General News of Wed, 11 Jul 20189
AG can represent Ofori-Atta in asset declaration case – Court rules
The Supreme Court has dismissed an application challenging the eligibility of the office of Attorney General to represent the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta in the case where he has been sued for failing to declare his assets before taking office.
According to the court, presided over by sole Judge Justice Gabriel Pwamang, any contrary opinion must be appropriately filed using relevant constitutional provision.
Justice Pwamang’s decision followed an objection by lawyers of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) questioning the legality on of the AG representing the minister since asset declaration is a private matter.
Pressure group Dynamic Youth Organisation of Ghana (DYMOG) sued the minister at the Supreme Court praying that CHRAJ is compelled to impose sanctions on the minister for failing to declare all his assets.
CHRAJ was also added as a defendant in court.
Their suit was after CHRAJ had earlier ruled that the Finance Minister did not breach Ghana’s laws on conflict of interest despite failing to declare all his assets before taking office.
CHRAJ in its judgment in a case brought by Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer of the opposition NDC observed that Mr. Ofori Atta failed to declare his shareholding interest in Databank Brokerage Limited and Databank Financial Holdings Limited before taking office.
But an interesting twist in June, Lawyers of CHRAJ challenged the capacity of the AG to represent the minister in case.
CHRAJ found that the Finance Minister breached certain processes in the issuance of the government’s $2.25bn bond earlier this year.
CHRAJ, in its investigation of a conflict of interest allegation, levelled against Ken Ofori-Atta by a known member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Brogya Genfi, said although it found no concrete evidence on conflict of interest against the Minister, he [Ken Ofori-Atta] breached several procedures.
In its 140-page report on the matter, CHRAJ made some suggestions to the Minister of Finance to ensure that due diligence is guaranteed in subsequent deals.