A Former Attorney General and Minister for Justice under the erstwhile Kufuor administration, says the decision by cabinet not to sell the No. 2 Mungo Street Ridge property to the Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Jake Obetsebi Lamptey is contemptuous of the Supreme Court and an affront to the rule of law.
Nii Ayikoi Otoo opines such a decision can result in the removal of the President and Vice President from office.
The Supreme Court, by a 6-3 majority decision on Tuesday dismissed a suit filed by two deputy Ministers of State challenging the right of the NPP National Chair to acquire a State bungalow he lived in as Minister of Tourism and Chief of Staff.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah and Edward Omane-Boamah, had claimed in their writ that Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey abused his office during the acquisition of the said bungalow at the Ridge Residential area.
But the Supreme Court, in its ruling, stated that the suit against Obetsebi Lamptey does not border on conflict of interest and should have been taken to the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for proper interpretation.
The court added that the plaintiffs failed to establish that due process was not followed in the acquisition of the bungalow by the former Chief of Staff.
However, a statement issued on Thursday and signed by the Minister of Information, Fritz Baffour titled Government Will Not Sell Property To Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, said cabinet has revoked the decision to sell the property in the interest of the people of Ghana.
"In the supreme interest of the people of Ghana, and taking cognizance of the Supreme Court ruling in the matter of Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey's immoral acquisition of a State Property he occupied as a Minister of State, cabinet at its sitting today, Thursday May 24, 2012, has decided not to sell the said propertyĒ.
ďThe property in question thus continues to remain the property of the State.Ē
"Cabinet has also decided that no political appointee should ever be allowed to engage in any such unacceptable transaction," the statement read.
Speaking in an interview on Citi Eye Witness News on the subject, the former A-G said it is sad and unfortunate that the current administration is acting this way in a constitutional era.
ďIt seems to me that this is a very regrettable decision. I am really sad by what has happened. I thought we had a constitutional democracyÖthe president sworn to uphold the constitution of the countryÖthe Supreme Court has given judgment and then you have a cabinet which should include an Attorney General of this land who says that they have taken cognizance of the supreme court ruling and yet they find it immoral and therefore they are arrogating unto themselves a final judicial authorityÖ Neither the president or parliament or any other person shall interfere in the judiciaryÖ,Ēhe said.
Referring to Article 2 of the Constitution of Ghana, Mr Ayikoi Otoo pointed out that there are severe consequences for the decision taken by government; which goes contrary to the ruling by the Supreme Court.
ďThe Supreme Court has declared that Obetsebi Lamptey legally acquired the property and to say that you have decided although you know of the decision, it is immoral and therefore are not going to pay heed to it, is to disobey orders of the Supreme CourtÖhavenít they read the constitution that what they are doing is interfering in the decision of the Judiciary? What they are doing amounts to a high crime. In the case of the President and the Vice President, it can lead to their removal from office. The same Supreme Court can make that declarationÖ,Ē he added.
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