The Executive Director of Danquah Institute, a pro-opposition think tank, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has revealed that Supreme Court judge, Justice William Atuguba, once contested for parliamentary seat on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party.
The Supreme Court judge who presided the nine panel that heard the monumental election petition filed by three leading members of the NPP including the 2012 presidential candidate, has been perceived to have a soft spot for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
Even before the election petition was heard, the NPP executive, though did not name him, it was speculated they had wanted Justice Atuguba out of the panel for fear of bias. Later, it took the Militant Patriots of the NPP to voice out the name and called on Justice Atuguba to recuse himself from the panel.
Nii Kwartei Titus Glover, NPP Member of Parliament for Tema East professed that the ruling delivered by Justice Atuguba was clouded by partisanship and his family ties to his cousin who is also Executive Secretary to President John Mahama.
But Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko on Joy FM’s Newsfile Saturday indicated that judgment of a judge is not necessarily influenced by his political ideology or which administration appointed him.
To buttress his point, he remarked: “I have heard, reliably, that then Mr William Atuguba filed as a parliamentary candidate of the NPP in 1992. William Atuguba who is now Justice William Atuguba was an NPP parliamentary candidate, I believe for Bolgatanga.”
However he sought to give credence to the perception that Justice Atuguba is inclined to the ruling NDC with his brief roadmap of him to the Supreme Court.
Gabby said Justice Atuguba was “handpicked” albeit “on merit” to the supreme court in 1996, under President Rawlings without being first appointed to the High Court.
“I don’t think he was ever a judge at the High Court. He was a private lawyer and then he became a prosecutor, state attorney and then from there straight to the Supreme Court.”
Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper also offered that based on a list of justices and magistrates dated May 2009, Justice William A. Atuguba was enrolled as lawyer on 3rd October 1974, but date of his first appointment to the bench was on 30th November 1995.
Revealingly, Mr Baako stated that the same date – 30th November 1995 – was quoted as the day Justice Atuguba was appointed to the Supreme Court as a judge.