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General News of Saturday, 16 December 2017


It’s no crime to be called honourable – MP replies CJ

National Democratic Congress [NDC] Member of Parliament for Juaboso Constituency in the Western Region, Kwabena Mintah AkandoH, is unhappy with the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo’s handling of a case he filed against the Gender Minister, Otiko Djaba.

Mr. Mintah Akandoh and the NDC Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Ernest Norgbey, went to court in February 2017, challenging the legality of Madam Otiko Djaba’s appointment as Minister for Gender, Women and Children’s Affairs, due to her failure to undertake the mandatory National Service.

They prayed the court to declare the appointment and swearing-in of Madam Djaba as Minister null and void, due to what they described as the breaching of certain aspects of the constitution pertaining to the National Service Act.
However, a seven member panel of justices presided over by the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, dismissed the case on Tuesday.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Akandoh recalled that the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo was displeased after she noticed the title ‘honourable’ preceded the names of the MPs in the writ.

The MP said the CJ had subsequently indicated that the use of ‘honourable’ in the court is “dishonourable.”

Mr. Akandoh thus believes this might have influenced the panel’s decision to dismiss the case.

He nonetheless disagreed with Madam Akuffo’s comments, saying their suit was not aimed at seeking interpretation of titles.

“When we got to court, the Chief Justice indicated that she was not happy about the title honourable and she used words like ‘so called honourable’ and ‘dishonourable’. She was emotionally charged. I thought that she could do that without emotions. I do not see my crime. In any case, I did not issue that writ, it is my lawyer, who is an officer of the court, and even the clerk of the Supreme Court did same.”

“Excuse me to say that, we did not go to court for the interpretation of titles. Not honourable, not her ladyship, not my lord, neither did we go to court for the interpretation of the title her Excellency. But you see, I am not saying the Chief Justice cannot express her opinion on other issues in this country, but I feel that the way and manner in which she handled us in court was not right..”

He said the Chief Justice even contradicted herself in court when she reprimanded them for preceding their names with the title “honourable” but queried them for not adding that same title to Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba’s name in their writ.

“In one breath, the Chief Justice says it not right for our names to be prefixed with the title honourable, and so she had issues with it. In another breath, the Chief Justice enquired why we did not prefix Otiko Djaba’s name with honourable..My problem is whether it is about the title ‘honourable’ or because someone was not addressed as such.”

Mr. Akandoh said he intends to put in writing what he describes as a “protest letter” to the Chief Justice, expressing his displeasure with developments in the court.

I’ll go back to court

He also indicated that he will go back to the court for the interpretation on the National Service Act, despite the court’s judgement.