General News of Monday, 14 January 2013

Source: The Catalyst

NPP Beats Retreat

After attempt to intimidate Supreme Court fails

After a spirited attempt to intimidate the Supreme Court has failed, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has beaten retreat in seeking to get Justice Atuguba off the panel sitting on the case of its 2012 electoral dispute. The Akufo-Addo-led opposition party says it is no longer going to ask that the learned judge recuse himself from the 9-member panel of justices sitting on the case. This follows public outcry and abhorrence for the excessive political maneuverings by the opposition party in a bid to make the country ungovernable and unsafe by creating legitimacy problems for President Mahama after losing the election.
Below are the full details of the letter written to the court by lawyers of the NPP, ‘Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co indicating the party’s decision to rescind its decision:

11th January 2013

The Registrar
Supreme Court

Dear Sir,
RE: WRIT NO. J1/6/2013

We act as solicitors for the petitioners.
At its sitting on 10th January, 2013 to consider an application of joinder brought by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the above intituled suit, an objection to the composition of the court was taken by council for the Petitioners.
The court has directed that the objection be made by formal application.
We have upon consideration decided not to pursue the matter to facilitate an expeditious determination of the petition. This will in addition ensure an early hearing of the application for joinder.
We would therefore be obliged if the application for joinder could be fixed for an early hearing.
Yours faithfully,
Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co.
Lawyers for Petitioners
cc. Samuel Cudjoe, Law Trust Company, Trust Towers, Asylum Down, Accra.
Tony Lithur, Lithur Brew & Co., Kanda, Accra.
Lynes, Quashie-Indun, & Co. Adabraka, Accra.
This decision by the NPP has raised further critical questions about the party’s real motive regarding its decision not to concede defeat in the election and subsequent filing of a petition at the Supreme Court contesting President Mahama’s legitimacy as president of the Republic of Ghana.
Even though the party refused to state publicly the name of the particular judge it did not want to be on the panel duly constituted by the Chief Justice, it has become public knowledge that the judge in question is Justice Atuguba, who is the lead judge on the case.
According to the information, which the NPP has not denied, the opposition party had asked at an in-camera hearing for the reconstituting of the panel because it found it inappropriate the inclusion, on the panel, of Justice Atuguba, who is a cousin of Dr Raymond Atuguba who has days earlier been appointed Executive Secretary to the President. Lawyers of the petitioners therefore demanded that Justice Atuguba either recuse himself or be replaced by another judge, since they suspected he would not be fair in his judgment because of his family ties with Dr Raymond Atuguba.
The move by the NPP, which drew widespread criticisms from the general public, was seen as a strategy by the party to intimidate not only Justice Atuguba but the entire panel of judges sitting on the case, forcing them to beat retreat in the wake of fierce public anger.
The party’s latter decision not to pursue the matter any further has even worsened its case in the eyes of the public, as it is emerging that the party feels it has accomplished its aim by putting pressure on the judges, particularly Justice Atuguba who is its main target.
Information gathered by The Catalyst from sources in the NPP, who believe the party loss the 2012 elections and are totally opposed to the conduct of the current leadership but cannot open up for fear of organized attacks and intimidation by the ‘all die be die’ hoodlums, indicate that the Nana Akufo-Addo leadership has more unpleasant surprises up its sleeves that would not bode well for the country in the coming days.