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Mahama’s Political Claims On Appointment Of Judges Dangerous – Akufo-Addo4 min read

Mahama’s Political Claims On Appointment Of Judges Dangerous – Akufo-Addo<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">4</span> min read</span>

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called-out former President John Mahama, describing his recent claims on the appointment of judges to the superior courts of judicature as dangerous to the country’s democracy and quest to consolidate same.

John Mahama at the 3rd annual lawyers conference of the NDC on Saturday, 3 September 2023, in Akosombo claimed that the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) government led by President Akufo-Addo, has packed the courts, indicating that NDC lawyer should be ready to appoint judges to bring a balance should he win the 2024 elections.

“We know they (the ruling government) have packed the courts because they fear accountability when they leave office. We must be prepared as NDC lawyers to go to the bench to balance the current situation, ” John Mahama said.

Unacceptable claims

Addressing members of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) at their 2023 annual conference held at the new examination centre (NEC), University of Cape Coast, Central Region, under the theme; “Ensuring High Standards and Integrity in Public Life – The Role of the Legal Profession,” President Akufo-Addo said the former President’s comment showed that he lacks basic understanding of the country’s laws governing appointments to high offices in the country including those to the bench.

“I know that, in some common law countries particularly in the United States of America, the political colour of judges is a legitimate topic of public discourse. Indeed, judges at the District and State levels, within the federal structure of the American Government, are elected officials, and, even though judges at the federal level, including those of the Federal Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court, are appointed by the President, with the consent of the Senate, their political colouring is generally well-known and accepted.

“Appointments to the lower courts, the High Court and the Court of Appeal are done by the President, exclusively on the advice of the Judicial Council. In the case of appointments to the Supreme Court, because of its unique position in our judicial structure, there are the additional requirements of the consultation of the Council of State and the approval of Parliament” President Akufo-Addo said.

“In the overwhelming number of cases of justices-designate to the Supreme Court, that approval has been given on a bi-partisan basis. You can count on the fingers of a hand the number of justices-designate whose approval met less than unanimous consent.

“I have gone into this matter in some detail because of a new concept that has been recently introduced into our public discourse by no less a public figure than the 4th President of the 4th Republic, the perennial NDC presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama, who has told the world that I have packed the courts with so-called “NPP judges”, and that one of the key purposes of a putative NDC victory in 2024 will be to enable him balance the courts with so-called “NDC judges” Akufo-Addo added.

“Not only are these concepts of “NPP” and “NDC” judges new in our public discourse, they are also extremely dangerous, and represent the most brazen attack on the independence of the judiciary by any allegedly responsible politician of the 4th Republic.”

“They provide another reason, if more were needed, why right-thinking citizens should ensure the defeat in 2024 of the man whom the first Special Prosecutor identified as Government Official No.1 in the still unresolved Airbus Bribery Scandal” the President further stressed.

Fight against corruption

In his statement, President Akufo-Addo underscored the level commitment his administration has demonstrated towards the fight against corruption. He indicated that it is not his job to clear or convict any person accused of wrong doing, or of engaging in acts of corruption.

That, President Akufo-Addo says is the job of the courts and the law enforcement agencies in the country. The President indicated that his job is to act on allegations of corruption by referring them to the proper investigative agencies for the relevant enquiry and action.

“That (referral to proper investigative agencies) is exactly what has been done since I assumed the mantle of leadership on 7th January, 2017. The latest episode involving the former Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, is evident for all to see. I am not aware of any government in the 4th Republic subjecting so many of its officials to such investigations and inquiries” Akufo-Addo stated.

“At the same time, several officials of the previous Mahama administration, such as William Matthew Tetteh Tevie, Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman and Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, in the infamous $4 million NCA scandal, have been tried and convicted of various corruption-related offences, and several others, including Dr. Stephen Opuni, the former CEO of COCOBÒD, and Hon. Cassiel Ato Forson, the Minority Leader in Parliament, are standing trial as we speak” the President further remarked.

From Wilberforce Asare

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