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General News of Saturday, 7 September 2013

Source: Joy Online

Atuguba was an NPP parliamentary candidate in 1992 - Gabby reveals

Executive Director of Danquah Institute, a pro-opposition think tank, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has revealed that Supreme Court judge, Justice William Atuguba, once contested for parliamentary seat on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The Supreme Court judge who presided the nine panel that heard the monumental election petition filed by three leading members of the NPP, including the 2012 presidential candidate, has been perceived to have a soft spot for the NDC government.

Even before the election petition was heard, the NPP executive, though did not name him, it was speculated they had wanted Justice Atuguba out of the panel for fear of likelihood bias. Later, it took the Militant Patriots of the NPP to voice out the name and called on Justice Atuguba to recuse himself from the panel.

Nii Kwartei Titus Glover, NPP Member of Parliament for Tema East professed that the ruling delivered by Justice Atuguba was clouded by partisanship and his family ties to his cousin who is also Executive Secretary to President John Mahama.

But Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko on Joy FM's Newsfile Saturday indicated that judgment of a judge is not necessarily influenced by his political ideology or which administration appointed him.

To buttress his point, he remarked: "I have heard, reliably, that then Mr William Atuguba filed as a parliamentary candidate of the NPP in 1992. William Atuguba who is now Justice William Atuguba was an NPP parliamentary candidate, I believe for Bolgatanga."

However, he sought to give credence to the perception that Justice Atuguba is inclined to the ruling NDC with his brief roadmap of him to the Supreme Court.

Gabby said Justice Atuguba was "handpicked" albeit "on merit" to the Supreme Court in 1996, under President Rawlings without being first appointed to the High Court.

"I don't think he was ever a judge at the High Court. He was a private lawyer and then he became a prosecutor, state attorney and then from there straight to the Supreme Court," he alleged.

Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper also offered that based on a list of justices and magistrates dated May 2009, Justice William A. Atuguba was enrolled as a magistrate on 3rd October 1974, date of first appointment to the bench was also on 30th November 1995.

Revealingly, "date of present appointment as at May 2009 [at the] Supreme Court as it is today, and it was the same date [30th November 1995]".