The Supreme Court’s directive on Friday, referring lawyers who facilitated the payment of 25 million Euros in dubious judgment debt to the General Legal Council, is being interpreted in legal circles as a dent in the government’s legal representation.
The Supreme Court held on Friday that if the lawyers, including former Attorney-General Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, her deputy at the time, Mr. Ebo Barton-Odro, who now sits in Parliament as First Deputy Speaker, and a host of state attorneys, including Mr. Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh, had been diligent, they would have prevented the state from paying 25 million Euros in illegal payment to Waterville.
The court held that there was enough evidence to show that both Waterville and Alfred Agbesi Woyome had no contract with the Government of Ghana to warrant the payments to them.
There are many within and outside the legal profession who are questioning the moral authority with which Mr. Barton-Odro, for instance, supervised over the screening of the President’s nominees for ministerial appointments, in the light of the role he played in awarding Mr. Woyome and Waterville huge payments from the state without valid contracts.
Mr. Barton-Odro is also a member of the African Parliament. He recently led the Ghana delegation to South Africa.
Mr. Tony Lithur, lead counsel for President John Dramani Mahama in the ongoing electoral petition before the Supreme Court, is also likely to face the General Legal Council. Mr. Lithur represented Astro-Invest, to make judgment debt claims on the Ghana Government, at a time he was supposed to know that the Austrian company was in liquidation.
While praising Mr. Martin Amidu, former Attorney-General, for initiating the action, the Supreme Court lampooned the lawyers who represented Waterville and Woyome, and aided the looting of state coffers.
The court held that Mr. Kofi Peasah-Buadu, lawyers for Waterville and Woyome, were collusive, collaborative and made the fraudulent representation that enabled them to expropriate the resources of the sovereign people of Ghana, contrary to Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution.
According to the highest court in the land, if counsel for the defendants had applied themselves diligently to the facts of the case, as demonstrated by the judgment, and averted themselves to critical exhibits, they might have taken a different stance, and given different professional legal advice.
The court also had some harsh words for Mr. Amadu Tanko, trial judge in the infamous ‘consent settlement judgment,” which paved the way for the naked looting of the state coffers to cover the two payments.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh, the controversial Chief State Attorney interdicted on the findings of the Economic and Organised Crime Office for his role in creating the avenue for bungling state officials to hand over the whopping GH˘51 million of state cash to Woyome for no work done, has sneaked back to the Attorney-General’s Department.
The Chronicle can report authoritatively that not only is he playing the role of a Chief State Attorney without any official blinking, Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh is, in fact, scheming to be named the next Solicitor-General of the Republic of Ghana.
Concerned staff at the Attorney-General’s Department have openly expressed their worries to The Chronicle about the return of the man who has been cited as instrumental in the state losing that colossal amount without any evidence of work done.
Some junior officers The Chronicle spoke to expressed their worries about the image of the Attorney-General’s Department, especially when it was established by EOCO that Woyome wired GH˘400,000 of his booty into the bank account of the wife of Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh.
At the weekend, a worried top official of the Ghana Bar Association told this paper that the new development was not a healthy sign for the future of the legal profession in the country.
“We have picked up the signals that Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh has, indeed, returned to the AG’s Department. We are unaware, though, of any move to make him the Solicitor-General.
“We do not think it is a healthy sign that he should be allowed to return to prosecute wrongdoers with all that has happened. Ethically, it is not the very best of developments,” he stated.
The EOCO established in its report, commissioned by former President John Evans Atta Mills, that Mr. Nerquaye-Tetteh drafted letters to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning to lay the foundation for the Woyome payments, but refused to defend his actions in court.
The EOCO also indicted Mr. Paul Asimenu, Head of Legal Duties, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, who was said to have quoted figures and sent information which created conditions for Woyome to be paid that huge sum of money, without any contract from the state.
Source: Ebo Quansah/The Chronicle
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