The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has lashed out at Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, accusing him of supervising a “judiciary tyranny” that schemes to gag lawyers belonging to the opposition party.
NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia said Justice Anin-Yeboah was on a voyage to bully the party in an attempt to prevent its members from expressing their views on the performance of the judiciary.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on Monday, Mr. Asiedu Nketia indicated that “we hereby state categorically that they will not succeed! We will not be intimidated. We, as a party, will continue to defend the cause of freedom and of right in this country,” while referencing the invitation to the NDC MP for Bolgatanga East, Dr. Dominic Ayine to appear before the General Legal Council (GLC) for his comment against the judiciary.
He said the NDC shared in the opinion expressed by Dr Ayine, adding the opinion was not “actionable and does not violate any rule or professional conduct rules for lawyers”, insisting that, “…Neither Dr Ayine, nor we in the NDC can be compelled to increase our confidence in the independence of the Judiciary even when the Court has not given us any basis or reason to do so.”
The General Secretary said the Party was concerned about the “seeming judicial dictatorship that is fast festering under the leadership of the current Chief Justice,” adding, “…Justice emanates from the people and is administered on our behalf. Public confidence in the independence of the Judiciary must therefore be earned and not forced on us.”
Mr Nketia said the Judiciary, like Parliament and the Executive, was not above criticism and that the country’s progressive march as a constitutional democracy would allegedly suffer a grave setback if the Disciplinary Committee of the council proceeded to hold an inquiry into the matter of Dr Ayine’s comment on the election petition after he had earlier appeared before the Supreme Court and apologized for denigrating the court during the election petition trial.
Dr. Dominic Ayine, a former deputy Attorney General under the erstwhile Mahama administration, was reprimanded by the Supreme Court during the 2020 presidential election petition trial after he was cited for contempt of court.
He had stated that the judges sitting on the Presidential Election Petition filed by former President John Dramani Mahama over the December 7, 2020, Presidential Election results, had a “predetermined agenda” to rule against the petitioner.
The panel presided over by Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah reprimanded the former Deputy Attorney General asking him to use the same medium that he previously used to scandalize the court, to retract and apologize to the Supreme Court bench for such an unguarded statement.
“You have been summoned here by this court to show course why you should not be committed for contempt because on February 16, 2021, you made certain comments that were very scandalous to the court,” the Chief Justice said.
Ayine subsequently apologized, pleading not to sin again.
The former deputy Attorney General, is being accused again for undermining the reputation of the judiciary through a statement he made at a public forum.
He has been summoned before the GLC, the body that regulates the legal profession in Ghana, for allegedly scandalizing the judiciary with his recent comment during a discussion on Presidential Election Petitions and their impact on Africa’s Democracy at a public forum organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD).
It followed a petition to the Disciplinary Committee of the GLC by the Judicial Secretary to investigate Dr. Ayine for his comment. The petition was filed by the Chief Justice.
But, the NDC sees the invitation of Dr. Ayine, to appear before the GLC as another attempt by the Chief Justice to intimidate and suppress views that are at variance with his.
“Even if the Chief Justice disagrees with Dr. Ayine’s views or deems the same as erroneous, the statements made were decorous expressions of opinion about a judgment delivered by the Supreme Court and do not warrant professional discipline,” the NDC Chief Scribe said.
“If these actions by the Chief Justice are intended to browbeat the NDC and its members and prevent us from stating our views on the performance of the Judiciary, we hereby state categorically that they will not succeed! We will not be intimidated. We, as a party, will continue to defend the cause of freedom and of right in this country,” Mr. Nketia stressed.
“We did not strive to put in place the building blocks of a sustainable democracy only to allow judicial tyranny to rear its head. And, we will never be intimidated by partisan occupants of state institutions, no matter the cost,” he added.
He demanded the Chief Justice to withdraw the petition to the GLC to investigate Bolgatanga East MP.
The NDC General Secretary said the action taken against Dr. Ayine was unjustifiable and that it was a symptom of a larger problem, adding “it is no coincidence that virtually all the lawyers who have been reported to the Disciplinary Committee of the Council by the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, in recent times are aligned to the NDC.”
“What is the Chief Justice’s personal interest in the punishment of NDC affiliated lawyers that he is so keen to initiate unwarranted actions against them?” he quizzed and continued “such treatment would not be meted out to lawyers who are aligned to the NPP for reasons best known to the Chief Justice.”
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