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13.02.2009 Elections

Justice Minister asked to apologise over “Kangaroo” comment

By myjoyonline
Justice Minister asked to apologise over “Kangaroo” comment

Newly appointed Justice Minister and Attorney General, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu has been asked to apologize to the Ghanaian judiciary over comments she allegedly passed that Ghanaian courts were “kangaroo courts”.

She has denied making that comment.
Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, supported by some of his members, made the demand on the floor of the house after unanimously approving 10 persons, including Betty, nominated by President Mills for ministerial appointments.

When she appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament for vetting last Monday, Betty was grilled over the said comments she was said to have made on a political platform during the launching of the then opposition National Democratic Congress' manifesto in Accra in the run-up to the December 2008 elections.

She told the committee that she did not generalize the remark but made it in a specific political context.

“It is being alleged I made that statement. I was on a party political platform. I did not make the statement…I did not generalize the statement, that is blatantly untrue,” she said before the Appointments Committee.

Pressed further by the Minority Leader on that occasion, Betty Mould Iddrisu reiterated; “I don't recall saying that all Ghanaian courts are kangaroo courts.”

But in Parliament Friday, the matter was raised again with some members of the minority demanding that she apologized, however members of the majority who served on the Appointments Committee countered that the committee did not come to that conclusion.

The house subsequently approved her for the appointment, together with nine others for various ministerial posts.

Indeed on October 4, 2008 when the NDC launched its manifesto for the 2008 elections at the Trade Fair Centre, La, Accra, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu touched on what she said was dear to her heart – the law.

“I am a lawyer, I'm a lawyer who stands for social justice, papa no bi. We know what is happening in the country, we know what is going on. We know the kind of trials, the corrupt practices, the agenda they have, putting people in jail who have no right to be in jail. What has happened? The NDC will ensure that the confidence and respect for the judiciary comes back to this country. This country must respect its judiciary, this country must respect its judiciary and we will do that in a number of ways. How? We will look and stop this practice of packing the Supreme Court, as soon as a case is lost what do they do? They just add another judge to the Supreme Court. That will be stopped under the NDC.

“We are also going to do what is done internationally; we are going to separate the Attorney General from the Ministry of Justice and stop these kangaroo trials,” she said to wild yells from enchanted party fanatics who packed the Round Pavilion of Trade Fair Centre.

She capped that submission with a Twi rendition of the NDC's campaign slogan of 'Change', stressing 'Se mekaa sε yεresesa mu oo, yεresesam.'

Story by Isaac Yeboah

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