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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

‘Citizen Vigilante’ Martin Amidu and Three Others Honoured

(L-R) Sam Okudzeto, Adjei Ampofo & Ahumah Ocansey

Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Martin Alamisi Amidu have been honoured with three other lawyers by the Ghana Bar Association for their meritorious contributions towards the development of Ghana and bringing excellence in the legal profession.
Mr. Amidu, whose name was mentioned alongside Sam Okudzeto, Ahumah Ocansey, and Nana Adjei Ampofo, received a standing ovation amidst cheers and applause although he was absent at the time.
The honour was than at the ongoing conference of the GBA in Ho by the President of the Association, Nene Amegatcher who emphasized that the four were being acknowledged for their ‘selfless devotion to the development of human and public interest test case litigation in the country”.
A citation in honour of Mr. Amidu whose actions earned him the name citizen vigilante, read; “a former Attorney General of Ghana defied the perception that the Attorney General, once appointed always do the bidding of government of the day. In putting mother Ghana first, he fought against certain corrupt practices going on in the country and in the process lost his job. He did not end it there, but constitution himself into a citizen vigilante and single handedly file two suits in the Supreme Court to recover monies illegally taken from the republic.”
Additionally, “Date-Bah JSC presiding over the Waterville case opined that the plaintiff is to be commended for his public spiritedness which has fueled his meticulous and industrious presentation of this case.”
Mr. Sam Okudzeto in April 2009 also sued government for wrongful dissolution of the Board of the Bank of Ghana. Late President Mills in 2009 dissolved the boards of all state Institutions, agencies and other Parastatals. Mr. Okudzeto Who was then a board member filed the writ at the Fast Track, seeking a declaration by the court that the action of the President was illegal, null and void. The court in January 2013 upheld his claims and described unlawful the dissolution of the Board of the Bank of Ghana, since the bank is independent from the President and the Ministry of Finance.

In the case of Ahumah Ocansey, he filed suit in 2009, praying the Supreme Court to declare as null and void sections of PNDC Law 284 which barred remand and convicted prisoners from voting. The Court, presided over by the Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, in a unanimous decision on March 23, 2010 upheld the applications and directed the Electoral Commission to come out with a framework to facilitate the inclusion of prisoners in the voters register.  This led to the first time registration of prisoners and their subsequent voting in the 2012 election.
Nana Adjei Ampofo, who is now the Board Chairman of the Lands Commission instituted two actions in court, first for a declaration that the continuous use and employing of Ghanaians to carry human excreta in pans on their heads is an affront to the dignity of such persons and should be abolished. In his second action, he asked the court to declare as unconstitutional, the criminal sanctions prescribed for refusal to heed to the call of a Chief.
The Supreme Court in both cases upheld his submissions and gave an ultimatum to Metropolitan authorities to replace such pan latrines and abolish the use in all homes and further struck down the legislation in the Chieftaincy Act as unconstitutional.
Nene Amegatcher described their actions as worthy of emulation by the all, especially the younger generation in ensuring that Ghana moves forward in the right direction. Colleagues also eulogized the four in separate interviews.

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