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General News of Monday, 14 January 2013

Source: The Herald Newspaper

Akufo-Addo’s legal weakness exposed again

He has never gotten it right when its matters most. The school of thought that forced ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor to clear Nana Akufo-Addo from the Justice Ministry and Attorney-General Department has gained yet another credit, as he made the quickest u-turn which would be recorded and quoted from Ghana’s Law Report in years to come.

Barely 24-hours after publicly scandalizing and questioning Justice William Atuguba’s integrity, Lawyers for Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, have backtracked with another notice on the Supreme Court to have Justice Atuguba stay as the president of the panel of Justice hearing the motion filed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to be joined in the petition challenging the 2012 Presidential election.

Philip Addison and his team of lawyers were asked to present a formal petition objecting to Justice Atuguba sitting on the case after their request for an in-camera hearing was turned down, but instead they wrote to the Supreme Court rescinding their decision.

But in a letter dated January 11, 20133 and addressed to The Registrar of the Supreme Court, Nana Addo’s lawyers who incidentally operate from his law firm stated “we have upon consideration decided not to pursue the matter in order to facilitate an expeditious determination of the petition. This is in addition to ensure an early hearing of the applications for joinder”.

The letter, captured on the paper’s front page, was copied to the legal representatives of Mr John Mahama and the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr Samuel Cudjoe of Law Trust Company, Tony Lithur of the LithurBrew and Co. and Lynes Quashie –Idun & Co respectively, asked The Registrar of the Supreme.

Insiders have told this paper that the main reason for the NPP to rescind its decision to object to Justice Atuguba’s membership of the panel is that it feared Justice Jones Dotse and Justice Paul Baffoe Bonnie hence they could both be removed on the grounds of possible bias.

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

She also maintained that concerns expressed by the NPP respective to a particular judge “have not changed” adding that the legal team refrained from disclosing the reasons behind their objection in public avoid maligning the court and also embarrassing anybody.

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