Attorney-General (AG) Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong has opted out of the nine-member committee set up by Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to investigate the Supreme Court Justices who adjudicated the landmark Presidential election petition, DAILY GUIDE has gathered.
Reliable sources from the AG’s Department confirmed to DAILY GUIDE that it has become an open secret at the AG’s Department that Mrs. Appiah-Opong does not want to have anything to do with the committee, apparently to avoid a conflict of interest situation.
The nine Supreme Court Justices who sat on the election petition are facing investigations, following allegations in the leaked tape recording commonly referred to as ‘VikiLeaks’ where the erstwhile Deputy Minister of Communications, Victoria Lakshmi Hamah was heard making assertions that some of the judges were ‘seen’ before the verdict was delivered.
She stated that the day before the verdict was delivered, Nana Oye-Lithur, the Minister of Children, Gender and Social Protection, and incidentally the wife of Tony Lithur, the lead counsel for President John Mahama in the election petition, went to see some of the Justices.
“…Even before the [Supreme Court] verdict, Nana [Oye Lithur] was with the Justices and all that. You don’t know the role she has played for us to win the court case, then you want to use your unintelligence to overthrow her…,” the deposed Deputy Minister was heard saying in the secret tape leaked to the public two weeks ago.
Before her appointment, Mrs. Appiah-Opong was a senior partner in the President’s lawyer, Tony Lithur’s law firm, Lithur Brew and Co. Against this background she would want to recuse herself from the nine-member panel put together by the CJ to probe the allegation.
Meanwhile, Dr. Dominic Ayine, Deputy Attorney General, is also said to have opted out of taking the place of his boss on the CJ’s investigative committee for similar reasons of conflict of interest.
Dr. Ayine, himself is a senior partner at Ayine and Feli, a law firm where another key member of the President’s legal team in the election petition, Dr. Basit Aziz Bamba, practices.
Attempts by DAILY GUIDE to get a confirmation of this position from the Deputy AG yielded no dividend, as he refused to comment.
He was out of the country and could not respond to the enquiry, “…I’m out of town,” he simply told DAILY GUIDE.
The CJ recently instituted a nine-member committee headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Dr. Samuel Kofi Date-Bah, a man renowned for his strict adherence to legal procedure, to grill the nine-member Supreme Court Justices who sat on the unprecedented election petition.
The Supreme Court panel was presided over by Justice William Atuguba.
Even though Nana Oye has denied influencing any Supreme Court judge, describing the allegation as ‘preposterous’, the Date-Bah Committee has been given the mandate to unravel the truth within two weeks of its first sitting.
The Chief Justice was prompted to act on the allegations following immense public outcry caused by the revelations in the VikiLeaks and a subsequent petition sent to Justice Theodora Wood by Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie aka Sir John, General Secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
DAILY GUIDE can confirm that a crunch meeting was held last Thursday November 14, 2013, to discuss Sir John’s petition to the Chief Justice.
A letter dated November 18, 2013 signed by the Judicial Secretary, Alex B. Poku-Acheampong and addressed to Sir John, confirmed the arrangements being made to investigate the matter that has apparently been taken seriously by the Judicial Council.
At the November 14 meeting, the Chief Justice was said to have proposed that the matter should be handled by the Appointments and Disciplinary Committee of the Judicial Council.
The CJ’s suggestion was unanimously accepted.
The Appointments and Disciplinary Committee is the body that probes allegations of judicial misconduct and it possesses the authority to appoint or sack members of the Bench.
Chairman of the investigative committee was recalled from retirement to head the probe because the current Chairman of the Disciplinary and Appointments Committee, Justice Julius Ansah, was a member of the nine-member Supreme Court panel that adjudicated the election petition whose conduct is under probe.
The committee to investigate the Supreme Court Judges’ bribery allegation was drawn from the 18-member Judicial Council.
They are Nana Dr. S.K.B Asante, the Chief of Asokore in the Ashanti Region, who is also a legal luminary and an international arbitrator; the Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong or her representative; Frank Beecham, a legal practitioner and the former President of the Ghana Bar Association.
Others are Ms. Joyce N.N. Oku, a member of the Council for Law Reporting, Mrs. Eileen Odartei-Laryea, the President’s Nominee on the Judicial Council and the Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex B. Poku – Acheampong.
Meanwhile, Nene A. O. Amegatcher, President of the Ghana Bar Association, has also been ‘co-opted’ to serve on the committee.
Source: Daily Guide
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