The Chairman of the Legal and Constitutional Committee of the New Patriotic Party
(NPP), Frank Davies, says the deductions and conclusions being made by former President John Mahama about the Judiciary based on the CDD-Afrobarometer report is erroneous.
The former President John Dramani Mahama, speaking at the NDC’s Lawyers’ Conference on Sunday, August 28, had said the Judiciary has become an item of ridicule and mistrust, and thus it will take a new Chief Justice to repair the ‘broken image’ of the Judiciary.
According to him, the current leadership of the Judiciary lacks what it takes to redeem its sunken image, hence the need for a new Chief Justice.
His comments followed the 2021 CDD-Afrobarometer report which had placed judges and magistrates among the top five most corrupt public officials in the country.
This came on the back of another survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), which placed the Lands Commission officers, prosecutors, judges or magistrates and immigration officers as the top three categories of public officials who received the largest cash bribes paid in 2021.
However, same CDD-Afrobarometer report had stated that the Ghana Armed Forces, religious and traditional leaders, and the courts were the most trusted institutions in Ghana.
Reacting to the former President’s statements – which have since elicited a response from both President Akufo-Addo and Attorney General, Godfred Dame – Frank Davies states that while the CDD-Afrobarometer report indicated a perceived high rate of corruption amongst judges, it did not indicate a waning confidence in the Judiciary.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he said, “The deductions and the conclusions Mr. Mahama the former President made on the CDD report was exactly not the case.
“It was incidence of bribery and corruption but not that confidence in the judiciary was at an all-time low that was his language, not the CDD’s language. And how did he arrive at that conclusion? Just because we went to court and their case didn’t find favour with the judges?”
He noted that the aspersions the former President has in recent times been casting on the Judiciary, particularly the Chief Justice, are unbecoming of his position and undermine the authority of the Judiciary.
“I don’t think that it is fair for a former President who has also superintended over the Judiciary in this country to be making the comments he made. Is Mr. Mahama trying to suggest that at the time that he was President there were no unanimous decisions in the Supreme Court?
“So at the time that unanimous decisions were being handed in his time there was nothing wrong with the Judiciary? And this attempt to also say that the Chief Justice now cannot be seen to be the person to refine the Judiciary now what can Amaliba say to that? Or that one too didn’t come from the former President?
“He said Justice Kwesi Aning Yeboah our current Chief Justice is not the one competent enough to salvage the image of the Judiciary that is not an attack? Of course, Aning Yeboah is the front of the Judiciary, he’s the head of the Judiciary so if the former President is saying that he cannot clean up the image what is that supposed to mean? Is it not an attack on the Judiciary?” he said.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Godfred Dame, speaking at the Ghana Bar Association’s Annual Conference on Monday, said John Mahama has developed the habit of criticising the Judiciary unnecessarily.
He described Mr. Mahama’s attitude as deplorable and unbecoming of a former Head of State.
“I am compelled to comment on same in this address because they border on the security of the state and constitute a deliberate pattern of conduct aimed at undermining the independence of the Judiciary, an arm of government whose autonomy is crucial to its proper functioning.
“Such conduct is clearly deplorable, coming from one who has occupied the highest office of President and aspires again to that office. At this moment, it is important for all to note that I express this sentiment not because I stand in opposition to former President Mahama as a politician.
“My dismay is founded more on the fact that I am a lawyer and every lawyer ought to be concerned about these kinds of views expressed by a political leader in this country,” he said.
The former President has since replied to the Attorney General stating that he will not allow anyone to take his right to speak on issues of national importance from him.
According to him, as a former President, he is duty bound to comment on such matters to give them the needed attention.
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