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30.05.2006 General News

NPP Ministers submit to court verdict - Joe Ghartey

By GNA

Accra, May 30, GNA - Mr Joe Ghartey, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice designate on Tuesday said the Presidency and Ministers have the humility to submit to court orders than expected by the public. He said Ministers of State now shiver at court verdict against them: "which I see as a positive development on our part to constitutional democracy."

Mr Joe Ghartey, who was answering questions posed by the members of the Parliamentary Appointments Committee said, "it is no news that bailiffs went to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and took away official vehicles as part of executing a court order."

He said, "Just last week a Minister of State, whose name I would not mention, called me for help. He had caught the wrath of a court and was afraid he would be locked up in police cells."

On the charge of costing financial loss to the state and its likely influence on the discretionary powers of public servants, the Minister-designate said once a person could be honestly wronged and that could not carry any form of guilt before the law, it was all right to have that statute on the law books.

He said, "It is good for one to be careful in public life. It is generally good to watch whatever you do."

On the Gulfstream Jet deal, Mr Joe Ghartey said the mere possession of the jet by the Chinese, if it is so, it does not constitute ownership.

He said that was a legal principle and he is yet to know anything to the contrary.

He called for a change in the country's sentencing policy where: "even when a person steals a chicken he is sentenced to custody. The Minister-designate said a community service regime for lesser crimes could reduce the over population of the country's prisons significantly.

Mr Joe Ghartey is married with five children and was called to the Bar in 1998.

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