The decision by a former Deputy Minister of the Interior, Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (Retd), to defend cocaine suspects is creating uneasiness in the corridors of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA).
While the association thinks that Capt. Effah-Dartey's decision creates conflict of interest because of his past status as a public officer, the retired Army Captain insists that he is entitled to earn his fee as a lawyer.
Apparently, the issue will be high in the agenda at the next meeting of the council of the GBA scheduled to take place at the end of this month.
The President of the GBA, Mr Kwami Tetteh, told the Daily Graphic yesterday that the association considered Capt Effah-Dartey's decision very serious and that was why it had decided to discuss the matter at the council meeting.
He said after the Bar Council had taken its position on the matter, it would then inform the General Legal Council, which would constitute a disciplinary committee to investigate the matter.
“If he's not able to convince the disciplinary committee, then sanctions will be applied against him,” the GBA President said.
Capt Effah-Dartey is noted for handling cases which seem difficult and morally reprehensible. One such instance – his defence of the late leader of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels of Sierra Leone, Corporal Foday Sankoh, during his trial in Freetown – shot him into international fame.
Capt Effah-Dartey, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Berekum, is again making the headlines in the local media for his public declaration of defending cocaine suspect.
Some members of the public have questioned the moral justification for him to defend cocaine suspects, in view of the fact that he served as the Deputy Minister for the Interior and Chairman of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).
Mr Tetteh said he had also drawn the attention of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General (AG) to the matter but he had since not heard anything from the AG.
According to him, he had spoken with Capt. Effah-Dartey about the matter and requested him to reconsider his decision but he (Effah-Dartey) insisted that he was entitled to earn his fee as a lawyer.
The GBA President, however, pointed out that much as Capt Effah-Dartey had the right to earn his fee as a lawyer, “we think there is something wrong with that”.