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General News Tue, 31 Aug 2010

Attorney General Strips Kweku Baako Naked

Kweku Baako Jnr, the man who vowed to strip Former President Rawlings naked but woefully failed to do so has been stripped naked by the Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu.

In yesterday’s edition of his newspaper, The New Crusading Guide, under the banner headline Mills appoints 30 High Court Judges Within 18 Months, Mr. Baako, a.k.a. Mr. Document, sought to create the impression that President Mills has appointed more judges than any other President since Ghana went democratic in 1992. He writes;

“The effusions of Dr. Kwabena Adjei, National Chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to the effect that the judiciary was being biased towards them (NDC) smacks of hypocrisy and ill-motive as records show that President John Evans Atta Mills has in a record time of eighteen (18) months of his Presidency, appointed more judges than any other President under the 4th republican dispensation within the same time frame. According to a source close to the judiciary, President Mills has appointed at least thirty (30) new High Court judges as well as three (3) new Supreme Court judges”.

Kweku Baako then went on to give the names of some judges who have been promoted to superior Courts.

But stripping Mr. Document naked yesterday as a journalist who does not take pains to cross-check issues from the relevant authorities to suit his parochial interest, the Attorney-General revealed that per the 1992 constitution of Ghana, the President does not appoint judges to the superior courts.

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“The appointments take place when the Judicial Council chaired by the Chief Justice recommends persons to be appointed to the High Court. Before the Judicial Council’s recommendations, all candidates participate in written and oral examinations organized by the Appointments Committee of the Judicial Council headed by the Chief Justice, who is currently Her Ladyship, Georgina Wood. The Judicial Council then recommends the appointment to the President,” she explained.

Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu reminded the Daily Post that under Article 139 of the Constitution of Ghana, the High Court shall consist of not less than 20 judges. She then went further to explain that many judges have been appointed to the High Court in recent times because the past two years has seen the Chief Justice creating several High Courts as well as Commercial Courts to cater for the increasing needs of Ghanaians. Even the Land Courts, she said, have been expanded from six to ten. “The Chief Justice has also created a sitting Court of Appeals in Kumasi for the Northern Sector of Ghana which has necessitated additional Appeal Court judges” she added.

The Attorney-General also explained that the Judicial Service is in the process of establishing Commercial Courts in all the regional capitals. Owing to the pre-trial conference requirement, each court will be assigned two High Court Judges (creating 20 vacancies in all).

“These vacancies, as well as the fact that there are also vacancies to be filled in the regular High Courts due to the retirement of some judges has necessitated the appointment of the judges to the superior courts” she said.

The explanation by the Attorney-General, firstly, that it is the Chief Justice, on the advice of Judicial Council, who nominates Judges to the courts, with the President only endorsing the nomination, and secondly, that many judges have been appointed in recent times by the Chief Justice to meet her court expansion programmes in the country defeats Kweku Baako’s attempt to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians.

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The front-page article in the New Crusading Guide was obviously aimed at disproving the conviction by many Ghanaians that under the NPP, the judiciary became a wing of the NPP, a tool for dealing with perceived opponents of the ruling party.

The conviction arose out of the many bogus rulings and judgements some courts and judges handed down in high profile political trials.

Defeated by a 5-4 ruling, the Kufuor government quickly beefed the Supreme Court up with Justice Afreh before it reviewed its 5-4 decision on the legality of the Fast Track Court brought against the then Attorney-General by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata. The Supreme Court, as expected, after being beefed up, overturned its earlier decision.

The late Justice Afreh, in his ruling in the Quality Grain trial fell upon an old law in the statute books to jail Dr. Sipa Yankey, Mr. Kwame Peprah and Mr. Ibrahim Adams even though he claimed they were neither guilty of stealing nor of corruption.

Justice Henrietta Abban, in the Republic Vrs Tsatsu Tsikata brought trial to an abrupt end and pronounced a strange judgment that left judicial watchers bewildered and many Ghanaians suspicious (of the judiciary).

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In the Appointment of a substantive Chief Justice after Chief Justice Paul Acquah passed away, President Kufuor by-passed four senior Supreme Court Judges, Kpegah, Atuguba and Sofia Akufo to nominate Justice Georgina Wood for appointment. She was virtually endorsed by an Appointments Committee of Parliament dominated by the NPP.

Chief Justice Georgina Wood added fuel to fire when she empanelled a High Court to sit on Christmas day, December 25, 2008 to try NDC activists alleged to have flouted electoral rules. She again illegally empanelled a court on January 1, 2009, a statutory public holiday to hear a motion by her brother-in-law, Atta Akyea and some NPP big-wigs seeking an injunction on the declaration of results from the Tain Constituency which will amount to announcing the next President of Ghana, an action that would have led to a constitutional crisis and lead the nation into chaos.

Recent rulings by some judges, regarded as bogus by many as well as the behaviour of Justice Anthony Oppong of an Accra Fast Track High Court have further fuelled the notion that the judiciary is largely pro-NPP. It is this notion that Kweku Baako sought to erase hence his publication of a totally mischievous story aimed at misleading Ghanaians.

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Source: Daily Post