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12.12.2005 General News

High Court rules on Tsatsu's Application on Dec 19

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Accra, Dec 12, GNA - An Accra High Court will on Monday, December 19, give its ruling on an application brought before it by Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation that the Attorney - General could not represent the Chief Justice according to the Constitution. The presiding judge, Mr Justice Ofori Atta, fixed the date after the Court had listened to oral submissions from counsel for Mr Tsikata, and the Attorney-General (A-G), Mr Ayikoi Otoo, who was jointly sued with the Chief Justice (CJ) in the matter. By the writ, Mr Tsikata is praying the court to declare as null and void, a judgment given against him by the Supreme Court on a criminal appeal on November 8, 2004.

Mr B. M. Akpadzi, counsel for Mr Tsikata, argued that the Courts' decision was in contravention of Article 128 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, which provides that: "The Supreme Court shall be duly constituted for its work by not less than five Supreme Court Justices...". Counsel argued that by virtue of the Constitution, the CJ, being the Head of the Judiciary, is responsible for empanelling the Supreme Court for its work and for the administration of the Judiciary generally. Counsel submitted that under Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution, the A-G is the principal legal adviser to the Government, and for that matter, is responsible for initiating proceedings on behalf of the State.

Counsel stated, therefore, that for the A-G to represent the CJ, it would mean that the former is acting as the legal adviser of the latter. Counsel argued that under Articles 125 and 127 of the 1992 Constitution, which provides for the independence of the Judiciary, the A-G could not be the legal adviser to the Government, and at the same time be legal adviser to the head of the Independent Judiciary. Counsel submitted that the A-G's appearance for the CJ meant that there was collusion between the Executive and the Judiciary, in respect, particularly of criminal proceedings against his client. Counsel, therefore, contended that the representation as the A-G was doing, did not only offend clear constitutional principles, but also undermined the ends of justice.

Counsel submitted that the Judiciary being independent of the Executive was an essential aspect of democratic governance that must not be compromised in the manner the A-G was seeking to do. In response, Mr Otoo urged the Court to dismiss the application since it was frivolous and without any merit.

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