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Ghana Bar Association Is A Politically Partisan Organization?   
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Managing Editor of the ‘Insight’ newspaper, Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr has expressed surprise at the ‘political stance’ taken by the Ghana Bar Association on the recent Supreme Court ruling over the conflict of interest case filed against National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and the subsequent cabinet decision over the matter.

Mr Pratt, who impliedly accused the GBA of playing the ostrich on political issues during the administration of ex-president Kufuor, says he is baffled at the GBA’s position on the matter and wonders what has changed for the group to suddenly found its voice.

To him, it is unfortunate that an association like the GBA, held in high esteem was gradually becoming a political entity, stressing that to the best of his knowledge, the Supreme Court never ordered the government to hand over the Ridge property to the NPP National Chair, and thus finds the GBAs comment on the issue extremely strange.

“I am even surprised at the comments being made by the Ghana Bar Association, I am deeply surprised. It can only be laid to a deepening of a perception that the Ghana Bar Association has become a politically partisan organization,” he said.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information and Dr. Omane Boamah, Deputy Sports Minister, dragged the NPP chairman to court accusing him of abusing his office in his purchase of a government building - No 2 Mungo Street - in the Ridge residential area.

But the Supreme Court presided over by Justice William Atuguba last month ruled that Mr Obetsebi Lamptey did not abuse any law of the land by purchasing the house.

The Supreme Court also stated that the suit against Jake 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.

Subsequently, the Mills-led administration decided not to sell the No. 2 Mungo Street Ridge property to Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey on moral grounds and in the “supreme interest of the Ghanaian people”.

But according to the Bar Association, the Supreme Court cannot be faulted for the failure of the plaintiffs in the matter to produce incontrovertible evidence against the NPP Chairman.

A statement released by the Association and signed by National President, Frank W.K. Beechem, said even though it respects people’s right to comment on the morality of the matter, it is important government does not disregard its contractual obligations in the lease documents “executed between the government (as lessor) and Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey (as Lessee).”

The GBA warned that cabinet’s decision has potential legal ramifications adding that in view of the “rising cost to the Republic in what has become known as ‘Judgment Debts’ arising from Government’s actions and inactions that the courts have found to have breached the law,” the government must do well to settle the matter in the best way possible.

But speaking in an interview with Radio Gold, the seasoned journalist deflated the notion by the GBA that that Jake’s case could rake in more judgment debts for the government.

According to him, for the Supreme Court to give an assurance that Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey acquired the land through legal means, there was no way the government would pay for any debt.

“I think that there must be some mischief in the position taken by the Ghana Bar Association…it is a very…very strange position,” he said.
Source: Chris Joe Quaicoe/Peacefmonline.com

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