President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has lashed out at former President John Dramani for accusing him of packing the courts with judges affiliated with the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
He also slammed the “perennial NDC Presidential Candidate” for suggesting that he would neutralise the court with the appointment of National Democratic Congress affiliated judges he became President again.
Speaking at the opening of the weeklong annual Conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) in Cape Coast, President Akufo-Addo denounced the remarks by the former President as an attack on the judiciary which should not be countenanced by the public.
“Not only is this concept of “NPP” and “NDC” judges new in our public discourse. They are also extremely dangerous and represent the most “brazen attack on the independence of the judiciary” by an allegedly responsible politician of the fourth republic.
“They provide another reason if more were needed why right-thinking citizen should ensure the defeat in 2024 of the man whom the first special prosecutor identified as government official number in the still unresolved airbus bribery scandal,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo insisted that judicial appointments were conducted essentially on professional merit and suitability.
He maintained that even though the political colours of judges were known and accepted in some jurisdictions like the USA, the situation was different in Ghana due to the “critical controlling role” of the Judicial Council in judicial appointments.
“Appointments to lower courts, the High Court and the Court of Appeal are done by the President exclusively on the advice of the judicial council.
“In the case of appointment to the Supreme Court, because of its unique position in our judicial structure, there are additional requirements of consultation of the council of state and the approval of Parliament,” he explained.
This year's conference is on the Theme: “Ensuring high standard and integrity in public life: The role of legal profession”
The conference has pulled hundreds of legal practitioners to the Central Regional Capital of Cape Coast to confer on how to position the legal profession to effectively serve the public good.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that existing legislations on corruption relating to the conduct of public officers in Ghana were not adequate to deal extensively with public office accountability.
He, therefore, stressed on the need to introduce effective regulations to ensure public officeholders conducted themselves diligently.
In furtherance of that, he said the Attorney General was making efforts to enact the “Conduct of Public Officers Act” and was consulting various stakeholders including public sector organisations, civil society and other interest groups.
He said the bill would provide a gamut of stringent administrative measures and sanctions to deal with the violation of the law, ranging from the bar against holding public office for limited and indefinite periods to penal sanctions and measures.
He added that the Act would decisively deal with issues regarding financial portfolios held by public officers before assuming public office, links to family business, and improper enrichment.
It would also take care of professional practices, property investment shareholdings and other asset, self-dealing, partiality in the performance of duty, use of public or confidential information to further private interest among others.
President Akufo-Addo intimated the Act would strengthen the role of CHRAJ in the investigation of allegations of contravention of or noncompliance with the Code of Conduct for Public Officers including conflict of interest and non-declaration of interest and illicit enrichment.