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Opinions of Friday, 13 July 2007

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

How Decisive Is The Constitutional Inheritance Law?

As Lawyers Are Flouting It?

Wonders will never cease. The delusive application and interpretation of even constitutional laws in Ghana by our law courts in attempts to deny the poor their inalienable rights, will equally never cease to amaze intelligent-probing minds.

The only one thing in which I give ex-President J.J Rawlings a plus, considering his atrocious infringements on human rights as observed under his reign of terror; is the enshrinement of the act of inheritance in the nation's constitution. This act, implied to ease, smoothen out the distribution of ones estate upon their expiry in the absence of any documented last wishes of the deceased, is once more being toyed with in our Ghanaian courts, spearheaded by dishonest, gluttonous lawyers who know no shame. What a despicable behaviour indeed!

Out of greediness, one's own lawyer can become their covert enemy, colluding and conniving with the rival party be they the complainant or the defendant, as long as the lawyer can satisfy his or her voracious appetite for wealth in what then becomes a conflict of interest. This is exactly what all the indicators point at in the case of one Mrs. X, whose case is pending at one of the Accra High courts.

The partitioning of her late husband, Mr. X's estate as obligated by the related constitutional requirement is being unduly withheld for the usual corruptness of no less a person than her own lawyer, concluding from his actions. The delaying tactics compounded by the displayed nonchalance and lack of respect for the client by the lawyer in question, have resulted in dubious characters spiriting away part of the man's estate to the frustration of the widow and her children of six, way ahead of the sharing of the estate. Justice delayed, is justice denied, the lawyer hereby being alluded should bear in mind!

Since the demise of the man on 8th March 2006, the widow and her children are yet to know what their fate is in the sharing of the estate, battling the relatives of Mr. X who have teamed up with one fraudster Akua Adwobeng, a supposed Mistress, to deny the widow's family their fair share or a share of the estate. One may ask, "How long does it take the constitutional inheritance law to be decisively implemented at the submission of documents to the court attesting to ones death?" Has it once more become also with the inheritance law, the usual story where in Ghana there is no justice for the poor but the rich? If not, why then this absurd length of delay in authorising the sharing of the man's estate?

A note of caution to Ms. Adowbeng who can eventually be charged with perverting the course of justice should she pursue relentlessly in her drive to arrogate to herself what she is not due for by resorting to illegal ways as is rampant behaviour of some people in Ghana .

"The evil that men do lives after them". Those brothers of Mr X, whom he helped to acquire knowledge and intelligence by paying for their education, sponsoring them to Canada and Belgium to pursue better lives, should please cease to err following their sisters' evil instructions. The evil in which you are directly entrenched today to make the widow's life miserable will bounce back to you, the law of nemesis. Whatever educational assistance your late brother offered you was not meant for harming his own wife and children one day but to better your lives. Is it how you are applying the intelligence acquired today? No! You are doing exactly opposite to expectation.

Anyway, anyone who has any legal advice to offer, especially FIDA and all those women's organizations that support the inheritance law as enacted, should rally behind your fellow woman now grappling with the law to get a share of his husband's estate, now in the hands of the husband's relatives similarly as it was before the enactment of the constitutional inheritance law where the widow was always thrown out of the man's house and denied any share of the deceased's estate.

I would expect Lawyer Dede, a presidential aspirant who was once on the airwaves of BWS FM radio in London to come to the aid of Mrs. X. Anyone willing to help should e-mail the writer for more details.

Long live women rights and the fair application of constitutional inheritance law in Ghana!



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