President dismisses ASEPA petition to remove Chief Justice from office

Chief Justice Anin Yeboah

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has dismissed the petition initiated by the  Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), a civil society anti-corruption organization seeking to remove the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, from office.

The President, upon the recommendations of the Council of State, determined that the application by ASEPA was unmeritorious and unwarranted and was devoid of any basis to remove the Chief Justice.

This was contained in a statement issued and signed by him on Monday.

ASEPA had alleged in the July 13, 2020 petition seeking to invoke Article 146 of the Constitution for the removal of the Chief Justice, that a private legal practitioner had accused the Chief Justice of demanding a bribe of $5 million from his client to sway judgment in his favour in a case before the Supreme Court.

The Chief Justice, subsequently, denied the allegation and asked the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service to thoroughly investigate into the matter.

President Akufo-Addo, following the receipt of the petition, referred the matter to the Council of State per of Article 122 (3) and 144 (2) of the Constitution and in line with a Supreme Court ruling that obliges him to consult the Council to decide whether a petition for the removal of a Chief Justice or a Justice of the Supreme Court had a prima facie case for an impeachment process to begin.

The Council of State, consequently, submitted its report to the President on Friday, August 20, 2021.

The report concluded that ASEPA’s petition for the removal of the Chief Justice on the grounds of “stated misbehavior” is “frivolous and vexatious”, “does not meet the prima facie standard envisaged under Article 146 (6) of the Constitution and thus, ought to be dismissed in limine”.

Thus, President Akufo-Addo said in the statement that the petition was not anchored on any allegation made directly or emanating from the petitioner itself.

“The petitioner relies on allegations made by a certain lawyer, Mr Kwasi Afrifa, in his response to a complaint of misconduct made against the Chief Justice based on what he alleges another person (his former client), told him,” he said.

The statement said the petitioner did not make any allegation of bribery or any form of misconduct against the Chief Justice, adding that petition was conjectural and speculative, providing nothing of substance to assist in proceedings for the removal of the Chief Justice.

“It is correct to say that the petitioner does not possess any personal knowledge of any of the matter that the petitioner advances as the foundation of the petition,” it said

“To entertain further proceedings on third hand and fourth-hand hearsay, as the petition is replete with, will violate legally acceptable standards of fairness and weaken the efficacy of the top echelon of the Judiciary,” he said.

Source: GNA

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