President Nana Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has dismissed the petition filed by the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) seeking for the removal of the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah.
The petition has been described as unwarranted and unmeritorious and without any evidence but hearsay.
“It is observed that the petition is not anchored on any allegation made directly or emanating from the petitioner itself. The petitioner rely on allegation made by the a certain lawyer Afrifa in response to a complaint of misconduct made against him pending at the General Legal Council wherein the said lawyer also made allegations against Chief Justice base on what he alleges another person (his former client) told him. The petitioner therefore reproduces third hand or fourth hand hearsay as his basis seeking to trigger the serious process for the removal of a Chief Justice of the Republic from office.
“On the strength of foregoing, no prima facie is disclosed by instant petition for the removal of Chief Justice. The petition is devoid of any basis to warrant the setting up of a Committee under Article 146 (6) to order the very serious business of removing a Chief Justice from office. To entertain further third hand and fourth hand hearsay as the petition is replete with, will violate legally acceptable standard of fairness and weaken the efficacy of the top echelon of the Judiciary,” excerpts of the decision of the President sighted by DGN Online indicated.
Already, CHRAJ had declined to probe the matter because ASEPA had also petitioned the presidency which had began work on the request.
CHRAJ explained that it took such a discretionary action because it realized that ASEPA had also petitioned the presidency over the same issue.
It stated that “Since the matter is pending in the appropriate constitutional forum, the commission, in the exercise of its discretion under Section 13 of Act 456, hereby ceases to investigate the complaint any further as the invocation of the Article 456 proceedings has effectively taken the matter out of the forum of the commission.”
However, the Executive Director of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson disagreed with CHRAJ decision, describing CHRAJ’s posturing as unfortunate.
“If you read the case in point that CHRAJ cited as the basis for truncating this process, they claim that when a plaintiff sues the same defendant in two courts, the plaintiff is elected to stay one of the proceedings and so when CHRAJ during their preliminary investigation realized that another constitutional process has been activated, did they wrote to us the plaintiffs to stay one of the proceedings and proceed with the other.”
“So with their own explanation and their own case in point CHRAJ decided to unilaterally, violate the right of the plaintiffs by deciding for us which of the two processes to stay. We find this very unfortunate and disappointing,” he said.
Its however not clear if CHRAJ will revisit the petition since the presidency had made a determination based on the report received from the Council of State.
ASEPA petitioned the President in July 2021 to initiate an impeachment process against Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, following bribery allegations made against him by a Kumasi-based lawyer, Akwasi Afrifa.
The bribery allegations against the Chief Justice were contained in a response Mr. Akwasi Afrifa, a lawyer, gave in a petition filed against him by his client, Ogyeedom Kwesi Atta IV at the disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council.
Ogyeedom IV dragged Mr. Afrifa to the GLC, alleging that the lawyer collected $100,000 from him with a promise to help get a favourable judgement on his behalf.
Ogyeedom Atta IV asked the Council to order Mr. Afrifa to refund the $100,000, saying the lawyer failed to deliver on his promise.
In a response dated July 8, 2021, Mr. Afrifa denied the claims by Ogyeedom Kwesi Atta IV, alleging that he was asked to refund $300,000 in legal fees to enable his client to raise a $5 million bribe to be paid to the Chief Justice to get a favourable decision in the legal dispute.
Justice Anin-Yeboah has already denied the bribery allegations made against him and referred the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Police.
The President subsequently referred the petition to the Council of State.
The Council on Friday, August 20, 2021, presented its report to the President for further action.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on his part said he will study the report and announce his decision to the public, saying that “I will apprise you [Council of State] of my own findings on the matter. I am hoping that my consultation will establish that there is unanimity between you and me on this matter before we can go on.”
BY Vincent Kubi