians devoid of any political or partisan considerations,” he stated.

He, however, said recent happenings in the judiciary threatened the credibility and public confidence in the institution which, when left unchecked, could lead to a major democratic disaster in the country.

He cited two instances to prove his point: the cases of Abdul Malik Kweku Baako vs Attorney General on the impeachment proceedings of Charlotte Osei, the then Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, and the Republic vs High Court (Criminal Division) Accra, Ex parte Stephen Kwabena Opuni & Anor.

"In recent times, our Supreme Court has handed down some judgments and rulings that do not make any legal or factual sense because the court has failed to assign any reason for these judgements," he said.

"The NDC has observed that our democracy cannot operate efficiently and deliver the values of freedom, justice, development and equality of opportunity for all citizens regardless of political affiliation if our judiciary, particularly elements within the Supreme Court, become or are perceived to be rented agents or the political wing of a political party," he added.

Negative developments

Mr Asiedu Nketiah alleged that the Chief Justice was abusing his power through his empanelling of the Courts.

“Recently, the case involving Dr Cassiel Ato Forson was originally assigned to Justice Solomon Oppong Twumasi only for the judge to announce in open court that the Chief Justice had reassigned the case to another judge in another division of the High Court. This development is quite mind-boggling and we wonder why for us in Ghana, we start everything with so much aplomb and funfair only for us to ruin it along the way,” he added.

He also expressed concern about what he termed the ‘unholy haste’ of the apex court in trespassing into domains reserved for the legislature by the 1992 Constitution.

“We note that one entrenched principle of our legal governance since 1993 has been the recognition by our courts that it is not their business to get into certain matters that by law have been assigned to other branches of government. Contrary to this principle, we have observed a creeping tendency of the apex court to trespass into domains reserved for Parliament. In the process, the court has demonstrated legal or institutional hubris and thrown overboard the restraints the court has exercised in the past over matters that fall within the domain of Parliament,” he said.