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General News of Friday, 18 July 2014

Source: myjoyonline.com

AG, NDC lawyers ready for SC battle over Constitutional review

In a warm up to what will be fierce legal battle at the Highest Court of the land, a US-based lawyer challenging the legality of the Constitution Review Commission has fired a gun-scatter-attack at the late President John Mills, and members of the Constitution Review Commission, accusing them of flagrantly violating the law.

Prof Stephen Kwaku Asare insists the late President had no power under the Constitution of Ghana to set up a Commission to review the constitution.

Quoting Chapter 25 of the 1992 Constitution, the lawyer said it is only Parliament that is vested with the power to review the constitution.

"They can't be running the country as though we are kids," he stated; adding when you want to review the constitution"what you have to do is to go to Parliament and let Parliament pass a Constitution Review Act or Constitution Reform Act and that Act will tell us how the constitution will be reformed. Who will be on the Commission and the terms of reference of the Commission."

"You don't let the president go and hide somewhere and choose people he wants then they claim they've gone round and give us some recommendations that nobody knows how they came up with. "

"They give to the president and he goes to hide in the Flagstaff House and he chooses a few [of the recommendation] and he gives it to the Constitution Implementation Committee who then begin implementation."

He said with the experience of 1960, where President Kwame Nkrumah single-handedly changed the constitution and turned the country into a one-party state, the framers of the 1992 Constitution decided that the president must not play any role at all in the review of the Constitution.

At best, the president will only assent the bill into law when the Parliamentarians have finished with their work.

The Professor Albert Kodzo Fiadjor-led Commission began work in 2009 and completed last year with comprehensive recommendations. A white paper was issued by President John Mahama to accept a large part of the recommendation.

Despite the possibility of wasting resources, time and effort that went into the review, Prof. Asare said none of this would have happened if the president and the commission members followed simple instructions in the constitution.

He stated further that he made several attempts to stop the commission from proceeding with the review but all to no avail.

They will now answer to the Supreme Court, he averred. He has filed a suit against the Attorney General, the President and Commission.

The Attorney General's Department says they will meet him at the Supreme Court

But a member of the NDC legal team, Abraham Amaliba, says chapter 25 of the constitution did not say it is only Parliament that can constitute a commission to review the constitution.

He said the arguments of the lawyer will not fly in court.

The Supreme Court will soon empanel judges to hear the case.

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