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General News of Saturday, 12 January 2013

Source: myjoyonline.com

NPP’s U-turn raises more questions – Kofi Abotsi

The decision by the legal team of the NPP 2012 presidential candidate and two others to rescind their decision to oppose the inclusion of a Supreme Court judge on the panel sitting on its election petition has raised serious perceptual issues.

According to a law lecturer at GIMPA Ernest Kofi Abotsi, the sudden about turn by the NPP has raised serious implications about the case.

The NPP legal team had objected to the inclusion of an unnamed member of the Supreme Court panel, and has yet to also disclose the reasoning behind their objection.

Although the NPP never disclosed the name of the judge, the NDC claims their opponents are opposed to Justice William Atuguba’s inclusion on the panel.

However, on Friday, in a letter addressed to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, the NPP legal team said, “We have upon consideration decided not to pursue the matter in order to facilitate an expeditious determination of the petition.”

Meanwhile, Speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile Saturday, Mr Kofi Abotsi observed that the practice of raising objection to a panel member is a regular exercise in the law courts. He was however of the view that the party could have exercised some sober reflection on the matter, before raising an objection.

“What might have changed?” he questioned: “Because you have created a scenario that has been discussed and suddenly there has been a withdrawal, assuming the relationship involved that is being discussed, the relationship hasn’t changed; assuming that there are some serious evidences that have been gotten in respect of that judge, which fundamentally prejudices him as a judge sitting in respect of this matter, has that fundamental scenario changed?

“I think if the status quo remains then it means that there are even more questions why in the light of status quo you would want to proceed while you feel very uncomfortable with that Judge, and what the effect might be if that judge rise to judgement you find fundamentally problematic in the light of facts that have not been disposed? So clearly there are serious perceptual issues that might have been created, and I think that is what may affect the issue of withdrawal.”

But a member of the NPP legal team, Madam Gloria Akuffo explained that if the team had gone ahead with their objection, the court process “may take a longer time than anticipated”, pointing out that the NPP are “anxious to have the joinder heard” and for the matter to be decided expeditiously.

She also maintained that concerns expressed by the NPP with respective to a particular judge “have not changed”.

Mrs Akuffo further explained that the legal team refrained from disclosing the reasons behind their objection in public to avoid maligning the court and also embarrassing anybody.

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