NDC Renews ‘Fight’ With Judiciary

…As Supreme Court Throws Out Injunction Application Against Ministerial Nominees

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has renewed its charge against the judiciary, following what it calls a “palpable bias” by the Supreme Court in scheduling of cases that has political repercussion.

The party is displeased with the decision by the Chief Justice (CJ), Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkorno, to adjudicate a case brought by the Member of Parliament (MP) for the South Dayi constituency, ahead of an earlier one by broadcaster cum private legal practitioner, Richard Dela Sky.

Frivolous Injunction

But at the Supreme Court yesterday, the Chief Justice, who presided over case, threw out the interlocutory injunction brought by the South Dayi MP and legal practitioner.

Chief Justice Gertrude Torkorno, in reading the ruling, described the NDC MP’s suit, as frivolous and abuse of the court processes.

“In the circumstances, there is no reason to attempt to stay the hand of parliament regarding the vetting of the newly-nominated ministers. With regard to the post reassignments, the facts presented by plaintiff indicate that the president had not submitted their names for vetting. There is, therefore, no need to blame this court for any order and the Speaker regarding this”.

“The decisions of this court… is that the application is dismissed as frivolous and abuse of the court processes,” Chief Justice stated in her ruling.

She therefore, gave the green light for the legislature to vet and approve the recently nominated ministers and their deputies.

The five judges, who presided over the case were; Justice Kingsley Koomson, Justice Mariama Owusu, Chief Justice Gertrude Torkonoo (Presiding), Justice Amadu Tanko, and Justice Yaw Darko Asare.

NDC Statement

In a statement issued yesterday by the General Secretary, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, the party had expected the apex court to treat the two cases on ‘first come first served’ basis, instead of the Chief Justice using her discretion to ‘pick and choose’ which case to adjudicate first.

“The arbitrary exercise of administrative discretion by the Chief Justice, particularly in the scheduling of cases in the Supreme Court, goes to fortify the high perception of bias on the part of the judiciary. Such judicial manipulations go to confirm the growing public perception that the current Chief Justice, is a pliant accomplice and abettor of the misrule of the despotic Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government.”

“While the Constitution of Ghana vests discretionary powers in the Chief Justice in the discharge of her administrative duties over the judiciary, it is important that such discretionary powers are not exercised arbitrarily, capriciously and whimsically,” an excerpt of the statement further noted.

The NDC stated that, the conduct of the Supreme Court is perceived as a deliberate effort to assist President Akufo-Addo in avoiding signing the anti-gay bill, which has already been passed by Parliament.

“It’s quite apparent, that this is a ploy by the Chief Justice to fast-track the determination of the suit filed by Hon. Rockson Dafeamekpor, while the determination of the Richard Dela Sky’s suit is deliberately and unduly delayed, to enable the President to shelve the crucial Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill that has been passed by Parliament.”

“Many Ways To Kill A Cat”

The party’s outburst has brought to mind, a similar attack sometime in 2010, when the then national Chairman, late Dr Kwabena Adjei, launched a scathing attack on the judiciary for allegedly engaging in bias conducts warning, the governing party then will take steps to clean it.

The view held by the party, led to then national Chairman’s infamous comment that, “There are many ways to kill a cat”.

“People in the judiciary can make a very good case look very bad. If the judiciary is biased, if the judiciary has made its mind in one direction, not even Jesus Christ who was appointed as the Attorney General can change things. We will clean it if they don’t take steps to clean it.

We will clean it and let everybody everywhere blame us for interfering in the judiciary and we will take them on. At the right time, you will see how we clean it. There are many ways to kill a cat”, he stated.

These comments by the late NDC Chairman, infuriated many in the country at the time.

The Two Cases

In the two separate cases involving the MP and also journalist, the NDC, expressed disquiet against the apex court for opting to hear a case brought before it by the MP and lawyer, over an earlier case filed by journalist and private legal practitioner.

Mr Richard Sky’s writ, which was against the Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bil,l popularly known as anti-gay bill, was filed on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

But the lawmaker had earlier filed his case at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 27, against the newly nominated ministers and reshuffled ministers appointed by President Akufo-Addo.

Rockson-Nelson, allegedly as a result of the development, failed to attend court proceeding yesterday and directed his lawyer Nii Kpappo Addo, not to receive a notice of hearing from the court.

The bailiff who was in court swore that he had to leave the notice of hearing and the Attorney General’s opposition to the temporary court order, when the staff of the South Dayi MP’s lawyer, told him about the instruction.

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