Troubled lawyer Chris Ackumey has damned the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) as a group uncaring of the welfare of its members, except providing them ‘useless benefits’ only when they die.

“Presently the only thing that a member, a paying member benefits is when he dies for them to come and organize a mote cause, and that is a useless benefit… Why don’t you offer protection, a welfare package for your members who pay you dues every year? And instead of assisting them you are turning your guns on them and you are asking them to be prosecuted, without providing them no solace, no comfort, no protection in times of danger but rather become an appendage of certain institutions..” institutions he said that only try to ride on the rights and interests of lawyers.

Chris Ackumey’s comments follow a recommendation by the GBA for his prosecution for complicity in corruption after he told of how he offered a colleague lawyer money he needed to bribe a judge trying the case of a client.

Ackumey is one of five lawyers declared unwelcome to Ghanaian courts by the Judges and Magistrates Association for claiming that corruption in the judiciary was an established canker and no longer a perception. The blacklisted lawyers were to provide evidence of their claims or endure the banishment for as long as the judges thought fit.

The other lawyers who were those originally declared ‘persona no grata’ are Raymond Atuguba, David Annan, Abraham Amaliba and Larry Bimi. Ackumey was drafted into the ‘unwanted list’ when he sought to provide evidence that there was indeed corruption in the system.

The GBA has in a statement asked the four lawyers to apologise if they have no evidence to back their claims of corruption. But Abraham Amaliba on Friday told Asempa FM that he and his colleagues would be quitting the Ghana Bar Association for neglecting them in times of their need and that they would be forming a new association of lawyers.

Chris Ackumey however says he will not quit the GBA which he said needs to be sanitized.

“I want to say that I will still remain a member of the GBA for a lot of reasons. I don’t have any intention today or tomorrow to leave the GBA because of this turmoil, present turmoil, it will be over.” He was not aware that his banished colleagues planned to leave the GBA, pointing out however that the national constitution grants them freedom of association if they so wish to leave.

But he believes the GBA has been too partisan and biased towards a section of its own members whom he said the association has refused support in critical times and against who it has been quick to raise its voice in condemnation, while at the same time defending others and threatening strikes even when courts of competent jurisdiction have found them guilty of an offence.

“In the time past, look at what they did to Tsatsu Tsikata, when Tsatsu Tsikata as a paying member had a problem they didn’t come to his support. Look at what they did to Kojo Hodari too, and look at what they did to that lawyer …who was arrested at the Adabraka police station and locked up when he went to defend a client.

“The only time that the Ghana Bar Association has defended or has come to the defence of a lawyer was in the case of one Mensah Bonsu who was a known NPP (New Patriotic Party) activist and who later on became the ambassador, Ghana’s ambassador to Togo under the NPP regime. Even in that case, you know, he was tried for contempt, by a court of competent jurisdiction and even though there is a right of appeal the Ghana Bar Association never advised him to go on appeal. They decided to stampede the court which is an indirect contemptuous act, calling on the bar members to boycott court for one good month. Look at that one and compare to the case of Tsatsu Tsikata, Hodari Okae, the four lawyers and myself- who needs better protection when we have not even been tried by a court of competent jurisdiction… so you can draw the line, you can make your conclusion. Maybe because we don’t belong to that family which should be protected that is why we were not protected and Mensah Bonsu was protected.”

Chris Ackumey, while stopping short of declaring the GBA an appendage of the opposition NPP, also alleged that “there are members of the General Bar Council who are constituency chairmen of the NPP.

He said he has no qualms about what party anyone joined since the constitution guarantees that freedom, what is worrying however is that the association has been too selective in when or who to support.

“If it is the fact that they want to ensure that there is the rule of law, or nobody offends the law in this country, were they not in this country when Atta Akyea openly confirmed that he had discussions with the Chief Justice to derail the democratic process and that is an act of intended treason, did they not hear of this? Why didn’t they recommend that the same thing should be done to them? That is why I describe them as people having selective amnesia. They decide to forget when they should forget and remember only things that they have to remember.”

Story by Isaac Yeboah/


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