Quest for chief Justice to be suspended over bribery premature— government
Secretary to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Nana Bediatuo Asante says a request that the Chief Justice (CJ) Kwasi Anin Yeboah should be suspended by the President is premature.
He explains the President is yet to constitute a committee to inquire into a petition seeking the removal of the CJ.
Pressure Group Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) is asking for the removal of the CJ insisting he is not fit to hold office.
The Chief Justice (CJ) has been in the news in recent weeks following allegations by private legal practitioner Akwasi Afrifa that he had asked for a 5 million dollar bribe to deliver a favourable judgment in a case involving his client.
The CJ has since denied the allegations and asked the Police CID to probe the matter. ASEPA contends the CJ is unfit to hold office and wants him removed.
Under Article 146(6) of Ghana’s constitution, the President upon receipt of such a petition, must act in consultation with the Council of State to appoint a committee consisting two Justices of the Supreme Court and three other persons who are not members of the Council of State, nor Members of Parliament, nor lawyers to inquire into the petition and make a recommendation.
The Supreme Court case of Frank Agyei Twum v Attorney General and Bright Akwetey introduced the additional requirement of a prima facie determination during this consultation.
The court speaking through Justice Date-Bah noted as follows
“..the consultation by the President with the Council of State in respect of the appointment of a Committee to inquire into a petition for the removal of the Chief Justice shall first determine whether the said petition discloses a prima facie case before the Committee is appointed.”
The Secretary to the President wrote to ASEPA indicating that the President has commenced the appropriate processes.
Dissatisfied with this, ASEPA wrote back to the Presidency demanding specifics of what stage the process is at.
The group also demanded the suspension of the Chief Justice. Nana Bediatuo Asante has yet again responded to ASEPA.
He explained that it is only when the prima facie determination is made that a committee will be set up to probe the petition.
He, therefore, stated that the calls for suspension is premature.
He further raised concerns over what he says is circulation of correspondence from the Presidency on this matter by the Executive Secretary to the President.
This he said is contrary to the rules governing such proceedings which are to be in camera.