A leading member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) claims he has irrefutable evidence that two of the nine-member Supreme Court judges that adjudicated on the recent conflict of interest suit filed against National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey by…
…two deputy ministers of state challenging his right to purchase a state bungalow he lived in at the No 2 Mungo Street in the Ridge Residential area when he was a minister, are members of the NPP.
Lawyer Chris Ackumey insists one of the Supreme Court judges is a former Regional Chairman of the NPP, whiles the political affiliation of the other is an open secret. He therefore wished the plaintiffs had objected to the two sitting on the case.
?If I were Dr. Omane Boamah or Okudzeto Ablakwa I would have objected to two of the judges sitting and determining this case. Why do I say so? One of them is known to be an NPP Regional Chairman. The other one I worked personal with at the Internal Revenue Service?he was with the legal department when I was there and I know his political affiliation and anybody who has worked with IRS and associated with him knows his political affiliation. I would have thought that Dr. Omane Boamah and Okudzeto Ablakwa should have investigated the political background of these judges and opposed their sitting on the bench to discuss this matter,? he said.
The Supreme Court, in a 9 – 0 decision, dismissed the claims of corruption, conflict of interest, abuse of office and cronyism writ filed by the two plaintiffs. And by a 6 ? 3 decision, the court noted that the process used in acquiring the property, contrary to the claimants? claims, was not unfair and illegal.
The court further averred that the two deputy ministers failed to prove the conflict of interest allegation it leveled against the NPP National Chair, who the court said had the right under the constitution to purchase the bungalow in which he lived because he bought it in his capacity as a citizen and not a minister.
One of the judges, Justice Brobbey pointed out that allegations of conflict of interest and corruption against any public officer needs to be proven beyond all reasonable doubt. He was also quick to stress that Ghanaians should not see the verdict as support for the practice whereby public officers exploit their official positions for private gain.
The hearing was presided over by Justice William Atuguba. Other members of the Supreme Court panel included Justice Sophia Akuffo, Justice S. A. Brobbey, Justice Sophia Adinyira, Justice Rose Owusu, Justice Jones Dotse, Justice Baffoe Bonnie, Justice B. T. Aryeetey and Justice Vida Akoto Bamfo.
The panel said the Plaintiffs should have rather taken the matter to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice rather than resort to the Supreme Court because the case did not border on conflict of interest.