Premature EC suit against petitioners' lawyer will be struck out- Kwame Akuffo

Premature EC suit against petitioners' lawyer will be struck out- Kwame Akuffo
Source: Ghana||Nathan Gadugah
Date: 25-07-2017 Time: 06:07:15:pm

A private legal practitioner has described as premature a suit filed by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission against lawyer for the petitioners seeking her impeachment.

Kwame Akuffo believes the High Court, where the case has been filed, will have no jurisdiction to hear a case which ultimately will be determined by the Chief Justice.

He is convinced the case will be “struck out” at the High Court because it is unfathomable for the “High Court to be asked to decide, determine and make declaration on the same claims before the Chief Justice.”

The EC Chairperson Charlotte Osei is facing impeachment proceedings following the submission of a 27-point petition laden with allegations of misconduct.

The petition came without the faces of petitioners but with the signed confirmation of a lawyer Maxwell Opoku Agyemang who has now been sued for defamation.

The petition has been submitted to the president and will be forwarded to the Chief Justice who will determine whether there is a prima facie case agaisnt the EC following which a full scale investigation will be conducted.

But Lawyer for the EC Chair is unhappy with the content of the "false and malicious" petition and the publication of it in the media. He has sued the petitioners' lawyer.  

A statement of claim filed at the High Court in Accra, Monday, cited the lawyer of the petitioners for deliberately publishing the content of the petition to malign the EC Chair.

The EC chair is therefore seeking damages against Maxwell Opoku Agyemang and also asking the court to restrain him, his agents from publishing any malicious details about her in the future.

She is also asking for a retraction of the contents of the petition and an unqualified apology from lawyer Maxwell Opoku Agyemang.

When the threat to go to court was issued last week, Mr Opoku Agyemang called the bluff of Lawyer Thaddeus Sory who is leading the legal team of Mrs Charlotte Osei.

He is however yet to comment, now that the suit has been filed in court.

That notwithstanding, another lawyer, Kwame Akuffo believes the defamatory suit against the petitioners may lack jurisdiction.

He also does not understand why lawyer for the EC Chair, will be asking the court to make a determination on some of the matters he believed bothered on ethics of the lawyer.

He would rather those issues about ethics were sent to the General Legal Council for determination.

He was quick to add, however, that merely because the content of the petition have been leaked does not in any way invalidate the petition itself.

In a reaction, another lawyer has disagreed with the claims by Kwame Akuffo, subtly describing it as archaic.

Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo said the analysis of his colleague lawyer “is devoid of current positions of the law.”

Citing recent cases between ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Justices Dery, Logoh and Ayisi Addo, the lawyer said it is perfectly within the rights of persons against whom impeachment and or disciplinary issues have been raised to also sue for defamation if they believe their reputations have been impugned.

The three justices sued Anas for defamation merely because the content of the petition seeking their removal from office for corruption were leaked to the public.

Kpakpo Addo said the constitution gives such persons the right to go to court to clear their names, adding the Chair of the Commission is on the right track.