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30.09.2008 Politics

Mills Dodges Impeachment

By Daily Guide

Immediate past president of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Nii Osa Mills dodged a seeming impeachment being planned against him by members of the association when he tendered in his resignation to the General Council of the association and picked the next available flight to Accra, DAILY GUIDE has learnt.

Significantly, the General Council is the highest decision-making body of the GBA.

Nii Osa Mills took the swift action on Sunday evening about 7:30 pm at a General Council meeting preceding the Annual General Conference of the GBA, which commenced yesterday.

The ex-GBA boss' resignation came in the wake of growing concerns and discontentment over his comments on the judgment in the Tsatsu Tsikata case.

The now-resigned GBA President was reported to have stated that GBA after taking a critical look at the proceedings of the Tsatsu Tsikata case, realized that the trial judge, Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban had rushed in her ruling.

Information available to DAILY GUIDE indicated that some members of the association who were reportedly shocked and angry about the obviously contemptuous comments of their president had planned to move a motion of no confidence and prepare the grounds for Nii Osa Mills' impeachment, had he not resigned earlier on.

A leading member of the Bar and former Director of the Ghana School of Law, Kwaku Ansah-Asare, had written to Nii Osa Mills asking him to explain why he should not be sanctioned for dragging the name of the profession into disrepute with his unwarranted comments on the Tsatsu Tsikata trial when the matter was before the Appeal Court.

Realising that the odds were stuck against him, Nii Osa Mills was left with no option but to throw in the towel and leave the conference.

Following this development, the General Council ordered the sitting vice president, Benson Nutsuikpu to act as president of the association as stipulated in the GBA constitution.

Meanwhile, the resignation of Mr Osa Mills has caused a split among members of the association who are currently attending the Annual General Conference of the GBA in Kumasi.

Whereas some members hailed the announcement of the resignation, others booed and jeered at it, describing the shocking development as most unfortunate.

Speaking at the opening ceremony held at the plush Golden Tulip Hotel, the now-acting President, Benson Nutsuikpu said the association in the course of the week would issue an official statement on the resignation.

He however indicated that the association had accepted the former president's resignation in good faith.

Under the theme, 'The Legal Profession in a Globalized World', the Annual General Conference was graced by high-powered personalities including the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and his wife Lady Julia.

Continuing, the acting president called for a useful collaboration between members of the bar and the bench for an effective legal system in the country.

He enjoined the government to improve conditions at the courts to ensure a conducive working atmosphere at the courts.

Mr Nutsuikpu asked members of the legal profession to play an active role in the country's oil find.

He entreated government to ensure that the oil find did not become a curse as had been the case in some oil-producing countries.

The acting president, who called for peaceful elections, appealed to Ghanaians to use due process in addressing electioneering disputes.

The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who graciously opened the conference, urged members of the association to bring their expertise to bear on Ghana's democratic process so that the country could have peaceful and violent-free polls.

Underscoring the need for the judiciary to be independent, the Asantehene advocated for the setting up of a special fund for the judiciary.

He said the current order of the day where the judiciary drew its budget from the Consolidated Fund, which was being managed by government, compromised the independent nature of that august body.

In her succinct remarks, Chief Justice Theodora Georgina Wood tasked the GBA to immediately implement mechanisms that would enhance its work, in order to bring it to internationally accepted standards.

This, she observed, would go a long way to enhance and leverage the respectability of the profession in the country and the outside world.

Developing the legal profession to internationally accepted standards, she continued, would also reinforce the competitive advantage of Ghanaian lawyers in terms of their employability and engagement.

The legal profession, Justice Wood said, was at the crossroads of evolution and development worldwide, urging the GBA to recognize the changing times and take genuine steps to shed off the traditional approach to offering services and reorient and manage affairs in a manner that would reflect the changing times.

Hon. Joe Ghartey, Minister of Justice and Attorney General implored members of the legal profession to prepare and position themselves well so as to accrue the numerous benefits that would come with the oil exploration which would commence in the country soon.

There were fraternal messages from the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the South African Bar Association.


From Morgan Owusu & Fred J.A Ibrahim Jnr, Kumasi