The President of the Ghana Bar Association Nene Abayaateye Amegatcher has bemoaned section fourteen (14) of the Presidential transition Act, 2012 (Act 845) which provides for the automatic removal of all top echelon of civil and public service including public sector boards and heads of security agencies.
According to him the situation is regrettable since it “promotes division and partisanship rather than unity.” More so “The current situation is wrong and unhealthy for national development.”
Nene Amegatcher made the observation in Ho when he addressed the annual general conference of the Association. The five day conference is under the theme; “The role of the legal Profession in Developing a Public Private Partnership Regulatory Framework for National Development.”
He recommended that winner-takes-all syndrome which many agree is retrogressing the country’s forward march needs urgent attention to salvage the situation. He noted that in remedying the situation the country needs to have a national policy to bind governments irrespective of who is in power to continue working with the existing officers.
Secondly, “It is time for parliament to put a stop to passing laws vesting unfettered discretion in one person (President) to interfere with smooth operation of public instructions for any reason appearing to him sufficient.”
In furtherance to this, “boards should be allowed to function for specified term and members only removed upon clear and stated grounds specified by law. This will make members independently minded and not pander to the whims and caprices of the powers that be, for fear of being removed.”
Nene Amegatcher also expressed dissatisfaction of the attitude of board members whom the current dispensation has turned them into tin gods who usurp the executive powers of the Managing Director or Chief Executive by signing administrative letters, awarding contracts, making appointments and in recent times demanding a fully furnished office and residential accommodation. These are a further drain on the taxpayers and the earlier we nip this in the bud, the better for corporate governance and development of this country, he stressed.
(L-R)Attorney-General, Russian Ambassador & Russian CJ
The GBA President also called for electoral reforms since the election petition helped to reveal certain unhealthy underlying challenges to the country’s development at the same time masking others.
He said “After two decades of democratic dispensation, weaknesses have emerged that require urgent attention. We must continue to work at our electoral process to avoid over-reliance on pink sheets and improve the quality of polling agents as well as means of transmission of results.
We must do so by eventually going fully electronic so that we do not only use electronic system for voter identification and verification but go the full hog where votes cast will automatically be registered and calculated even on a public screen.”
Unethical Legal attitudes, attack on judges
Nene Amegatcher described as unethical the granting of daily interviews by the counsels of the parties of the election petition which he said was contrary to the provisions of Rule 8 of the Code of Ethics of the GBA. An attempt to talk to lawyers fell on deaf ears as they claimed that “the stakes were high and that the GBA was living in obsolete time.”
Secondly, are the scurrilous attacks on the bench in the court of public opinion when the basis for their claims could have been aired in open court or the courteous procedures provided for filing a petition against erring judges. This has also made media personnel and members of the public have also taken a cue from these errant lawyers made unsubstantiated allegations against the Supreme Court Judges and high profile personalities, like the Asantehene.
He emphasized that “the GBA is saddened by the turn of events, especially attacks coming from very senior lawyers who ought to know better and set the right examples for the younger generation to follow.”
GBA to investigation post- petition judgment comments
Nene Amegatcher therefore disclosed “some of these statements are so serious that if allowed to rest without proper investigations……the floodgates will be opened for lawyers and litigants who have either won or lost a case in court to lash at Judges in the Court of public opinion.”
As a result the General Council of the Bar has directed the Executive Committee to pursue the allegations with the Judicial Council and the General Legal Council.
It will be recalled that after the Supreme Court Judgment on the Election Petition, the lead counsel of the third respondent, Tsatsu Tsikata claimed that one of the nine Justices who heard the petition was politically biased, while Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko a member of the legal counsel for the petitioners described the judgment as farcical and corrupt.
The Conference was opened by the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, with her Russian Counterpart, Vyacheslav M. Lebedev. Other dignitaries present included Attorney General, Marrieta Brew Appiah-Oppong, and the Volta Regional Minister, Nii Laryeah Affotey Agbo among others.
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