Godfred Yeboah Dame, Deputy Attorney-General (AG) and Minister of Justice, has debunked the notion that the 5-2 decision of the Supreme Court on the eligibility of the Special Prosecutor to hold onto office shows the "independence of the court".He explained that, the manner in which the seven justices ruled the case spoke to the diversity of the court and was not political.
Lawyer Dame who was speaking to Paul Adom-Otchere on Good Evening Ghana on Thursday indicated that, one of the two Justices who was not in favour of the majority decision was appointed by President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, therefore, if she wanted to please the president, she would have joined her five colleagues.
“Justice Agnes Dodzie, was appointed by President Akufo-Addo in 2018 and she wrote the dissenting judgement for the case...for me, it shows the independence of thinking on the part of the Justices of the Supreme Court,” he said.
Lawyer Dame noted that most of the justices on the majority side have ruled against the president in many cases, so, it shows the diversity in the thinking of the court.
“I find it appalling the manner in which certain persons who are to know better, take to the press and make all kinds of false analyses, but this notwithstanding makes the law beautiful,” he stressed.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, in a 5-2 majority decision ruled that Martin Amidu was eligible to hold office as Special Prosecutor.
The decision read by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah means the retirement age for employees of public service does not apply to the office of the Special Prosecutor.
A former Deputy Attorney General, Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine filed a case seeking a proper interpretation of Articles 190(1)(d), 199(1) and 295 of the 1992 Constitution, indicating that, the retirement age of all holders of public offices created pursuant to Article 190 (1)(d) is 60 years, and not beyond 65 years.
Article 190(1) states “The Public Services of Ghana shall include” (d) such other public services as Parliament may by law prescribe.
Article 199(1) states “A public officer shall, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, retire from the public service on attaining the age of sixty years.”
Dr. Ayine argued at the time President Akufo-Addo named Martin Amidu as SP that he was not qualified because he was 66.
He said this contravened section 13(3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959).
The Attorney General’s office which has been defending the Special Prosecutor since the court discharged him as a defendant said Ayine’s reading of the law is not accurate.
Deputy Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame has added that the said office is a specialized agency and cannot be treated like other public offices.
The case was heard by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah and Justice Baffoe Bonnie, Justice Sule Gbadegbe, Justice Prof. Ashie Kotei, Justice Nene Amegatcher, Justice Agnes Dodzie and Justice Marful Sau.
The Chief Justice, Justice Baffoe Bonnie, Justice Marful Sau, Justice Prof. Ashie Kotei and Justice Nene Amegatcher ruled in favour of the Attorney General, thus dismissing case against Mr. Amidu.
Justice Sule Gbadegbe and Justice Agnes Dodzie ruled against the Attorney General.
Watch the full interview of the Deputy AG below.