General News of Saturday, 12 January 2013

Source: Joy Online

NPP legal team must apologise to Atuguba et al – Nana Ato Dadzie

The NPP ought to render unqualified apology to judges at the Supreme Court, especially Justice William Atuguba, for embarking on an action that sought to injure the integrity of the panel to hear the NPP’s petition against the 2012 election results, Nana Ato Dadzie has demanded.

The NPP had on Thursday objected to a member of the panel to hear the NDC joinder only to make a u-turn a day after in a letter addressed to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, stating the team’s decision not to pursue the matter in order to facilitate an expeditious determination of the petition.

But speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile Nana Ato Dadzie, a counsel member of the NDC that is seeking to join the petition, contended: “You accused a panel of likelihood of bias and you don’t name the person, you put all nine judges in a problematic position…into disrepute”

He posited: “If you’ve changed your mind, the proper thing to do is to go before the nine judges and said Lord we are on our kneels, we apologize… That is the more honorable thing to do.”

He asserted that an apology is required after the General Secretary of the NPP, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, had threatened to expose the judge they objected to, which the NDC have speculated to be Mr Willian Atuguba, with ‘more challenging things’. According to him, the “horrendous” statements made by Mr Owusu Afriyie, moment after the objection was raised in court, should as well be condemned.

“All the nine judges, particularly Justice Atuguba and the people of this country are entitled to an unqualified apology from the legal team that went to make some allegations of impropriety against the judges to frustrate and delay this trial,” he insisted.

Nana Ato Dadzie also faulted both procedures used by the NPP to raise the objection and rescinding it.

“You will have to ask the registrar, by way of a letter, to have the court sit and then you bring a formal application withdrawing your objection... what happens to the written order? There must be record that the written order itself has been revoked”

He wondered if the NPP legal team thought through before raising the objection and advised them to “hasty slowly”.

“We think that the whole application, the entire petition was brought in haste. On the face of it you can see gross errors, just ordinarily arithmetical errors, avoidable errors.”

Meanwhile, Professor Mike Ocquaye, former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, on the same programme, asked the leadership of the NDC, especially lawyers, to stop feeding the public with false information about the trial.

He said some people have deliberately decided to misconstrue the request by the NPP that the objection should be held in-camera with the whole trial.

“When such statements are made, abandoned, ran away, now they want to cause delay… then you are creating by propaganda [with] falsehood, that pollute the atmosphere. I must say this with all seriousness, especially when it comes from lawyers. I think we as professionals, we must take away the propaganda, and do the thing professionally and advocate the professional position in public.”