Attorney General loses against Tsikata

’92 Constitution will expose Majority’s flawed reasoning - Attorney-General
Reviewing confusion after reasons on Supreme Court’s ruling
Nana Akufo-Addo as Attorney-General - Going, going, going
Issues facing Supreme Court
Fast Track Court is alien to Constitution - Majority
Who ordered Tsatsu's arrest?
Justice Afreh for Supreme Court
Look who’s talking,m’Lord
Owusu-Yeboah on Supreme Court judgement
Fast Track Court unconstitutionality - a critique of Tsikata’s post-ruling claims
NDC dissatisfied with Afreh’s nomination
Two CID men interdicted - Awortwi
“Fast track court” saga – research and comparative analysis continued
Top Police officer interdicted
Two CID men not told to arrest Tsikata
Esseku defends Chief Justice, Attorney-General
Tsikata to report to CID Wednesday
Tsatsu rubbishes deputy Attorney-General’s assertion
‘Government didn’t order Tsikata’s arrest’ - Agyepong
“Fast track court” saga – A research and comparative analysis
President nominates Justice Afreh as Supreme Court Judge
Attempt to arrest Tsikata fails
Akufo Addo should be charged with causing financial loss to the state
The Attorney-General and the litany of legal blunders
Court frees Tsikata
Tsikata versus Attorney-General - delayed opinion causes confusion
Luxury lifestyle of Tsatsu’s wife and pal
Fast Track convicts cannot be released now - Judicial Secretary
Rawlings says Supreme Court ruling victory for democracy
Chief Justice’s conduct amounts to breach of Constitution -NDC
History of Fast Track Courts in Ghana
Mumuni calls for release of all Fast Track convicts
No ‘Fast Track’ Court in ’92 Constitution’ – Tsatsu’s lawyer
Akufo Addo, go or be sacked
Fast Track ruling touches on judicial nerves
No easy way out in Tsikata case
Okudzeto paints pix of chaos
Hello Selormey, hello Mallam Issa'
Reactions to Supreme Court's on ruling Fast Track Court
Our Law Lords have spoken - Chronicle
Tsatsu dares Attorney General for round two
AG directed to use all legitimate means to get Supreme Court verdict reviewed
Counsel for Mallam Issah and Selormey react to ruling
Legal Committee of NDC calls on Chief Justice to resign
Tsatsu for High Court on Friday
Tsikata’s case - form triumphs over substance in chamber
Parliamentary business slag by Supreme Court ruling
Tsatsu wins case, Fast Track Court unconstitutional

Fast Track Court is alien to Constitution - Majority

Accra (Greater Accra) 21 March 2002 - The five justices of the Supreme Court, who declared the Fast Track Court (FTC) unconstitutional on February 28, said on Wednesday that the FTC was not known to the Constitution.

The five, who were in the majority were: Mrs Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, Mr Justice A. K. B. Ampiah, Mr Justice F. Y. Kpegah, Mr Justice E. D. K. Adjabeng and Mr Justice Theodore Adzoe.

They explained that in making provision for the administration of justice, the Constitution did not establish any court known, as the FTC neither had Parliament under Article 126 (i) (b) of the Constitution exercised its power to establish any such court.

They pointed out that Parliament in the exercise of its powers under the same article had established circuit and community tribunals under the Courts Act; Act 459 of 1993 sections 40 and 46 and granted them specific criminal jurisdiction.

"There has been no similar legislation creating any FTC", they said. The Supreme Court by a majority of five to four gave judgment in favour of Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) on February 20 and deferred the reasons.

Mr Tsikata had sought: "A declaration that there is no 'Fast Track Court' to try criminal cases established under the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, and there is, therefore, no constitutional foundation for the Plaintiff to be prosecuted before such court.

"A declaration that the oral demand by agents of the Defendant to Plaintiff to appear before a 'Fast Track Court' when no such court for trial is provided for in the Constitution of Republic of Ghana, is an infringement of Articles 125 and 126 of the Constitution establishing the Judiciary.

"An injunction against the Defendant and their agents restraining them from seeking to proceed with a trial of the Plaintiff before the purported 'Fast Track Court'." The four justices, who dissented, were: Chief Justice Edward Kwame Wiredu, Mr Justice George Acquah, Mr Justice Williams A. Atuguba and Ms Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo.   

The Minority said the reasons adduced by the Majority were porous and legally untenable. They argued that all the courts were constitutionally established and that the FTC was only a division of the High Court and wondered why the plaintiff, Tsikata said the setting up of the FTC was unconstitutional.

The Minority explained that there are High Courts in all the regional capitals and some of the district capitals including Denu, Hohoe, Nkwakwa and Mampong and that they were established under the 1992 Constitution with the aim of bringing justice to the doorsteps of many Ghanaians.

"The FTC is ordinary High Court with innovations- new technology to facilitate the process of justice delivery" they said. They said the FTC was a division of the High Court at an experimental stage but when all the High Courts become automated the adjective 'Fast Track' would no longer apply.

They stressed that the Fast Track Court was essentially a division of the High Court with improved facilities but followed the normal procedure of the traditional High Courts. They contended that it was an official act that introduced the FTC and in dealing with matters of this nature, the sovereignty of the nation must be considered.

The Minority, therefore, declared that it found no substance in Tsikata's claim in challenging the legality of the FTC. The Minority drew attention to the fact that the Court of Appeal had been mentioned in singular terms in the Constitution but in fact there were two Appeal Courts namely the Criminal and Civil courts and, therefore, contended that the High Court had equally been mentioned in singular terms, with the FTC inclusive.

They explained that the negative effect of the judgement was likely to affect every Ghanaian, because the Majority failed to consider the innovation being put up in the FTC.

The Minority stated further that lack of funds had thwarted several attempts to update and modernise the High Court System to become the best in West Africa and added that Ghanaians would continue to suffer due to the slow dispensation of justice, should FTC be abolished.

"Ghanaians are complaining at the slow pace at which justice is delivered at the High Court, it is, therefore, in order to establish the FTC to speed up the delivery of justice in our courts."


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Who ordered Tsatsu's arrest?

Accra (Greater Accra) 20 March 2002 - Mr Sam Awortwi, the leading figure on the Government's Special Investigative Task Force (SITF) which has been investigating series of malfeasance at high places has described as unfortunate reports that he and his team deliberately carried out the controversial attempt to seize Mr Tsatsu in church.

He told The Chronicle in a telephone interview that he is worried that people are politicising the incident and reading all sorts of ulterior meanings into them and wondered what he was going to benefit from embarrassing the Government in the way that had been bandied about.

He was emphatic that he did not give any order to arrest Mr Tsikata but explained that certain levels of discretion are allowed on the job to officers, but in the instant the order was not to have the former Chief Executive of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) arrested in the Chapel.

There was a general directive that there should be a way to inform Mr Tsikata that he was needed at the Police headquarters, he disclosed but was flustered by suggestions that they set out to stage-manage an arrest that would ultimately embarrass the Government. "It can't be so! I certainly would not do that! Why would I do that?"

Independently Chronicle gathered that the two policemen who went on the controversial visit to the Chapel to attempt to seize Tsatsu, Messrs Hope Nyadi and E. Annang are both members of the Special Investigation Task Force (SITF) team. The two officers including Mr Awortwi are currently on interdiction.

Pushed for further clarification the veteran police officer who is also the Boss of the Legal Wing of the Force, said that he is happy that the Police Administration is currently conducting its own probe and at the end of the day, everything would become clear.


Chronicle learnt that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mr Osafo Sampong was in a car with Mr Awortwi that fateful day when they had a meeting with the A-G at his residence and actually helped with the identification of some probably sources to locate Tsatsu.

The big question is whether the three officers are being scapegoated. Who gave the order? Were the men using their discretion and made the error of judgment that Mr Tsikata subsequently exploited with his extensive press interviews and alarms? - The Ghanaian Chronicle

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Justice Afreh for Supreme Court

Accra (Greater Accra) 19 March 2002 - Justice Dixon Kwame Afreh, 69, the man who tutored more than half of the Supreme Court bench, finally became the eleventh member of the highest court of the land on Monday when his nomination by the President was approved by Parliament.

Normal participation of the House in the secret ballot numbered 106, of which 104 voted yes, with two blank ballot papers. Justice Afreh told members of the Appointment Committee that “I have not been happy over the past week,” citing the political controversy surrounding his otherwise deserved ascension to the Supreme Court.

He lamented that during the national debate, “No reference had been made” regarding “my merits.” Adding, “apparently some people think I am not good enough for the Supreme Court.”

A part time lecturer at the law School of Ghana, Justice Afreh reminded the Committee that since 1962 every lawyer who has gone through the law school has passed through his tutelage.

Born in Kumasi, he is an old Akora. He left Achimota for the University of Birmingham, England for his law degree, continuing to University of London, where he gained his Masters. He was called to the English Bar in February 1960 at the prestigious Lincoln’s Inn, London.

Admitted to the Ghana Bar in 1961, he went to lecture at the Law Faculty of the University of Ghana between 1962 and 1975, where his students included former Vice-President, Prof Atta Mills, former Finance Minister Dr Kwesi Botwe, and Kwamena Ahwoi.

Underlining his credentials for the superior bench, he told Ghanaians that besides the Chief Justice Wiredu, Justices Bamford-Addo, Ampiah and Lamptey, “I believe all the members of the Supreme Court were my students.” He was Deputy Commissioner for the Electoral Commission for two years from 1992 before he was appointed as a justice of the Court of Appeal in 1994.

The ballot followed a report by the Appointments Committee, chaired by Freddy Blay, First Deputy Speaker. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) who had earlier boycotted the vetting process, also refused to participate in the debate and also in the voting when the Speaker, Peter Ala Adjetey, put the question for the motion for adoption.

Minority Leader A.S.K. Bagbin had earlier told the Appointments Committee that his party refused participation in the work of the Committee because of the “whole procedure surrounding the nomination by the President.”

Justice Afreh’s nomination followed the Supreme Court ruling of Thursday, February 28, of the case between Tsatsu Tsikata and Attorney-General, in which the court held by a 5-4 majority in favour of Tsikata that the Fast Track Court was unconstitutional. The opinion of the judges will be announced on Wednesday, March 20.

Shortly after the ruling, which threw the nation into a kind of constitutional panic, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, filed for a review.

This brought up a further complication. Nine out of the ten Supreme Court judges sat on the original case. Whereas the Constitution provides that at least seven judges ought to sit on a review, convention dictates that, at least, two extra judges be added onto the original panel.

Whereas stressing that his party had nothing against the “eminent jurist,” Bagbin and his group still stayed silently in the Chamber during the debate in protest. Even when the Speaker had put the question and collected the voting slips, the Minority refused to present theirs. Majority Leader, Papa Owusu-Ankomah was, however, adamant. “Constitutionally, this nomination is proper and impeccable,” he told his colleagues. – The Statesman.

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.Look who’s talking, m’Lord


Accra (Greater Accra) 19 March 2002 - The NDC’s history of appointing judges to the Supreme Court has been cited as stripping it of all moral authority to criticise the nomination and appointment of Justice D.K. Afreh as Supreme Court judge.

The minority NDC, in obvious pursuit of the campaign to politicize Justice Afreh’s appointment with the potential to undermine the credibility of the Supreme Court, on Monday, boycotted his vetting by the Appointments Committee. He however, sailed through for a positively overwhelming endorsement of 104-2 by Parliament.

While Justice Afreh went through the mill of nomination with his recommendation by the Judicial Council, by the President in consultation with the Council of State, vetting by the Appointments Committee and approved by Parliament by 104 majority, the same cannot be said of some of the Supreme Court judges whose ruling has been hailed by the NDC.

The appointments of Justice A.K.B. Ampiah and F.K.Y. Kpegah are classic examples of the NDC’s move to “pack” the Supreme Court, which the party is accusing the government of doing.

While Justice Afreh went through the mill of nomination with his recommendation by the Judicial Council, by the President in consultation with the Council of State, vetting by the Appointments Committee and approved by a Parliamentary majority, the same cannot be said of some of the Supreme Court judges whose ruling has been hailed by the NDC.

The appointments of Justices A.K.B. Ampiah and F.K.Y. Kpegah are classic examples of the NDC’s move to “pack” the Supreme Court. While talking about the “whole procedure, timing and circumstances” surrounding Justice Afreh’s appointment, the Minority NDC seemed to have forgotten those surrounding Justices Ampiah and Kpegah. The twp were indeed appointed by former President Rawlings on January 6, 1993, hours into the activation of the 1992 constitution. 

“The whole procedure, timing and circumstances surrounding the appointments of these two judges to the Supreme Court was just to avoid subjecting them to vetting as required by the Constitution,” said a retired Supreme Court judge who spoke on condition of anonymity. Their appointments, he said, were part of the wholesale decisions made by the PNDC during what was then described as “injury time,” to push through issues and appointments, which could not stand the scrutiny of the new constitution.

The nomination of the most junior of the Supreme Court judges, Justice Adzoe, who went through the constitutional process, however, had received so much protests from the Ghana Bar Association and lawyers of substance. The contrast of Justice Afreh’s appointment is the impeccable record he brings to the Supreme Court. – The Statesman.

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.Owusu-Yeboah on Supreme Court judgement


Accra (Greater Accra) 19 March 2002 - The Volta Regional Minister, Kwasi Owusu-Yeboah, has described the majority judgement of the Supreme Court in respect of Tsatsu Tsikata and the “Fast Track High Court saga as a blatant judicial anomaly that requires immediate rectification by due process.

In an exclusive interview with the Chronicle in his office at Ho, seeking his comment on the judgement, Owusu-Yeboah said that it was difficult to fathom how the introduction and consequently the intervention of modern technological equipment and gadgets per se in the judicial process purely as a facility and expediting mechanism without more could be construed as having the effects in law of creating a new or different court of law not backed by the requisite constitutional or statutory mandate.

“It is trite knowledge that there is only one High Court in the country constituting part of the Superior Court of Judicature in Ghana under Constitutional order”, he underscored adding, therefore, that the mere designation of a high court sitting/session/room as a Fast Track High Court for the sole purpose of underscoring the application of modern technology or the wrongful use or non-use of administrative insignia cannot thereby operate to transform the juridical character and status of the Fast Track High Court into anything other than a High Court.

Owusu-Yeboah, a respectable legal practitioner of good standing, said this would otherwise mean that modern technology and administrative lapses of a non-juridical nature or substance are perceived by the country’s learned judges as an anti-juridical and anti-constitutional virus such that all and every court proceeding emanating from any section or rung of the Judiciary identified “infected” with the so-called virus are ipso facto, rendered invalid and unconstitutional.

The regional minister was, however, glad it has not been alleged or otherwise contended that the Fast Track High Court was not applying either the criminal or civil procedure code governing the high court in Ghana.

He said no change has been made tending to suggest or even imply that the standing and essential rules and norms of the judicial process have not been observed by the Fast Track Court, nor that contrary to his instrument or letter of nomination or appointment from his Lordship, the Chief Justice, the learned Court of Appeal judge who “condescended” to preside over the Fast Track High Court was not sitting as an additional High Court Judge which is a well established legal practice.

The learned minister fixing his gaze on the paper’s reporter as if demanding an immediate answer from him quizzed, “And so what is the gravamen of the majority judgement of the Supreme Court of Ghana?” - The Chronicle

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.Fast Track Court unconstitutionality - a critique of Tsikata’s post-ruling claims


Accra (Greater Accra) 19 March 2002

.1. Production of the Guidelines


On Monday, 11 March 2002, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata asserted on a Radio Gold program that the Fast Track Court Guidelines were not produced by the Chief Justice. Mr Tsikata’s assertion was based on his own interpretation of the expression in the preface that the Chief Justice said he “caused” to set up or established…Mr. Tsikata repeated his assertion on Joy FM the following day.

The Chief Justice is the Head of the Judiciary responsible for both the administration and supervision of the judiciary; Act 125(4). It is impossible for him to personally and physically carry out all administrative decisions he takes. He takes his decisions and direct able and competent members of staff under him to carry out whatever he wishes to be done on his behalf.

The main point is that he has the power to ask any member of staff to prepare any document on his behalf. If Tsikata knows of any law that forbids the Chief Justice from instructing any administrative direction to be prepared for him, let him name it.

The second point is that what the Chief Justice does is not different from how all other public services are governed; the head takes his decisions and directs subordinates under him to prepare details for his action.

Thirdly, the argument of Tsikata that the Chief Justice should personally and physically prepare every directive of his is quite absurd and would result in administrative bottlenecks which critics like him would love to see only to exploit when it suits them to do so.

If Tsikata were right, then even when instructions have to be given to drivers as to what to do in the course of driving judges, the Chief Justice has to sit down, take his pen and paper and write down what he would like to be done at all times. This would also include the numerous financial directions given to finance officers in the judicial service.

The idea is too ridiculously unrealistic to be contemplated. The reality on the ground is that the Chief Justice takes his decision. He has several officials working under him whom he can appoint to produce on his behalf the details of any decision. The fact that an official produces the details for him does not mean that he did not produce it. This is the significance of the expression “caused to be established or produced.”

For the education of Tsikata, the Chief Justice carefully chooses his words when he publishes his ideas. The expression “caused to be established” was carefully chosen to reflect precisely what it says. The “Chambers 21 Century Dictionary,” 1996 edition, page 222 defines to cause as, “to produce an effect, to bring about something.

2. Signing of Guidelines

The original Guidelines were signed by the Chief Justice himself. The fact that Tsikata could only lay his hands on an unsigned copy does not mean that it was not signed. Tsikata may wish to verify from the Chief Justice himself whether or not he signed the guidelines.

3. Few copies signed

Only a few copies were signed and kept in the office and on file. Thereafter, several copies were produced for use initially, by court officials. The officials had to know how to use the computers in relation to the High Court Rules before attention could be turned to the use of the Guidelines by members of the Bar and litigants. That is why the first copies were distributed among the court officials only.

4. Guidelines, computer software and movement of computers to other courts

It is significant to point out the software applied to produce records and process the trials and execution of cases in the FTC is based on the Guidelines, which are in turn produced out of the High Court Rules. If the Guidelines are illegal and unconstitutional, how can persons who have ensured their outlaw turn round to say that the computers should be moved and put into other courts, knowing very well that the computers can only be operated on specific soft ware and guidelines?

What Guidelines should be employed to operate the computers if they are sent to other courts as Tsatsu and his lawyer advocate? They should take the trouble to find out how much the World Bank paid and the amount of imputs that went into the production of the software of the Fast Track Court before they attempt to confuse members of the public by making statements which they know very well are impossible to implement. – The Crusading Guide.

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NDC dissatisfied with Afreh’s nomination

Accra (Greater Accra) 14 March 2002 - The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has expressed dissatisfaction at the government’s nomination of Justice Kwame Afreh for consideration for appointment to the Supreme Court at a material moment when the government has vested interest.

A party statement issued in Accra said the NDC believes that the appointment of Justice Afreh to the Supreme Court before the court reviews its decision on the Tsatsu Tsikata versus Attorney-General case is tantamount to the politicisation of the Supreme Court.

It noted that Mr Justice Afreh is currently one of the Appeal Court judges sitting as additional High Court judge at the Fast Track Court. The statement added that the constitutional status of the Fast Track Court is the issue that is before the Supreme Court and, therefore, the ends of justice cannot be served if Justice Afreh is empanelled to deliberate that issue.

“The NDC wishes to remind the NPP Government of its avowed commitment to the rule of law and, therefore, cautions that nothing must be done to either bring our country’s system of administrative justice into disrepute or undermine the integrity of the Supreme Court”, the statement added. – Daily Graphic.

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Two CID men interdicted - Awortwi

Accra (Greater Accra) 14 March 2002 - The Police Administration has interdicted Police Commissioner in-charge of Legal and Prosecutions, Mr Sam Awotwi, following the attempt by two policemen to arrest Mr Tsatsu Tsikata in church. The policemen, Detective Chief Inspector Hope Nyadi and Detective Inspector Ashitey Annang, have also been interdicted.

A statement issued by the Inspector General of Police, Ernest Owusu-Poku, said that preliminary investigations have, so far, revealed that neither the Attorney General nor the Deputy Attorney-General ordered the arrest of Mr Tsikata at the premises of the Asbury Donewell Church in Accra.

The investigations also indicate that Detective Chief Inspector Nyadi was the officer in-charge of the case involving Mr Tsikata, with Detective Inspector Annang as his assistant. According to the statement, the two detectives are members of the Special Task Force, which has Mr Awortwi as the most senior officer. The statement said that it has been established that the two detectives were at the church premises and made contact with Mr Tsikata, the pastor of the church and other members of the congregation.

The statement said investigations are still ongoing “to establish who gave the instructions for Mr Tsikata’s alleged arrest or whether there was indiscretion on the part of the detectives.” It gave the assurance that the Police Administration will not shield any police officer who might have acted unprofessionally in the handling of the case - The Daily Graphic.

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.“Fast track court” saga – research and comparative analysis continued


3. Preparation of the guidelines


(A)   There is no doubt that the Guidelines were prepared by the two gentlemen mentioned by Mr Tsikata’s Lawyer in his interview with Komla Dumor on a local FM station. To appreciate why that happened, it is important to know that it was the two gentlemen (Justice S.A. Brobbey and Mr Kwesi Ainuson) who in November and December 2000 were nominated by Justice Abban to undergo a course of studies at the Continuing Judicial Institute in the State of Georgia.

They presented a report to Justice Abban who directed them to re-present it to the Acing Chief Justice since Justice Abban was proceeding on leave for medical treatment. It was as a result of that report that the Acting Chief Justice established the FTC as a Division of the High Court with instructions to apply IT to the High Court Rules in the proceeding, trial and execution of cases.

(B)   Having established the FTC and taken various decisions as to how the courts should be run and how litigation should be conducted including the use of IT to reduce the life of a case on trial to six months, he (Chief Justice) could ask any one knowledgeable in the processes being advocated by him to prepare the design of the court and its operation for him. Given that the two were the only men who had made special study of automated courts as in practice in the State of Georgia and whose report gave the impetus of the Chief Justice to establish the FTC, it was only natural that he would ask the two to prepare the design for the implementation of his policies.

(C)   In all Departments of the Public Service, that is how administration is conducted; a decision is taken and it is the knowledgeable subordinates who draw up details for the head. When the PNDC decided to reduce the period spent on education, the decision was taken as a matter of policy and experts in education were tasked to write down the programme for implementing the decision. It was not the Principal Secretary or the Chief Director who drew up the programme by himself.

(D)   Since the courts were to use computers and since most of the court registrars, court personnel and the judges were not computer literate, the need was felt for clear Guidelines to be issued as to how to operate and use the FTC. The logical situation was that the Acting Chief Justice decided what he desired to put into place as his policy. The two gentlemen (Justice S.A. Brobbey and Mr Kwesi Ainuson) who had undergone special studies leading to the establishment of the FTC were directed to reduce those policies into the form of Guidelines that would ensure the realization of those policies of the Chief Justice in charge of the administration of the courts.

(E)    That was similar to when the PNDC decided to reduce the school going age of children in his country. The Council took the decision and the Ministry of Education got experts to reduce the programme into writing and it was implemented. Surely it was not the Principal Secretary of Chief Director who prepared details of the programme. The same procedure is adopted if school syllabus for instance has to be changed. It is not the Principal Secretary who creates the details of the syllabus. The Principal Secretary takes the decision that is educed into writing by his subordinates for the study and adoption by the Principal Secretary and the Ministry of Education.        

The methods are adopted because there is no law that directs how the head of a Government institution should administer the department under him. Why should that be different in the case of the Chief Justice?

The important points are whether he took the decision to create the courts and whether he took the decision to use computers to reduce the disposal of cases to six months. By signing the Guidelines, he surely evidenced the fact that the Guidelines were made under his directions. That is all that is required by him to promote the administration and supervision of the courts.

(F)    Article 159 and Passage of Legislative Instrument


The Judicial Service has a history of similar assignments being done in the name of officials of the Service based on decisions taken by the Chief Justice for the improvement of the Service without having to be backed by Legislative Instruments.  


In the late 1980s when it was decided that the structure of the Service had to be re-examined with the view to rationalising and improving the entire Service, the assignment was undertaken, on the instruction of the then Chief Justice, by Mr Justice Wiredu at a time when he was a Justice of the Court of Appeal. The report he produced was and is still called the Wiredu Report. The current Judicial Service structure is based on that Wiredu Report.


That was a report based on a decision taken by the then Chief Justice for the improvement of the Judicial Service that was acted upon even though no Legislative Instrument was issued on it. There is also the Roger Korsah Report on Administrative Directives or Directions for the Judicial Service. No Legislative Instrument came with that too!


This is to illustrate the point that it is not every decision taken or the efficient performance of the Judicial Service that needs to go through the process outlined in Article 159 or needs to be backed by Legislative Instrument before it can be legal or before it can be acted upon.


(G)   Conveying the computers to the High Court without Guidelines - a historical background.


The Judicial Service has had the history of similar simplistic approaches to automation without Guidelines, which totally flopped. In the late 1970s during the time when Mr Justice Azu Crabbe was Chief Justice, tape recorders were purchased and installed in the Criminal Divisions of the High Court in Accra, Sekondi and Kumasi to be used in recording court proceedings.


There were no Guidelines, no instructions and the system simply collapsed next to no time. Those were only tape recorders. Now the system in place is made more complex by computers and the use of networking and some people think they can be sustained by just being moved from one court room to another with a simple statement like “Go ahead and use them” and Sesame-they will be used! That is invitation to chaos and definite doom to failure of the automation.


Tsikata is a lawyer and he knows about the Azu Crabbe experiment. He should be asked about his own recollections of the tape recording system under Justice Azu Crabbe and what became of them. Without clear Guidelines as to the use, maintenance and acquisition of consumables containing policy directions on the sustenance of the system itself as well as the future of the equipment, the entire system will collapse, just like it happened to the tape recorders under Justice Azu Crabbe.


4. Civil and criminal jurisdiction in the Tsikata case  


The original writ filed by Tsikata applied for an order that the FTC had no criminal jurisdiction and therefore could not try him. Later he amended his writ to cover civil disputes in the FTC by applying for an order that the entire FTC was unconstitutional and illegal. The judges strangely allowed the amendment without asking for his locus standi to bring a case involving civil disputes. Strangely they decided on the application in so far that it involved civil disputes as well.

The pertinent questions are these, did Tsikata have any mandate from any person or party in a civil suit to apply for a declaration to affect civil suit? Secondly, if the Supreme Court judges did not comment on the legality of the Selormey case because it was not an issue when he filed his appeal in the Supreme Court, can the same Supreme Court decide on civil disputes, which were technically not before them? More research and analysis to follow. – The  Crusading Guide

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.Top Police officer interdicted


Accra (Greater Accra) 13 March 2002 - The police administration has moved swiftly to unravel the circumstances leading to last weekend’s attempted arrest of Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, former chief executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). As part of the investigation, Mr Sam Awotwi, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the Legal Department has been interdicted with immediate effect for his role in the botched operation.

A security source told “The Evening News” on Tuesday morning that they were also investigating whether the interdicted senior police officer’s long association with the former GNPC boss might have influenced his role in the authorised arrest of Mr Tsikata. The two were said to have been friends and mates at Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast from Form One to Upper Six and also at the Law School.

The source said last Sunday’s incident has security system who are bent on doing things to embarrass the government. It said what baffled senior security men was that Mr Awotwi who is also head of the Police Prosecution Unit went underground immediately after the incident.

“He switched off all his communication gadgets and therefore all attempts by his superiors to get in touch with him proved futile. “We find his conduct in the whole operation very suspicious which would not be countenanced by the police administration,” the source told the Evening News.

It said when some members of the Dunwell Church were interviewed, they said the two policemen told them that even though they (the police) were not happy with the operation, they had been instructed to carry it out. The police also told them that if they (the church members) wanted the arrest to be aborted, they should get in touch with a radio station to make noise on the air.

“As a matter of fact within minutes the incident was on air. Certainly, this is a clear case of a well-rehearsed plan to embarrass the NPP government. But we want to assure all Ghanaians that the government is in full control and those found to be owing allegiance to personalities and interest groups other than the President and the state would be smoked out,” the source clearly emphasized. – The Evening News

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Two CID men not told to arrest Tsikata

Accra (Greater Accra) 13 March 2002 - Investigations conducted by the Graphic into the furore surrounding the attempted arrest of Mr Tsatsu Tsikata last Sunday have revealed that the two detectives were never instructed to arrest Tsikata in the Church.

The two were, however, instructed to invite Tsikata to appear before a panel at the Police Headquarters. The investigations revealed that although at a meeting of top police officers and prosecutors at which one of the two detectives was present last Saturday, it was decided not to arrest Tsikata in church, the operatives, who had been investigating Tsatsu, felt the only place they could get him was on the church precinct.

It further revealed that after last Saturday’s meeting, the detectives called Prof E.V.O. Dankwa, leading counsel for Mr Tsikata, to invite him to the police headquarters that same day, but both the counsel and Tsikata failed to show up. Prof Dankwa confirmed in an interview that the detectives called him on Friday and later followed up to his house to request that Tsatsu report to the police.

He said the detectives called him about twice or thrice on Saturday and he assured them that he would ensure that Tsatsu reports to the police on Monday. He said he was, therefore, surprised to hear that the detectives had actually gone to the church grounds to arrest him. Prof Dankwa also denied ever receiving a call from Mr Awortwi and stressed that, “I have always dealt with the investigators and not Mr Awortwi.”

The investigations also indicated that when it was realized that Mr Tsikata was not forthcoming, the detectives called Prof Dankwa again to find out what was happening but were told that he (Prof Dankwa) had also not heard from Mr Tsikata nor seen him. The investigations again revealed that following this disclosure and the desire of the A-G’s Department to have Mr Tsikata arraigned before court on Monday, the detectives decided to check on him at the church to invite him to the police headquarters.

It was established that the two detectives have been investigating Mr Tsikata over the past year and had always found it difficult getting him (Tsikata) except on the church premises or was brought to the headquarters by his counsel. The investigations revealed that on the day of the incident, the two detectives did not go to the church premises to invite him to report to the police after church.

The investigations indicate that after Mr Tsikata was informed of the mission of the detectives, he flared up and asked why the police were worrying him and did not even want him to worship his God. It revealed that somebody who was in the yard and heard the exchanges then rushed to inform the head pastor of the church, who came out to intervene on Mr Tsikata’s behalf and promised to lead him to the Police Headquarters on Monday, which he did.

Meanwhile, information reaching the Graphic also indicates that following objections raised by counsel for Tsikata on the constitutionality of the charges, a meeting was immediately held by the prosecution at which it was decided that new charges be preferred at last Friday’s hearing.

According to the information, the Director of Public Prosecutions was to have withdrawn the old charges at Friday’s hearing and replace them with the new charge sheet but this was not done. Thus, when he was called by the presiding judge to argue his case, he based his arguments on the old charges, resulting in Tsikata being discharged.

The information indicates further that the prosecuting decided to change the charges because it was detected that Mr Tsikata was right about the constitutionality of the old charges.

In a related development, Mr Sam Awortwi, Commissioner of Police in charge of Legal and Prosecutions, is still at post, despite news reports that he had been interdicted following the bizarre incident involving the operatives and Mr Tsikata. The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Ernest Owusu-Poku, confirmed in an interview that Mr Awortwi was still at post.

Highly-placed sources have also denied knowledge of Mr Awortwi’s interdiction and wondered the source of the story. At the time of filing this report, the two detectives were being detained at the Police Headquarters after they had written statements to the police. No reasons have been given for their detention. – Daily Graphic.

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.Esseku defends Chief Justice, Attorney-General



Accra (Greater Accra) 13 March 2002 - The NPP National Chairman, Harona Esseku, has described as unfortunate the fact that the judicial saga over Tsatsu Tsikata and the Fast Track division of the High Court has degenerated into a political battle and intimidation of the judiciary.

“We consider the call by the NDC on the Chief Justice to resign or decline to consider the review as a clear demonstration of interference in, and compromising the independence of the judiciary.

“We believe that the government, represented by the Attorney-General, has a constitutional right to seek a review of the Supreme Court’s ruling, especially in view of the ruling’s implications on our attempt to apply modern records and case management systems to facilitate the delivery of justice,” he noted.

On February 28 the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 majority held that the Fast Track Court was unconstitutional. The NPP chairman sees the ruling as having the potential to cause severe and extraordinary consequences on the administration of justice. It is, therefore, only proper that all legal processes are duly exhausted, through for instance, the request to the Supreme Court to reconsider its view.

The Supreme Court, he said, has on several occasions been called upon to review its ruling whenever a party in a suit feels aggrieved and it is the “mark of our democratic maturity that we seek to resolve this constitutional issue by using all due processes available. “The Chief Justice in his wisdom decided to empanel all available justices in the Tsikata suit for which reason we believed there were only limited options for the review process,” said the party chairman.

Harona Esseku expressed concern about the undue politicisation of the ruling that has the likely effect of imputing purely political motives for genuine attempts to entrench the democracy, rule of law and independence of the judiciary.

“It is hoped these processes will not be misconstrued as “packing the court,” whatever that means, or governmental interference, since the present government has not derided the previous NDC government for appointing the present ten Justices of the Supreme Court, who in all fairness have demonstrated remarkable independence and maturity in their conduct as expected of them and any other Justices who may be appointed to the Supreme Court when the need arises,” the NPP chairman added. - The Statesman

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Tsikata to report to CID Wednesday

Accra (Greater Accra) 12 March 2002 - Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), was on Monday invited to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) at the Police Headquarters, Accra, in connection with ongoing investigations into his alleged mismanagement of the GNPC.

Mr Tsikata reported at the Police Headquarters in the company of his lawyers, Prof E.V.O Dankwa and Major (rtd) R.S. Agbenoto. Prof Dankwa later said in an interview that personnel of the CID only told Mr Tsikata to “go and come back on Wednesday.” He said Mr Tsikata was not told exactly why he was wanted, but the invitation is believed to be in connection with the charges levelled against him in the recent court cases.

It would be recalled that two policemen in mufti attempted to arrest Mr Tsikata in church, disrupted the service at the Asbury Dunwell Church in Accra for about 10 minutes, and compelled the head pastor and the elders to intervene. The leadership was said to have appealed to the policemen to allow Mr Tsikata to take part in the worship after, which he will make himself available to the police.

Mr Tsikata, accused by the government of willfully causing financial loss to the state, has won two major legal battles against the government in the past two weeks. He first won a case he sent to the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the Fast Track Court. The Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 majority.

Last Friday, Tsikata again had an Accra High Court upholding a preliminary objection raised by his counsel who argued that the charge leveled against their client was unconstitutional. – Daily Graphic.

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Tsatsu rubbishes deputy Attorney-General’s assertion

Accra (Greater Accra) 12 March 2002 - Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, the former Chief Executive of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), who was on Friday, last week discharged by an Accra High Court on allegations of causing the nation to lose billions of cedis, says he finds it very difficult to understand why the police had to inform him of his arrest at church when he had always made himself available to the security services at their invitations.

Speaking on Joy FM, an Accra-based radio station, a day after two plain-clothed men believed to be cops connected to the Deputy Attorney-General (AG), launched an abortive attempt seize him, Tsikata could not comprehend the motive behind the police move to inform him of his arrest at the time when he was going to seek the face of his creator.

“I think it is hard to understand a lot of things happening. I have made myself available to the police on every occasion when the asked to question me about anything. I have gone to their request… To have a situation such as I experienced on Sunday when I was going to church, that is very difficult for me to understand.”

Tsatsu, who stated his intention to honour the police invitation on Monday said, “They saw me on Friday in court and they know where to meet me in order to send messages about; why was it so important to them that in church I had to be informed that I was going to be arrested?” Tsatsu wondered and hoped, “But I will hope that whatever it is, we will get to the bottom of it.”

Tsatsu, who intimated that within 24 hours of his first invitation to the police station on November 29, last year he had five charges levelled against him, regretted the statement by the Deputy Attorney-General, Ms Gloria Akuffo, on Monday on the same radio station, which purported to have meant that he (Tsatsu) has been discharged on technicalities.

“I think it is a sad day for the country when the Deputy A-G says that fundamental legal issues which have been brought before courts, including the Supreme Court and the High Court, and that have been pronounced upon authoritatively are technicalities. He continued, “You know for instance in the High Court last Friday we were talking about legal principles, which are also universal principle. The Judge actually gave a rendition in Latin, again showing how far back that principle goes that you don’t charge somebody with a conduct which at the time he committed that conduct it was not a crime. If you do, then what that means is that you are retroactively applying criminal sanctions, something that at the time the person did it he could have had no idea of a crime.”

Again, Tsatsu noted that if the Deputy AG says that it is a technicality, then they must have a look at the charges themselves or they must have a look at the facts of the case and have satisfied themselves that this is the charge that is appropriate for them to bring. “I didn’t write the charges against myself, they brought out the facts which they thought was pertinent,” he contended.

The recently acknowledged legal wizard also regretted that despite the laws of the land saying that unless a man is found guilty by a law court he is innocent of the charges labelled against him, he has found out over the years, especially last year, that there were a number of people in the media, and other individuals who had pronounced him guilty effectively and were looking simply for a process that they would have regard as being a sort of fast track to his conviction.

The Deputy Government Spokesperson, Kwabena Agyepong, speaking on the programme later, expressed the government’s regret over the incident and accepted the responsibility from a point of view that government was going to take due action. “We were surprised to hear such a thing because we believe that such things have happened in the past and we have to learn from the mistakes of the past. And when things like that begin to recur then you need to look within yourself and accept some responsibility and take due action.” He noted that even if the officials had the instructions to send a message, what they should have done was to use their own discretion. – The Chronicle.

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‘Government didn’t order Tsikata’s arrest’ - Agyepong

Accra (Greater Accra) 12 March 2002 - The Government says it views the latest attempt to arrest Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), as a calculated move to embarrass it.

Government Spokesman, Mr Kwabena Agyepong, noted that there are certain elements within the security system, who are bent on acting in such a manner so as to give credence to the accusation by the NDC that the government was harassing former ministers and top functionaries of the erstwhile regime.

Speaking in an interview, Mr Agyepong said President J.A. Kufuor was to convene a special meeting of the Cabinet on Monday evening to review the situation and take a firm decision on the matter. “I can confirm to you that the decision which will be taken by the government will be decisive and far-reaching,” he intimated.

Mr Agyepong said, “it is significant to know that the senior police officer who is alleged to have masterminded the operations had gone underground and cannot also be reached by phone”.

Explaining why the government thinks the botched operation was carried out to give it a bad name and image, Mr Agyepong said although the Attorney-General instructed the top police officer (name withheld) handling the case not to serve summons on Mr Tsikata to appear at the police station for fresh charges to be preferred against him, the officer acted contrary to the instructions and sent two operatives to arrest Mr Tsikata.

“The Attorney-General was emphatic on the day in question that they should not serve Mr Tsikata at the church. For them to have gone back on his word to create a scene at the church should be viewed as nothing but a calculated attempt to embarrass the government and to give it a bad name, he said. According to Mr Agyepong, since the botched operation, “the police officer has gone underground and all attempts to contact him have proved futile.”

Mr Agyepong stressed that since senior police officers have discretionary powers “one would have thought that the officer involved would have acted properly, more so when the Attorney-General had issued specific instructions on the matter.” From the evidence available, he said, “it is quite clear that the police officer acted unilaterally to bring the government into disrepute and public ridicule.”

Asked whether or not it has been possible for the government to trace the two operatives who were alleged to have gone to the church to arrest Mr Tsikata, Mr Agyepong said “we are working on the statement by Mr Tsikata that he could recognise the police officers as those who normally accompany the Deputy Attorney-General and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to the court.”

He said the two officers have, so far, not been emphatic on who gave the instructions for the arrest but only told Mr Tsikata that, “we were sent by a top police officer.” He alleged that what makes the issue intriguing is the fact that the top police officer involved allegedly engaged in a telephone conversation with Mr Tsikata’s counsel. “We have intelligence report to prove that,” Mr Agyepong said.

“This is the more reason why we believe that the operation was intentionally and deliberately botched up to discredit the government,” the Government Spokesman added. He reiterated the government’s view that “some operatives in the security system do not owe allegiance to the state but are rather prepared to serve certain interest groups to create an atmosphere of instability in the country.”

Mr Agyepong made it clear that the government is going to be cleaning the system and “we will go all out to do this.” He said “the government will definitely deal with the propaganda machinery set up to create an atmosphere of insecurity.” – Daily Graphic.

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.“Fast track court” saga – A research and comparative analysis


Accra (Greater Accra) 12 March 2002 –


(1)        Court Automation and Tsikata case:

(a)    The view is held that court automation can proceed irrespective of the Tsikata case and that all that is required is to carry the computers from the FTC to the High Court and continue to use them. This view was canvassed actively in a press release by Counsel for Tsikata when the Tsikata camp realised from the various reactions on radio phone-ins that public response to their stand had been consistently one of condemnation than praise for what the public perceived to be a ‘subtle attempt’ to destroy a system that rather improved the delivery of justice. To assert that the automation can proceed irrespective of the Tsikata case is a naïve and simplistic way of looking at automation and can only come from those who do not know how to automate a court system or, if they know, they are bent on causing mischief.


(b)   Need for Data  - Carrying the computers from where they are now will not automate the courts because the machines by themselves cannot operate the courts. The machines need to be moved and fed with data. The data can only be those relating to court procedure and court language.

(c)    Computer literacy and court staff and judges - More than 80 per cent of the judges and magistrates in this country are not computer literate. Most of the registrars and members of staff of the Judicial Service are not computer literate. They have to be guided as to how to use the computers to generate the results required in court proceedings. The few registrars and clerks who are computers literate have to be guided in the use of the computers for court work because they too are lawyers. To carry the computers to the court rooms operated by judges and registrars and court officials who know next to nothing about computers is like buying a car and giving it to a truck pusher and expecting him to operate the car to produce results because what he does with his truck, i.e. moving from one place to the other, is the same end result that will be produced by a car. Of course the owner would have to give the truck pusher instructions. Of course, if one is dealing with a system controlled by laid down rules in court processes, then those instructions must be directly based on those rules. The instructions are the guidelines that are now the subject matter of attack in the Tsikata case. Without guidelines and without instructions, how does any serious minded person say that just carry the computers from where they are now and put them to use in the High Court? Can the computer use themselves without human intervention?

(d)   Mischief - The mischief that we suspect could be at play lies in this- the reality of the court situation is that there are the following number of courts in place; (i) Two Supreme Courts; (ii) Three Courts of Appeal (iii) 47 High Courts; (iv) 10 Regional Tribunals; and nearly 180 Circuit Courts, Circuit Tribunals and Community Tribunals put together.


(e)    Impossible task - No institution can automate all these courts at the same time. The reason is simply that there are neither the financial resources nor the manpower to do that. So one has to start somewhere.


(f)     Two parallel systems of courts- The constraints of manpower and financial resources dictate that one can only start with one or few courts. This necessarily implies that the new courts will have to be run alongside the old courts for some time.

(2)        Pilot project to be replicated

What the Chief Justice and Attorney-General have been telling the public is that the FTCs in Accra are pilot projects and will be “replicated” in the other courts and Regions Replication is a copying of what has been put in place. If the FTC in Accra is illegal and unconstitutional, then the illegality and unconstitutionality cannot be replicated.

(a)    There is no single activity in the court automation programme that is not directly linked to the FTC. There is an Oversight Committee in the Attorney General’s Department. At its meetings, all references to court automation are references to the FTC and how to improve the FTC to be replicated in the Regions. In the Judicial Service itself, there is in place the Automation Committee. All discussions of the business of the Committee are centered on the FTC with the view to improve them to be replicated in the Regions. The software developed for the court automation was based on the High Court Rules in so far as they are explained by the guidelines, the court automation programme is inextricably interwoven with the FTC. If the FTC is illegal and unconstitutional, then the court automation programme as presently organised is equally unconstitutional and illegal. This is the very serious and deleterious ramification of the writ filed by Tsikata and the decision given by the Supreme Court.

(b)   The FTC and court automation are inseparable. Tsikata and his lawyers should know this and stop telling the Judicial Service to go on with the court automation programme. Alternatively, they should be good enough to tell the Judicial Service and the Attorney General’s Department how the FTC can be operated separately for the court automation programme.

(c)    Automation is not done for the fun of it. It is done with an objective or aim. In the case of court automation, the objective is     to speed up, expedite or make fast the disposal of cases. The Judicial Service chose the expression “FAST TRACK” because that I s what truly portrays the objective of the court.

(a)    Nomenclature - Because the two courts will be run parallel for some time, it will be necessary to give a name to what Tsikata wants to put in place so as to distinguish the automated court from the others. This is important so that lawyers, litigants and the public will know where to go for their cases. What names do these lawyers and all those who share that view want for the new courts? Automated, Speedy, Expedited Court? That will take them back to the very objection they have raised to use of the expression FAST TRACK. Or are they telling the Judicial Service just to put out the computers and stop at that without giving any distinguishing marks?

(b)   What the Fast Track does is to automate the courts. Tsikata and his lawyer say have no objection to the automation and so the court automation should proceed. What they should be understood to be saying is that they like the court automation and have nothing against it. So they cannot dislike the Fast Track so long as it automates the courts. What really are they objecting to? Just the name?

(c)    One inevitable consequence of their argument is that they have no objection to the Fast Track so long as it results in automating the courts. What they do not like is the way the Fast Track is producing the results by the use of guidelines or how automation is being carried out by the Chief Justice or the Judicial Service in the name of the Fast Track. The question is, which law sets how the courts should be automated? There is none.

(d)   Article 125(4) provides that the Chief Justice is the Head of the Judiciary and “shall be responsible for the administration and supervision of the Judiciary. It does not spell out how it should “administer or supervise the judiciary.” There is no law that sets out how the administration or supervision should be carried out. Who is Tsikata or his lawyer to decide for the Chief Justice how he should administer or supervise the Judiciary? And which law gives them the power to question how the CJ should administer and supervise the judiciary? If there is any law that empowers them to do that, they should name it publicly.

(e)    Reference is sometimes made to Article 159 of the Constitution, which reads as follows: “The Chief Justice may, acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial Council and with the approval of the President, by constitutional instrument, make regulations for the efficient performance of the functions of the Judicial Service and the Council under this Chapter”.

(f)     The most important points to note under this article is that it refers to “regulations for the efficient performance of…”

(g)    It does not spell out which regulations are covered by the article. There is no law anywhere setting out the decisions that should be treated as needing formal regulations under that article for the Chief Justice to comply with. Therefore he should use his discretion to decide when determining where he will need to make formal regulations under that article and where he     will have to treat any decision as administrative directive or direction.

(h)    The only condition for his decision is that it should be for the efficient performance of the Judicial Service and the Judicial Council. Every decision the Chief Justice takes should be for the efficient performance of the Judicial Service and the Judicial Council because no one expects him to take decisions that will run down his own department. It will be absurd for anyone to suggest that he should treat every decision as requiring a regulation under this clause and proceed to the Judicial Council. That would undermine the entire administration of the Judicial Service.

(i)      This really underscores the basic issues before the Supreme Court; namely, whether the Chief Justice in producing the Guidelines and in establishing the Fast Track Division of the High Court should have proceeded under Article 159 or was right in treating the decision he took as administrative instructions or administrative directions.

(j)     The Guidelines are not rules of court. If they were Rules of Courts, the Chief Justice is knowledgeable enough to have passed through the Rules of Court Committee under Article 157 of the Constitution. The Guidelines explain how the Rules of Court should be applied and that the Chief Justice in his capacity as the person in charge of the administration and supervision of the Judicial Service should be able to do. Each one of the Guidelines is rooted in the High Court Rules of 1954, LN 140A. If there is any rule in LN 140A should be applied, yet the lawyers in Tsikata’s camp point that out.  

(k)   Casts are awarded for any adjournment in all courts from the magistrates courts rights up to the Supreme Court. They are awarded as compensation for wasting the time of the opposing litigant when a case scheduled for hearing is adjourned at the instance of one party. That is why costs are not awarded for asking for adjournment in criminal cases because the individual cannot be made to compensate the State for time wasting. Award of costs against a defaulting litigant is not peculiar to the FTC.

(l)      As for adjournments being limited to not more than three days. If the users of the courts are to have their cases disposed of in six months, how can the cases be adjourned for weeks or months so that the old ways of doing things will be applied for the same outspoken critics to complain of delays in litigation? In any case, adjournments in law are subject to the discretion of the judge and if Tsikata and his lawyers will be honest to the public, all the cases in court now being tried are adjourned for more than three days. Therein lies the statement that the Guidelines are administrative instructions or guides in that breach of the Guidelines carry no sanction while breach of the High Court Rules will be visited by sanctions imposed by those Rules. It is because they are guides only that the users are instructed that wherever there is a conflict between the Guidelines and the High Court Rules, the latter should prevail. –The Crusading Guide 

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.President nominates Justice Afreh as Supreme Court Judge


Accra (Greater Accra) 11 March 2002 - President J.K Kufuor has nominated Justice Kwame Afreh for appointment as a Supreme Court Judge. This was communicated to Parliament by the Speaker, Mr Peter Ala-Adjetey at Monday’s sitting of the House. His nomination, if approved by Parliament, will bring the number of Supreme Court Judges to 11.

Justice Afreh’s nomination comes in the wake of a pending review being sought by the Attorney General on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that the Fast Track Court is unconstitutional.

An Appeal Court Judge, Justice Afreh was sitting as an additional High Court Judge at the Fast Track Court handling the Quality Grain case in which five former Government officials were standing trial for allegedly causing financial loss to state. He was put forward by the Judicial Council for consideration as Supreme Court Judge three years ago. –GRi Desk report.

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.Attempt to arrest Tsikata fails


Accra (Greater Accra) 11 March 2002 - The inter-denominational service at the Asbury Dunwell Church, in Accra, was nearly marred on Sunday when two policemen in mufti attempted to arrest Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

The action of the policemen, who were believed to have trailed Mr Tsikata to the church, disrupted the service for sometime, and compelled the head pastor, Rev Amoateng, and the elders to intervene. The leadership was said to have appealed to the policemen to allow Mr Tsikata to take part in the worship after which he would make himself available to the police. The policemen eventually left after that intervention.

Mr Tsikata said in an interview that soon after he arrived at church at about 10.40 am, an usher walked to him to inform him that two young men were looking for him. He said as soon as he stepped out of the chapel, one of the men walked to him and asked him whether he knew what was happening.

He said he recognized them as policemen because “they were often with the Director of Public Prosecutions and actively involved in the recent court cases.” Mr Tsikata said when he told the policemen that he did not know what was happening, one of them said, “we are to re-arrest you.” He said the policemen did not tell him why they wanted to arrest him, but only said to him, “we are acting on instructions.”

Mr Tsikata said he insisted that he could not accompany them out immediately because he was in church to worship. He said he assured them that he would make himself available to the police after the service, just as he always made himself available when criminal charges were levelled against him at the law courts.

“At a stage, one of the policemen stood at the entrance of the church to prevent me from entering,” he said. According to Mr Tsikata, the action of the policemen drew the attention of the pastor and his elders, who intervened and pleaded with the policemen that Mr Tsikata will make himself available to the police after the service.

Mr Tsikata said after the service, he contacted his lawyer, Prof E.V.O. Dankwa, who told him that he was informed on telephone that he (Mr Tsikata) would be needed at the Police Headquarters today.

Mr Tsikata, who was accused of willfully causing financial loss to the state, has battles against the government in the past two weeks. He first won a case he sent to the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the Fast Track Court. The Supreme Court ruled in Mr Tsikata’s favour by a 5-4 majority.

Last Friday, an Accra High Court upheld a preliminary objection raised by Mr Tsikata’s lawyers who argued that the charge leveled against their client was unconstitutional.

Reacting to the incident in an interview, Mr Kwabena Agyepong, government Spokesman said the government had neither issued instructions nor authorised anyone to effect the arrest of Mr Tsikata.

“This is a government that has tremendous admiration of and respect for the rights of the people and would therefore not condone or sanction the willful or unjustifiable infringement of the rights of anyone,” he stressed.

He indicated that government had commenced an urgent investigation into the matter in order to get to the bottom of it and thus positions itself to act appropriately based on factual and accurate information in its possession. – Daily Graphic.

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Akufo Addo should be charged with causing financial loss to the state

Accra (Greater Accra) 11th March 2002 - Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo who once contested President J.A. Kufuor for the NPP Presidential slot should be charged for causing financial loss to the state.

By the judgement of the Delta Foods case which had the former Acting President and still the Speaker of Parliament as their lawyer, the Supreme Court ruled that the Government should pay ¢45 million a day as an interest on judgement debt until the money is fully paid.

Ghana's Attorney General and Minister of Justice sought to overturn the judgement in an American Court but failed. In this wise Nana Akufo-Addo will not claim ignorant of the whole transaction. As at Sunday the debt owed to the Delta Foods was running to over $10 million.

The "Ghanaian Voice" has gathered that the NDC government, which is not known for such democratic credentials as the NPP had even paid part of the money to the Delta Foods including the legal fees of the Hon. Peter Ala Adjetey who was and still is the counsel for the Delta Foods. "Everyday that the money is not paid HIPC - Ghana continues to accumulate ¢45m a day as interest.” By not advising the government to pay the debt Hon. Akufo-Addo is doing disservice to his party and the state as whole. - The Ghanaian Voice

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The Attorney-General and the litany of legal blunders

Accra (Greater Accra) 11 March 2002 - "Better be unborn than untaught, for ignorance is the root of misfortune" Plato. The statement probably summarizes the situation in which presently our country finds itself in relation to what constitutes "the due process of the law."

It is this, which has resulted in the various negative reactions against some learned members of the highest court of the land since the decision in Tsatsu Tsikata's case was announced.

Since the justices of the Supreme Court are yet to give their views on the matter, it is the considered view of this paper that the comments, which have been made so far are a figment of speculation. Whatever way one looks at it, the ruling definitely has serious ramifications not only for the Judiciary but also the investment and economic agenda of the country.

But for us, our interest so far lies in how the state has lost so far to Tsatsu Tsikata. We are doing this to demonstrate to all that it is not the judges who must be blamed but the government itself working through the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

There is no doubt that the Attorney-General and his team has displayed such incompetence that the Attorney-General must bear full political responsibility and bow out before he receives the wrath of the President. It is surprising how the Attorney General and his team could commit blunders in relation to simple legal procedures since the principle of the rule of law involves procedural limitations.

But before indicating the procedural matters that we are complaining about, let us trace the genesis of Tsatsu Tsikata's case. Following a forensic audit report of the GNPC, it was discovered that Mr Tsatsu Tsikata allegedly circumvented laid-down corporate objectives of his outfit, when he by-passed the board and on his own committed the GNPC to guarantee a loan.  Tsatsu allegedly paid out this loan plus interest, which adversely affected the financial status of GNPC and caused a loss to the state.

Tsatsu first appeared before a Circuit Court where proceedings were artificially terminated. He was then arraigned before a Fast Track Court (FTC) on a charge for ‘Willfully causing Financial loss of ¢2.15 billion to the state.’

Tsatsu then filed a motion at the Supreme Court on February 11, seeking constitutional interpretation in respect of the FTC because in his view, the 'Constitution, in making provision for the administration of Justice did not establish any court known as FTC". He argued that since the FTC was not known to the Constitution, it could not try him.

By a majority of 5-4 the Supreme Court upheld the position of Tsatsu. However, the A-G immediately held a press conference and announced the government's intention to seek a review. In the meantime, he also the next day arraigned Tsatsu before another High Court where he again raised a question of the constitutionality or otherwise of the charge against him. This again, has been upheld by the High Court, which had Justice Ansah, an Appeal Court Judge sitting as an Additional Judge.

Having given the genesis of the case The Ghanaian Voice wish to bring the attention of readers to the following procedural blunders have been committed by the A-G, which has caused the government such an embarrassment if not total humiliation.

First:  The summons which ordered Tsatsu's appearance before the FTC was issued in the name of the President and not the Republic. How could it be forgotten that by the Courts Act justice must be exercised in the name of the Republic and not the President? Did the A-G's office not know that by summoning Tsatsu in the name of the President, the independence of the judiciary was likely to be compromised? How come that this could not be detected by the whole machinery of the office the A-G? Was the A-G expecting us to believe him when he said that this error could not be traced to his office?

Second: There has been inconsistency in the charges, which have been preferred against Tsatsu Tsikata. That is, charges against Tsatsu Tsikata have been changed for more than five times.

It started with a charge of (i) "willfully causing financial loss to the state," then to a charge of (ii) intentionally causing loss to public property", again to (iii) "carelessly causing loss to public property" and later changed at the Fast Track Court (FTC) for (iv) "causing financial loss to the state" and once again changed to (v) "willfully causing Financial loss to the state" before the FTC that has now been declared unconstitutional.

Third: The forum for trial has also been changed from the Circuit Court to the "illegal" Fast Track Court and now to a 'normal High Court". Fourth: That legal luminaries like the A-G and his Deputy could not contemplate the possibility of somebody challenging the constitutionality of the FTC's beats our imagination since as in law as in life all things are possible'.

Finally, the Voice thinks this is the mother of all the blunders - the inability of the prosecution to detect that the charge, which had been preferred against Tsatsu was illegal! The court in its ruling said that the law dealing with the offence allegedly committed by Mr Tsatsu came into force on July 6, 1993, but the statement of offence said that Mr Tsikata committed the act "in or about February 1993.

Listen to the trial judge "I must tell the Director of Public Prosecutions that, our laws are stable and under no stretch of imagination could in or about February mean July." What a shattering disgrace! No doubt a desperate and a last-minute request by the DPP to make an amendment to the charge, just before the court’s ruling was not entertained by the court.

It is in the light of the above that the paper is of the view that the only thing which must be done to save President Kufuor's government from receiving more legal blows and such technical knock-outs is to move Nana Akufo-Addo and his deputy from that place if they do not see the need to resign honourably. - The Ghanaian Voice

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.Court frees Tsikata


Accra (Greater Accra) 09 March 2002 - Mr Tsatsu, former Chief Executive of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), was on Friday discharged when he made his third appearance before an Accra High Court, on a charge of willfully causing financial loss to the state.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Julius Ansah, an Appeal Court Judge, upheld the preliminary objection raised by counsel for Tsikata, who argued that the charge levelled against his client was unconstitutional, when he first appeared before the court on March 1.

The court declared that the prosecution’s charge sheet is legally not acceptable. “The offensive charge sheet should be struck out, and it is, hereby, struck out. Mr Tsikata is discharged,” it ordered.

The court said the law dealing with the offence allegedly committed by Mr Tsikata, came into force on July 6, 1993, but the statement of offence said Mr Tsikata committed the act “in or about February, 1993”.

“I must tell the Director of Public Prosecutions that, our laws are stable and under no stretch of imagination could in or about February mean July,” said the presiding judge.

The court, however, maintained that it had the powers to deal with the matter, in respect of the objection raised by Mr Tsikata’s lawyers, and will, therefore, not refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation, as sought by the lawyers. The ruling was preceded by submissions by the prosecution and defence teams to strengthen their positions.

Ms Gloria Akuffo, Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, who first led the prosecution team, referred to previous sittings and said since Mr Tsikata did not enter a plea, the arguments by his counsel should be dismissed by the court.

“Legal arguments are not admissible before pleas are taken,” she added. Ms Akuffo said it is mandatory for the accused in criminal matters to enter a plea, and if the accused does not enter a plea, a plea of not guilty should be entered on behalf of the accused by the court.

She said Mr Tsikata’s stand of not entering a plea was an irregularity of proper arrangements before the court. Asked by the court why she replied to the arguments by Tsikata’s lawyers, if they were not admissible, Ms Akuffo said, “it is because we were compelled at the time”.

The court upheld Ms Akuffo’s submission and asked the court clerk to read the particulars of offence again and take Mr Tsikata’s plea. At his juncture, Mr Tsikata openly told the court that he could not plead to a charge which was unconstitutional.

The court, however, entered a plead of not guilty on behalf of Mr Tsikata. Prof. E.V. Dankwa, leading counsel for Tsikata, had argued that the application and submissions of the prosecution were not only unmeritorious, but also incompetent.

He said the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and if inconsistencies erupt between the Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code, it is the Constitution which prevails. Counsel said a plea by the accused was not an essential part of the arrangement, and that in this particular case, his client could not plead to a charge which was null and void.

Counsel described the prosecution’s application as “a ploy to cure a fundamental error in the charge”. He said, if the court grants the prosecution’s application, “we will be rewarding blatant violations of the Constitution, and we will be providing an incentive of future violations”.

A desperate and a last-minute request by Mr Osafo Sampong, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who later led the prosecution team, to make amendments to entertained by the court.

It would be recalled that counsel for Mr Tsikata, on March, 1, raised a preliminary objection to a charge of willfully causing financial loss to the state leveled against their client, when he was arraigned before court.

Prof. Dankwa had argued that the charge was unconstitutional, and urged the court to stay proceedings and refer the case to the Supreme Court for interpretation. The accused did not enter a plea. The court, however, granted Tsikata a 500 million cedis self-recognisance bail and fixed Friday for ruling.

The prosecution team declined to talk to the press after the court session. Mr Tsikata’s counsel also stopped short at saying “our client has been set free by the court”. – Graphic

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.Tsikata versus Attorney-General - delayed opinion causes confusion


Accra (Greater Accra) 08 March 2002 - The decision by the Supreme Court to give its decision on a case of such immense public interest and asking the public to wait twenty days before offering them the opinion that guided the decision has been diversely criticised. The disquiet has been due to the heated and partially informed discourse the case has generated.

In fact, the absence of the written judgement, especially the opinions of the majority, has meant that the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice’s application for a review is stayed until they are able to study the judgement after March 20. The situation has been described as “judicial limbo.”

People have wondered why the court rushed to give the decision when time was not of essence. In other common law countries, judges usually defer written opinions on decision when a delay may cause to invalidate the remedy sought, such as in abortion. Also, newspaper reports this week have speculated on suspicion of personal bias influencing the decision.

Admittedly, the Chief Justice has set to, what he calls, ‘minimise the mounting criticisms and persistent public outcry against the judiciary in our justice delivery and to restore public confidence.” Some detractors have even alluded to the fact of “regional imbalance.”

For example, whereas there is only one Ashanti on the bench, the Chief Justice, the Volta Region boasts of three judges, namely Messrs Adzoe, Kpegah and Adjaben. But, looked at from another view, the Akans have a preponderant representation in the persons of Bamford-Addo and Sophia Akuffo (Easter Region), Acquah (Western Region), Ampiah (Central Region), and other non-Akans, namely Atutuba (from the North) and Lamptey (Ga).

In an article to be published by The Statesman of next Tuesday, the author, Osei Bonsu, argues that the Supreme Court’s ruling of February 28 on the Tsatsu Tsikata case “appears to have put the Chief Justice in a dilemma, which may prompt him to rethink and amend his stance on empanelling of Judges on the Supreme Court on constitutional matters.”

He quotes S.Y. Bimpong-Buta, the foremost authority on Legal Interpretation, as saying that there had been “imaginary and unproved but disturbing allegations of political bias in the empanelling of the justices of the Supreme Court.” It was in recognition of this perception, Osei Bonsu points out, that Mr Justice E.K. Wiredu issued a practice direction that, “where practicable and especially in Constitutional matters, all available justices of the Supreme Court have a constitutional right to sit, or at least (7) justices of the court.”

Osei Bonsu writes that it should be obvious to the Chief Justice that his decision to request all nine available Judges to sit was a big gamble. It must be in light of this difficulty that the two Appeal Court Judges, namely Justices Afreh and Wood are slated for promotion. Osei Bonsu talks about the limited circumstances in which a losing party would be allowed to seek a review.

Quoting from the leading authority of Re: Krobo Stool (no 2), “it appears that counsel for losing parties are under the misapprehension that the reviewability of a matter is determined by numerical factors and that any decision of the court which is not unanimous must be subject to review.”

The delay in the opinions of the judges has opened up the judiciary to speculations and criticism. The practice of delayed opinions have come under sure scrutiny. Some commentators have argued that the judge’s stance is difficult to comprehend when they could only reach a decision based on the ratio from the opinions, which they are taking about three weeks to articulate. - Daily Graphic.

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.Luxury lifestyle of Tsatsu’s wife and pal


Accra (Greater Accra) 08 March 2002 - As the nation awaits the reasons the Supreme court have assigned for granting the relief sought by Tsatsu Tsikata, one-time Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), which has consigned the Fast Track High Court into oblivion, Public Agenda can reveal that Tsatsu’s newly wedded wife, Esther, and personal aid, Quincy Kwasi Sintim Aboagye, live in luxury in Texas, the Southern States of America, where US President George W. Bush was Governor until he made it to the White House.

Esther, former wife of Mr Kwasi Baah Boakye, one of President Kufuor’s recently sworn-in Ambassadors, owns a mansion at 5539 Woodland Glade Drive, Houston. She also has a private office block at 11111 Wilcrest Drive, Houston, Texas while Sintim Aboagye is the proud owner of a $1.4 million executive mansion with wife, Shirley, at 5203 Norborne Lane, Houston, TX 77069.

According to Public Agenda sources in the United States, Quincy recently moved from a home between Belt 8 North and Rankling in Houston. Both Tsatsu’s wife, (maiden name Esther Cobbah), former Head of Public Affairs of GNPC and Quincy flaunt their wealth openly, sources Agenda spoke to said.

Quincy has a fleet of three expensive cars in his garage at home. He drives around in silver metallic S-Class Mercedes Benz 600 valued at $70,000. He also owns a $56,000 light brown 1990 model Jaguar and a Lincoln Navigator (Sur) valued at $54,000, on the American car market.

Not too long ago, a Government announcement to grant Parliamentarians in Ghana $20,000 loan to each Member of the House generated an uproar. Most Ghanaians argued that in a highly indebted poor country like Ghana, it would be too much to grant such services to members of the august House.

Meanwhile, Agenda sources in the United States and Europe attest to the fact that Quincy, until recently a sole representative of GNPC in North America, is a regular visitor to Europe capitals like London, Paris, Berlin etc, on business trips. He is said to accompany Tsatsu on all official trips in Houston when Tsikata, one-time law lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, was Chief Executive of GNPC.

Public Agenda can confirm that Quincy Kwasi Sintim Aboagye was involved in acquisition talks with some Nigerian business partners for the acquisition of the Saltpond Oilfields. The acquisition could now be said to have stalled following the removal of Tsikata as Chief Executive of the GNPC and the loss of the 2000 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections by the national Democratic Congress.

A close ally of ex-President Jerry Rawlings, Tsatsu is alleged to be the brain behind almost all the atrocious laws passed by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). Analysts say, he was one of the main brains behind the crafting of the Transitional Provisions, which were virtually smuggled into the 1992 Constitution.

Under Clause 34 Sub Section 5: “It is not lawful for any court or tribunal to entertain an action instituted in respect of an act or omission against a person acting or omitting to act, on the instructions or authority of the Provisional National Defence Council or the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council or a member of the Provisional National Defence Council or the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council and alleged to be in contravention of any law, whether substantive or procedural, in existence before or during the administration of the Provisional National Defence Revolutionary Council.” – Weekend Agenda

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.Fast Track convicts cannot be released now - Judicial Secretary


Accra (Greater Accra) 08 March 2002 - Mr George Aryeetey, the Judicial Secretary on Thursday said it was only the courts that could order the release of the convicts of the Fast Truck Court and not the Attorney -General.

The Ghana News Agency reports Mr Aryeetey as dismissing calls for the immediate release of the convicts saying that this could only be done after the judicial review upheld the Supreme Court's ruling on the unconstitutionality of the courts. "Until this is done the status quo ante should prevail."

Mr Aryeetey said since the Attorney General had opted for a review nothing could be done at the moment, explaining that the call for a review was like an appeal, which when pending, a litigant could not enjoy his success in a case.

"It is like an appeal or a stay of execution and once a review had been initiated the matter is not conclusive to warrant any implementation." Mr Aryeetey said that even when the review goes in favour of the defendants prison officers could not simply release the convicts since they were sent to jail on committal warrant from the court and would need similar action from the court for their release.

The Judicial Secretary said that lawyers of the convicts could initiate procedures for the release of their clients if the ruling is upheld after the review.



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.Rawlings says Supreme Court ruling victory for democracy


Techiman (Brong Ahafo) 08 March 2002 - Former President Jerry John Rawlings on Wednesday said in Techiman that the Supreme Court's ruling on the unconstitutionality of the Fast Track Courts was a victory for democracy.

Former President Rawlings, who was speaking at meeting of National Democratic Congress (NDC) functionaries and supporters at Techiman, said it was a demonstration of the success of democracy in the country.

He said the change of government in the 2000 elections was a learning process for all Ghanaians as unfolding events had shown them the truth that the economic hardships were not caused by the NDC.

The Ex-President denied media reports that he had castigated Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama for his lack of punctuality, explaining that he was only apologising on behalf of his own group and the Vice-President's for their late arrival at the funeral of the late NDC Northern Regional Chairman, Alhaji Mahamadu Maida.

The Former President said the NDC would always stand by the truth and justice and urged supporters of the party to stand firm to be able to recapture power in the 2004 general election.



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.Chief Justice’s conduct amounts to breach of Constitution -NDC


Accra (Greater Accra) 08 March 2002 - The National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it would be inappropriate for the Chief Justice, Mr Edward Kwame Wiredu to sit on the review panel since he could not be a judge in his own court as "the Chief Justice swore to safeguard, protect and defend the Constitution.

"His conduct in breaching the Constitution by setting up unconstitutional and illegal court is extremely grave and serious and undermines his judicial oath". Alhaji Mumuni said the Chief Justice hit the limit of judicial propriety when he condescended to justify his position on radio while abandoning his colleagues, who had cause to disagree with him.

Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, NDC Parliamentary Spokesman on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, at a press conference on Thursday implored the government and those making provocative pronouncements on the ruling in the Tsatsu Tsikata's case to be careful not to create a situation where the populace will loose confidence in the judiciary.

There was "clearly a subtle and orchestrated campaign to cajole and intimidate the Supreme Court and the five majority judges in particularly in the run up to the review that the NPP (New Patriotic Party) government has applied for.

"We refer in particular to a statement by Mr Kwamena Bartel, Minister of Private Sector Development on the GTV breakfast show on Tuesday (March 5), and others by Mr Sam Okudzeto, a Former President of the Ghana Bar Association as well as statements on FM radio stations by lawyers from the former chambers of Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, the Attorney-General".

Alhaji Mumuni, who was flanked by some NDC MPs and Mr Kwaku Baah, Legal Adviser of the Party, said it was unfortunate that the five judges were being scandalised and subjected to verbal harassment by a section of the media that had compromised their objectivity and could not see that the judges were performing their judicial duties.

He said the; "NDC believes firmly that anyone, who has misappropriated state funds or causes unjustifiable loss to the state, whether yesterday, today or tomorrow, must face the law, but it must be before a constitutionally established court".

Alhaji Mumuni said the Government had directly interfered with the work of the judiciary by expecting all such persons put before the fast track court to be found guilty.

He said the Government has done that "by linking the court's decision to the alleged government conviction that people who have misappropriated state funds or caused unjustifiable loss to the state would not be allowed to go scot-free".

Alhaji Mumuni said; "the Supreme Court's decision was clear and lucid, it admits of no interpretation, it admits of no ambiguity, it only admits of compliance".

He said Nana Akuffo-Addo had boxed himself into a corner because "a review does not imply a stay of execution. "Until the review the decision of the Supreme Court stands especially as it is a declaratory judgement and takes immediate effect so that contrary to what Nana Akuffo-Addo says the ' status quo ante' does not remain".



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History of Fast Track Courts in Ghana


By Prof. Nana Kofi Pete, USA

Accra (Greater Accra) 7 March 2002 - Ghanaians love quick justice with a different flavour. A justice that will put an accused behind prison walls for a long time within the shortest possible time. When it comes to medicine, Ghanaians love antibiotics, and they sell it over the counter in their drug stores all across the country. On Sunday mornings, Ghanaians love drinking spots filled with omo tuo and big meat on their plates. They will eat and drink and talk about politics. This week Ghanaians are talking about the Fast Track Courts created by Attorney-General Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. It is very ironic that Nana Addo Dankwa's father, the late Justice Edward Akufo-Addo spent his time on the bench fighting against Fast Track Courts in Ghana notably, Nkrumah's Special Courts.

On October 30, 1961, the first Fast Track Court was created in Ghana. A special criminal division of the High Court was created to try offences against the safety of the State at the discretion of the President. Verdicts of this division were not subject to appeal. This court was paraded with political opponents of the CPP. Many of the fathers of present NPP leadership were thrown into jail by this court. Then on November 7, 1961, many of the opponents of the CPP were arrested all over Ghana to the 1961 Fast Track Court after the bombs exploded in Accra on November 4, 1961, damaging the statue of Nkrumah in front of Parliament House.

Soon Ghanaians were in a socialist frenzies as the CPP's eleventh congress met in Kumasi on July 1962 and adopted Nkrumah's "Plan for Work and Happiness." The aim of the plan was to create "a socialist pattern of society adapted to African conditions according to the principles of Nkrumaism." Then we heard the bombs again at Kulungugu August 1, 1962. Four weeks after Kulungugu, Nkrumah arrested Foreign Minister Ako Adjei, Information Minister Tawia Adamafio, and the Executive Secretary of the CPP, Cofie-Crabbe under the Preventive Detention Act and dismissed them from their posts, charging them with the Kulungugu incident. Soon Nkrumah hurried and created another Fast Track Court, called the Special Court on January 11, 1963, to hear cases involving crimes against the security of the state. There would be no appeal from verdicts. April 17, 1963 five persons were sentenced to be hanged for treason for the bombings of August and September 1962 by the Special Court. Ako Adjei and Tawia Adamafio shitted in their pants when they heard the news of appearing in front of the Special Court created by Nkrumah. On August 1963, the treason trial of Ako Adjei and, Tawiah Adamafio, Hugh Horatio Cofie-Crabbe, and two others began before the super fast track court of the 60's, the Special Court on treason cases.

In spite of Edward Akufo-Addo's opposition to Nkrumah, he was appointed to the Supreme Court. Nkrumah felt he could use Justice Edward Akufo-Addo against Ako Adjei in the Special Court for betraying the UGCC. So Edward Akufo-Addo was added to the judges in the treason trial of Adamafio and Ako Adjei in 1963. On December 9, 1963, Nkrumah learned the hard way. Chief Justice Arku Korsah delivered the judgment of the Special Court which acquitted Ako Adjei, Tawia Adamafio and H.H. Cofie-Crabbe of charges that they were involved in the attempt to kill Nkrumah in August 1962. Two other defendants were convicted and sentenced to death. Four months later, on December 11, 1963, Nkrumah dismissed all the justices who sat on the treason trial. Arku Korsah, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Akufo-Addo were sent home packing with their law books, and soon their office shelves were empty.

On September 28, 1966, another Fast Track Court was created by the Gen. Ankrah, Kotoka, and Afrifa led NLC. The Jiagge Commission was established to investigate assets of former members and officials of the CPP. Mrs. Annie Jiagge was a High Court Justice. The Jiagge Commission did to the CPP what the Special Court did to the UP/NPP. The NLC removed all chiefs enstooled during the Nkrumah period by the CPP, and on January 15, 1967, the Apaloo Commission charged Nkrumah for accumulating assets of 2,300,000 British pounds between 1951 and 1966.

In February 1970, Busia created a super and disguised fast track court which began a purge of the civil service. Renewal of appointments was denied to 568 (the "Apollo 568") persons who had served during the Nkrumah period. E.K. Sallah appealed to the courts against dismissal and won his case. Busia refused to reemploy him and shouted, "no court", "no court" until Busia lost his voice. J. H. Mensah rushed to offer Busia some water as he became so hot and running high blood pressure. Meanwhile Kufuor confidante, law professor, Ofosu-Amaarh was very critical of Busia's action and denounced the aliens compliance order in a famous law lecture he gave at Legon. Busia had fallen to the tribulations of Nkrumah versus the bench.

On January 13, 1972, Busia's reign of terror came to an end. Col. Kuti Acheampong announced to Ghanaians he had taken over the Republic of Ghana from Busia. It took Ghanaians six-months to know that their president's name is not Kuti but Kutu. What a country!!! On August 14, 1972, the NRC established the Aidoo Assets Commission which began investigations of the assets of Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia and the ministers in his government which included the present President Kufuor, and J.H. Mensah. This fast track court sentenced all the PP members guilty of corruption.

Soon Ghanaians rejected Union Government.

On June 4, 1979, Ghanaians saw another super-super fast track court created by Boakye Djan. In "Ghana and the Rawlings Factor" the author Kevin Shillington, published by MacMillan Press, 1992 wrote "it is very surprising that Rawlings was the only member of the junta who called for a proper trial for the defendants". But that call by Rawlings was rejected and soon he found the guns pointed at his head. That Super-Super Fast Track Court killed 3 former heads of state, and many received jail sentences over 150 years.

Twenty-three years later, Kufuor won the Ghanaian presidency. A new apollo 568 emerged. Rawlings sympathizers in the civil service were purged. A new Fast Track Court was built by Attorney-General Nana Akufo-Addo and paraded with political opponents. Malam Issa was sent to jail for the missing envelope that contained $50,000. Victor Selormey was the next victim for failing on a government project he awarded to his high school friend, Prof. Boadu in Texas. More lives were on line in the Quality Grain failed project and the bankrupted GNPC and Tsatsu Tsikata. Prof. Dankwa rushed to the Supreme Court to save more lives.


Will Attorney-General Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo do to the Supreme Court what Nkrumah did to his father, Justice Edward Akufo-Addo at the Supreme Court in 1963? – The Ghanaian Voice.

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Mumuni calls for release of all Fast Track convicts

Accra (Greater Accra) 07 March 2002- Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni, the Minority Spokesman on Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, has urged the Minister of Justice to take proactive initiative to release all convicts of the Fast Track Court. He said the continued detention of those convicts constituted the abuse of human rights and disrespect for the rule of law.

Alhaji Mumuni, who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on matters arising out of the ruling of the Supreme Court that the Fast Track Court was unconstitutional, said Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should not down play his role as the Minister of Justice.

He said just as his other role of an Attorney- General urged him to re-arraign Mr Tsatsu Tsikata so should his Minister of Justice spirit behove him to seek the rights of those convicts, who were victims of illegality.

Between now and the period of the review of the Supreme Court's decision, an illegality was being perpetrated and great injustice was being meted out to the victims, Alhaji Mumuni said.

Nana Akufo-Addo should be the last person to abuse the fundamental human rights of any Ghanaian since he is the Minister of Justice and an advocate of no mean stature of the rule of law, Alhaji Mumuni stressed.

He said the Constitution mandates the Minister of Justice to deal with all manner of people with justice and to ensure that no one suffers injustice from the hands of the law.

Alhaji Mumuni advised the Minister of Justice to bid his time and wait for the reasons to be adduced by the Supreme Court for its decision before talking about a review. "It is only on the facts or reasons for the judgement that the Minister of Justice can base his call for review. So why the rush?"

He said if the Minister was asking for restraint from lawyers and had in the same breath re-arraigned Mr Tsikata, then one could conclude that Nana Akufo-Addo had personalised the prosecution of Mr Tsikata.

Mr Doe Adjaho, the Minority Chief Whip, said the government's description of the Supreme Court's ruling "as strange", was sending the wrong signals to the people since it was creating the impression of a confrontation between the Judiciary and the Executive.

He said it was reminiscent of the; "No court! No court! Episode of the Busia regime"; adding "If Nana gets those now being kept illegally in prison out, he would be scoring some major points".


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No ‘Fast Track’ Court in ’92 Constitution’ – Tsatsu’s lawyer

Accra (Greater Accra) 07 March 2002 - Prof E.V.O. Dankwa, Counsel for Tsatsu Tsikata, former Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Chief Executive, has insisted that there is nothing under the 1992 constitution known as the ‘Fast Track’ Court.

Speaking in an interview on Joy FM, an Accra based radio station ‘Super Morning Show’ programme, Prof Dankwa said under Article 3 of the Transitional Provision, “the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court in existence immediately before the coming into force of this Constitution shall be deemed to have been established under this constitution and shall perform the functions of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court specified respectively in Chapter II of this Constitution.

He emphasized that “there was no ‘Fast Track’ Court.” Prof Dankwa conceded the fact that Parliament gives power for the creation of lower courts and as a result, Parliament had caused to be established Circuit Tribunals, Circuit Courts, Community Tribunals, among others. “Nowhere do we find a court known as ‘Fast Track’ Court that had been created by Parliament and so we asked ourselves, “what is this,” he underscored.

Referring to an alleged claim by the Attorney General that the ‘Fast Track’ court is a division of the High Court, Tsatsu’s counsel contended that, “if it is a division then it must be created in accordance with the provision of the Constitution on the establishment of the High Court.” He said that provision requires the Chief Justice to create the division of the High court and that the judges of such division must be known. “We must also know the subject area,” he insisted.

Prof. Dankwa made reference to a document from the Attorney General’s outfit which he observed, had only civil cases listed in it. “There is nowhere you could find that so-called division could try criminal cases”, he underscored, adding, “In any case, it is not even a document by the Chief Justice; it is a document with the Forward written by the Chief Justice and the content was written by other persons,” Prof Dankwa observed.

He stressed that the power of the Chief Justice to set up a division of the High Court is nothing he can delegate to other people “and so that is where it needs constitutional requirement.” When the station pressed further for him to substantiate his assertion that the document was written by other people, Tsatsu’s solicitor mentioned Brobbey and Ainuson.

Asked to differentiate between the ‘Fast Track’ High Court and the normal High Court as he said, with the common argument being that it is just mechanisation, Pro Dankwa said it was on the basis of the claim that it is a division of the High Court that he raised the question that “we don’t find it in the Constitution; we don’t find it in the legislation and we are told that it is a division.”

Komla Dumor, the host, further probed, “Now, the Supreme Court upheld your view and position but I believe as a practitioner, aren’t you concerned about the avalanche of cases set back by the decision?” In his reply, the solicitor quipped, “Will it not be better to deal with the consequence of those cases now than to wait until ten years, eight years, 12 years, for someone to come and say aah! What is this?”

To another question, Prof Dankwa said after the Supreme Court ruling, the case was pursued at the High Court the day after and again they raised a preliminary objection to the prosecution at that stage “because again, the charge is unconstitutional.” Expatiating further on this contention, Dankwa sited Article 19 Clause 5 of the 1992 Constitution, which states, “A person charged with a criminal offence shall be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence.

He explained that Tsikata was being charged for something he is said to have done in February 1993 when the law under which he has been charged was not yet into being. When told that some people had observed that he had been running circles around the Attorney General’s Department, Prof Dankwa intimated that he did not know how the A-G’s Department was run and could not really say that he met that description at all.

“I am a law teacher here (University of Ghana) and defending a client I have known for years and I put it that way that some consequences may flow from the defence of the client. But my main objective is to protect the integrity of the Constitution, after that is the interest of my client. The consequences which flow from the defence I put up for my client are consequences people affected should try and deal with,” he stressed.

Asked whether he is confident of the outcome of the review, which the government is asking for, Prof Dankwa said he did not see the need for a review. Tsatsu Tsikata had been charged with willfully causing financial loss to the State. – The Crusading Guide.

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Akufo Addo, go or be sacked

Accra (Greater Accra) 04 March 2002 - Nana Akufo Addo, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice should be the first casualty of the embarrassment which has been caused to the government by the declaration of the Supreme Court making the Fast Track High Courts illegal courts. In fact, Nana Akufo Addo who is the chief legal advisor of the government and who seems to have developed a penchant of disobeying court ruling should either be sacked or resign.

Case I: When the current government took over the administration from the NDC government, there was a Supreme Court ruling, which ordered that an amount of ¢40 billion should be paid to Delta Foods Company. In fact, Delta Foods Limited had the present Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Peter Ala Adjetey as their counsel.

Judgement was given in favour of Delta Foods Limited after a brilliant and eloquent presentation by counsel Ala Adjetey. As a result of the judgement, the former government started paying what was and is still due to Delta Foods Limited. Nana Akufo Addo since his assumption of office has flatly refused to order the payment of the legal debt to Delta Foods.

When judgement was even given in favour of Delta Foods also by a court in the United States, Nana Akufo Addo led a team from his office all the way to America to seek to overturn the ruling of the USA Court. But he failed. This means his attempt to even contest the case in the US court implied his recognition of the jurisdiction of the US Court.

However, in all these, it appeared that he had refused to brief members of government on this case to facilitate payments. The “Ghanaian Voice” has gathered that when the Senior Minister J.H Mensah was approached on the issue, he claimed that Nana Akufo Addo had not briefed him on the ¢40 billion indebtedness for payment to be effected. And currently, the debt is attracting a colossal ¢45 million a day in interest which is equivalent to ¢1.350 billion in a month and ¢16.2 billion in a year.

Case 2: Then comes his performance in relation to the Fast Track Court. He admitted in an open court that the procedure used in putting Tsatsu before Court was wrong. Strangely enough, he said that the mistake did not come from his office even though he is the chief prosecutor of the administration. This definitely is a blunder and he must take the political responsibility for it.

Again, his reaction to the decision of the Supreme Court is totally or wholly unacceptable. For one thing, he cannot complain about the so called marginal vote of 5-4 since it was the same margin, which was used to illegalise the celebration of 31st December as a public holiday. That is this paper is calling on Nana Akufo Addo to take full political responsibility for such abysmal performance and resign or risk being sacked. – The Ghanaian Voice.

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.Fast Track ruling touches on judicial nerves



Accra (Greater Accra) 04 March 2002 - On Wednesday, March 20, two weeks after the state of Ghana celebrates the 45th anniversary of the break with the British colonial masters, the nation will stand still to her the reasons behind the landmark judgment of Thursday, February 28 in which five Supreme Court judges against four, consigned the Fast Track High Court into oblivion.

Whatever reasons are assigned, especially by the five judges who upheld Tsatsu Tsikata’s submission, indications are that the decision to declare the setting up of the Fast Track High Court unconstitutional, has touched on raw nerves at the Justice Department. mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>

At the Supreme Court Building in Accra, which houses the registry of all the superior Courts of Adjudication- from the Appeal Court to the Supreme Court, tempers were virtually flayed by the judgment when the Public Agenda visited on Friday. A top official at the Judicial Secretariat, the paper spoke to tried very hard to restrain himself. But he was visibly angered by the decision to declare the Fast Track High Court unconstitutional.

“Those judges have done a great damage and disservice to the Justice system in this country of which they are serving. This (Fast Track High Court) was not something that was forced on us. It was something discussed and carefully planned before implementation stage. It involved all of us at the Department. The judges were never left out. If there is something wrong with it, they (judges) should have pointed them out long before the implementation stage. They should not sit there unconcerned before going to throw everything we have worked very hard for overboard.”10.0pt; mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>

The Fast Track High Court, the paper learnt, was inaugurated on March 30, 2001 after several months of planning. There are now three of such courts in Accra. Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Koforidua are penciled in for similar treatments. At the entrance to the registry of the High Court, the presence of the Fast Track Court is announced by an inscription on the first door to the right.

The Fast Track, part of the High Court’s been established to deal with Investors and Investment cases, Bank Cases: Specified Commercial and Industrial Cases, Election Petition Cases, Human Rights Cases, Defamation Cases, Revenue Cases ie IRS, CEPS, etc. Prerogative Writs and Criminal Cases.

Referred to in official documents as Fast Track High Court, its judges, like the High Court, could be drawn from high court judge to Supreme Court judges. “It is only a High Court where we have mechanised court proceedings. All that means is that the process frees the judge to concentrate on the case as opposed to the tedious process of putting down everything in long hand while listening to submissions at the same time,” a top official Public Agenda spoke to explained.

“We are in the age of technology. We in this part of the world are just trying to catch up with the developed world, technologically. Increases in population has obviously had a corresponding increase in court cases so the only way to deal effectively with the situation is to introduce technology which we did.”

Asked about how he felt about the judgment, this is how the official answered: “I feel very bad. All the judges have been part of the new phase we are giving to the courts. If there is something wrong, why did they not point out all this while? At worse, I thought they would only ask the judiciary not to tag the courts fast track. Something like the High court with Fast Track process, would have done perfectly. I think we have been stitched. It is an internal problem and we have to deal with it,” he asserted.

An official of the Attorney-General’s Department was obviously disappointed. “It is a shame that this judgment comes at a time that even laymen believe modernizing the courts is one sure route to effective justice. It is a bit disappointing but we are sure that a Judicial Review will set the records straight.”

In far away Singapore, where President Kufuor was preparing to travel to Australia for the Summit of Commonwealth Heads of State, he reaffirmed his government’s determination to press ahead with the mechanisation of courts in the country. He said fast tracking of our courts is one sure way of assuring potential investors that they could deal with litigation on the industrial front with minimum of delay.

The Minister of State for Media Relations Elizabeth Ohene told newsmen on the Presidential entourage that the President had instructed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo to seek the necessary review that would put the matter to rest.

At the Fast Track High Court Registry in the Supreme Court building, the mood was one of disappointment tinged with frustration. “We don’t know how ruling like these would lead the nation. It is one of my saddest days as a staff of the Judicial Service.”

Not all Ghanaians were unhappy with the decision though. Alhaji Muhammed Mumuni, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Kumbungu could not hide his glee. “The Fast Track Court is a Kangaroo court,” he told an Accra FM station.”

Coming from the NDC, he should have captured a better description for the Fast Track Court. Most Ghanaians above the age of 40 cannot claim ignorant of the kind of Kangaroo courts where those dispensing justice hid behind a screen and pronounced judgments on people most of whom were tortured as the so-called People’s Court pronounced them guilty. Politics and reasoning appear to have parted ways in this country. - Public Agenda

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.No easy way out in Tsikata case



Accra (Greater Accra) 04 March 2002 -"The law is what the judges says it is, not what the Constitution says", argues one veteran of the courts system, Nana Kofi Coomson, President of Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) and publisher of Chronicle Newspapers.


He was commenting on what should be done about the doom and gloom that hang over the decision of the Law Lords in favour of Mr. Tsikata's historic court case. Coomson recalled that he and his two other colleagues appeared before most of the judges that ruled on the Tsikata case.


His counsel, Professor Ofosu Armaah, had submitted that section 185 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1960 is inconsistent with the 1992 Constitution, which guaranteed free speech.


The section states that anyone who SAYS or writes anything whether in the privacy of his home or abroad which is likely - in the opinion of a judge or the Attorney General - to injure the reputation of the State (including The President or the Government) is guilty of a second degree felony.


"But by a majority decision, the judges ruled for what amounted to the criminalisation of speech, he said." That was a very bad judgement, but that immediately became law and prevailed until President J. A. Kufuor's Government outlawed it through an act of Parliament. Coomson said the ruling is disappointing and counter productive, but that is the law of the day.


He noted, however, that he is persuaded by points made by Hon. Kumbour, an NDC Member of Parliament (MP) who revealed that accused persons appearing before Fast Track courts did not have the same latitude with respect to time compared to the regular High Court.


"The rules may be the same, but I am uneasy when an accused is denied full opportunity to defend himself. I think every Ghanaian's human rights must be paramount, and as a strong believer in Human Rights, I believe that it is advisable to err on the side of accused persons.


I benefited from that, and I want to be educated on that aspect of the Fast Track court and why it is different from what pertains in the "unfast" track court."


He said the prosecution may have the upper hand in deciding when to press charges after they may have concluded their investigations, he observed.


Coomson, however, said that he is certain that Tsikata will not get away, because there are more cases, but the Attorney-General's office may have to be more thorough this time. "He can run but he can't hide".


On the challenges at the AG's office, Coomson revealed that he is aware that there have been proposals that private prosecutors should be hired to help out with the numerous cases that are pending where as many as 76 dockets have been prepared and ready for prosecution.


That has been shot down because the laws do not allow for the hiring of private prosecutors. I am told, for example, that Mr. Bright Akwettey, a lawyer and key prosecutor during the Rawlings era was consulted and given a few SSNIT related cases, but it did not go beyond consultations. The AG's office is seriously hamstrung and has been so for a long time.


"The Finance Minister must look at their budget and empower them and I think the rules or legislation regulating their mandate must be looked at again".


One the matter of the review, legal opinion is that not more than nine judges may be empanelled, possibly the same judges. It remains to be seen whether one of them may change his or her position after deeper reflections, a tough call since the judges had received written positions from both parties weeks before the hearing and eventual decision.


There are only 10 judges on the Supreme Court at the moment, the only absentee was Justice Lamptey. There have been suggestions that The Executive must pack the Supreme Court with judges that are sympathetic to the According to him, there are names that have been under consideration since the time of President Rawlings.


He explained that those nominees must go through the Judicial Council, the President and the Council of State before they are sent for vetting by Parliament, a long process that may be too late before a review goes through on the controversial matter.


But there are hawkish elements who are also pushing for packing the bench because the negative impact of the ruling would be too heavy and ultimately injurious to the national interest. - Ghanaian Chronicle


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.Okudzeto paints pix of chaos



Accra (Greater Accra) 04 March 2002 - The impact of last Thursday's legal upset in the famous Tsatsu Tsikata versus The Republic case has begun to dawn on the nation, as famously as the judgement in the famous Apaloo versus AGC case which sent stocks tumbling and investors scurrying to dump AGC shares.


Mr. Sam Okudzeto, one of the legal juggernauts in the country and past President of the Ghana Bar Association(GBA) painted a picture of gloom and doom when he pointed out that the ruling could send potential investors revising their plans for Ghana.


The country's legal environment, infamous for delays would not be helped by such a decision as investors would have a sense that legal disputes could still get mired in the courts for years as has been the case, and investors would be less enthusiastic about such a prospect at this time when the donor community has been helping with infrastructure to aid with the speedy disposal of cases.


The Fast Track Court system is the fastest in the disposal of cases, including commercial cases. Okudzeto explained that huge sums had been pumped into court modernization and computerization, and the judgement would be telegraphing the point that the country is not interested in moving forward in the development of the Judiciary.


Consequently, grants and other forms of aid from the donor community towards the development of the court system would not be forthcoming.


"This amounts to throwing out of gear the whole computerization process", Okudzeto lamented adding that the judgement should not be seen as a victory for any body."


More ominously is the revelation that the other downside of the judgement is the possible overturning of civil cases with the potentially crushing impact.


Cases have been disposed of where parties have recovered properties, received payments, paid fines, taken possession of assets, have had assets sequestered on the orders of the courts, some of them going back a year and more.


The renowned lawyer was speaking on a panel discussion on Breakfast Television last Saturday. One of the panelists, Mr. Kweku Baako, editor of The Crusading Guide revealed that some of the judges had had briefings on the computerization process in the courts and had even gone to support the process.


He recalled also that some of them had also appeared as witnesses in the Selormey case where they gave testimonies and expressed disappointment with the judgement.


Both Messrs Kwesi Pratt and Egbert Faibille, Editors of The Weekly Insight and The Independent respectively also appeared on the panel and held differing opinions on the subject.


In the opinion of the only lawyer on the panel Okudzeto, the failure of the judges to give reasons for their judgement has created more confusion, adding that if they haven't written their judgements yet they have an opportunity."


In a related matter, the issue of extremely slow nature the wheels of justice grinds in the law courts has been attributed to the phenomenon of judges taking notes by long hand. The mechanization of the courts is seen as one way out of ensuring a speedy resolution of justice.


One panelist, Mrs. Margaret Amoakohene, pointedly made the much touted point that "Justice delayed is justice denied" in supporting the argument on the prudence of the Fast Track Court, now abolished by the famous ruling since the mechanical recording of proceedings and equally fast production of court transcripts, aids enhance speedy resolution of legal cases. - Ghanaian Chronicle


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.Hello Selormey, hello Mallam Issa'



Accra (Greater Accra) 04 March 2002 - The legal strongman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Larry Adjetey is pondering his next move following Thursday's judgement that effectively outlawed the phenomenon known as the Fast Track Court. Should he move to get his colleague Mr Victor Selormey out of Nsawam now or wait?


"I have to study exactly what the ruling says and make a move that would be in the best interest of my client. That is what will guide our next move. We have not taken any decision yet, we have to get a copy of the judgement and study it."


Selormey was tried and convicted at a Fast Track High Court. Technically, he can walk out of prison a free man. But he could be re-arrested and detained for at least two days while a fresh docket is prepared and a fresh trial at a regular High Court is started.


The upside is that he can cool his heels and stay with his wife and family while the grinding wheels of justice grind. And then the sentence may he higher or lower. It is a toss up.


Ditto Mallam Issa was also tried and convicted in what has now been declared an illegal court. And two other fast track courts trying the former Finance Minister, Mr Kwame Peprah and five others on the Quality Grain case, have now ceased to exist. There will be no sitting at Justice Afreh's Fast Track Court on Monday as ordered by the judge Finito.


Mr Justice Amoono-Money also has no Fast Track Court to preside over in the case against Mrs Sherry Ayittey, Ralph Casely Hayford and others in the Ghana Rubber Estates affair. The effect of Thursday's judgement dissolves everything.


But the questions are beginning to engage the minds of people. Did the Supreme Court not show recognition to the Fast Track Court by referring a number of appellants to the Fast Track Court? Did Selormey and his counsel, Mr Ambrose Dery and his Mallam not seek guidance from Supreme Court after seeking leave from Mr Justice Julius Ansah's court to go to the Supreme Court?


And didn't Mr Sam Baddoo's court also grant leave of reference to the Supreme Court for interpretation? And were they not sent packing back to the Fast Track Court for the trials to resume?


The response to those questions are addressed by the specificity of the applications made to the Supreme Court. Mr Tsikata and his team went for the specifics, and punctured the bagaddacio of Nana Addo.


But not for long. As ultimate game-boy, Nana promptly conceded defeat and his respect and offered a re-match. Whether his political prefects would still back him through on this embarrassing set back could be a tough call as talk of his promotion rang on. - The Chronicle.


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.Reactions to Supreme Court's on ruling Fast Track Court



Accra (Greater Accra) 01 March 2002 - There have been mixed reactions to the Supreme Court's decision declaring the Fast Track High Court unconstitutional. While some of the country's legal brains welcomed the verdict, others described the decision as a blow to the government with serious ramifications for the judicial system. Mr Ebow Quarshie, immediate past President of the Ghana Bar Association, expressed surprise at the decision of the court.


He said the fast track court cannot be described as unconstitutional because it is a high court and the judges who presided were mostly Appeal Court judges who sat as additional high court judges.


According to Mr Quarshie, the court is so called fast track court because the proceedings are automated. Describing the decision as a terrible day in the legal process in the country, Mr Quarshie said the Supreme Court should have a policy of sustenance of the rule of law.


He said the decision has grave consequences for the legal system because orders and rulings of the fast track court will be declared null and void if the affected people initiate action to quash those judgments.


Mr Quarshie said the decision of the Supreme Court does not guarantee automatic release of those who were convicted by the fast track court, saying that " the convicts were committed to prison by warrant and they must initiate action to order to quash the decision of the fast track court.


A respectable retired justice who spoke on condition of anonymity said "I am shocked at the verdict even though I have not read the judgment." After all the fast track court is a division of the High Court, which the Chief Justice has constituted.


He wondered if the Chief Justice empanels a High Court to deal with commercial or land issues, it would be unconstitutional because it is not stated in the Constitution as Commercial or Land High Court.


On his part, Dr Obed Asamoah, immediate past Attorney General and Minister of Justice in the NDC administration, described the Supreme Court ruling as " a bold and courageous decision based on the merits of the case and one which represents a victory for the country's democratic dispensation".


He pointed out that in holding out that operations of the Fast Track Court is unconstitutional and thereby implying that all cases tried by it are null and void, the Supreme Court has demonstrated its independence and freedom as enshrined in the 1992 constitution.


According to Dr Asamoah, although the Chief Justice is empowered by the Constitution to constitute courts, he has to do so within the confines of the law, including article 13 (a) of the 1992 Constitution.


He stated that the creation of divisions of the High Court has to be followed with other clear-cut measures, including which areas of the law it would deal with, the appointment of specific and regular judges and its order to give legal effect to such an action.


"In the case of the Fast Truck Court these were not followed and this is why the Supreme Court in exercising its powers has rightly-declared as unconstitutional." He said, the ruling had vindicated the positions of many people who had hitherto held that the Fast Truck Court was an illegal body, which ought to be scrapped.


A private legal practitioner, Kwabena Akrasi Agyaben-Gyam, said the ruling would have far-reaching consequences for the country's legal system. According to him, the ruling has nullified everything that the Fast Track courts have done.


Mr Agyaben-Gyam explained that those convicted by the court can file an application for certiorari to have their convictions quashed. On the fact that reasons have not yet been assigned for the ruling, Mr Agyaben-Gyam noted that it has no effect on the ruling.


He noted that the reasons would serve as a source of reference for people who would want to quote authorities in future. He said the decision is immediately binding on all the lower courts.


Mr Kwasi Prempeh, Director of Legal Policy and Governance of the Centre for Development (CIDD), has explained that comments on the ruling now will be largely speculative while the effects could be mixed. He said the ruling may be good for development of constitutionalism, due process and judicial independence.


Alternatively, the verdict may destroy the very values that augur well for democratic practice. Mr Prempeh was not happy that the Supreme Court could not release its written judgments at the same time with the oral ruling.


He prayed that the court itself could have fast tracked its written judgment to help the public to have a more robust debate and informed opinion about the decision.


"The calling of a fast track High Court, only shows that the court is using installed case management system and technology that is designed to expedite the delivery of justice," he argued.


Any notion that "Fast Track Court is fundamentally unconstitutional is preposterous" and expressed the hope that it is not what the majority of the judges meant. Otherwise, there will be "a problem with the quality of constitutional literacy and competence of the court."


Mr Prempeh noted that reports from newspapers indicate that Mr Tsikata predicated his claim on two distinctive administrative or processing errors. These are the setting up of the fast track and charge preferred by prosecution. Mr Tsikata is claiming that the particular High Court trying him was set up to try non-criminal cases and so it did not have the jurisdiction to try him.


"On the face of it, there appears to be some logic to that argument, but since a high court is constitutionally a court of general (criminal and civil cases) jurisdiction, he wondered whether a special division of High Court can only exercise limited function or not. He agreed with Mr Tsikata that if the charge sheet read the President versus Tsikata then there was an error.


However, he wondered whether the errors are fatal from a constitutional standpoint. He argued that, "it is an established principle that if a Supreme Court can decide a matter on other legal grounds without invoking the Constitution, it ought not to invoke the Constitution. Therefore, the judges could have decided on legal grounds without reaching a Constitutional argument."


Unfortunately, "the court did reach the Constitutional argument, but has left us wondering what this all means" he asked. He contended that if on March 20, it turns out to be that administrative errors were the basis for the majority decision, it would send a message that public officers have to be meticulous in their work. They would have to learn that administrative negligence can be costly and can have constitutional implications and that is what Mr Tsikata sought to show.


He stated: "This may be a momentary psychological victory for Mr Tsikata because at the end of the day, the errors that might have caused the majority of the judges to rule in his favour are reversible errors." Mr Prempeh noted that this has been a positive step because unlike the previous time, the entire Supreme Court was empanelled to hear and decide the case. - Daily Graphic


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.Our Law Lords have spoken - Chronicle



Accra (Greater Accra) 04 March 2002 – Yesterday, Ghana's Supreme Court ruled that Fast Track Courts have no legal and constitutional basis of existence. This landmark ruling threw the whole nation into some controversy not because our law Lords erred in law, but because of the far-reaching implications of their ruling.


Five out of the nine judges that constituted the panel gave judgement in favour of Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, who had filed an interlocutory suit before the court on February 11, 2002 challenging the constitutionality of the Fast Track Court in trying him for crimes against the State. Our Law Lords have spoken, and all we can do is listen and obey them.


Our struggles and yearnings as patriotic sons of Ghana is to get, in the ultimate, all our various arms of government and institutions of governance working and working independently. Our feelings, our thoughts, convictions and prejudices, for now, are unimportant.


Our cry in the last twenty years has been for a judiciary that will not allow itself to be cowed by the Executive or any other force; a judiciary that will not be enticed by pecuniary or other reward.


Whatever the implications of this ruling, it is the hope of this paper that Ghana will move forward since none in this nation is greater than the law. This ruling will find some people rejoicing and others sad and disillusioned.


To those of us on the Chronicle, the victory or defeat is not one for any party or group; it is a victory, for our democratic process. In matters of the law, no one has all the answers.


The decision was a very close one but that is the rule or the game and we all have to come to grips with this grim reality. This country has come a long way since June 1983, when judges were murdered to send fear into their fold just for them to pervert judgement.


Twenty years down the lanes of our democratic struggles, we are realising that we need all our institutions of governance to be strong, healthy and vibrant. The result, to some of us, is this ruling in favour of a man who has been at receiving end of press attacks and public ridicule. But that is exactly the price to pay for being a public official.


While we all wait for our learned judges to give reasons for the judgement on March 20, 2002, we need to reflect on this landmark ruling and the realities of the systems of governance we have elected to pursue.


Whatever its defects, if there are any at all, it has a supreme benefit - the fact that it would be well-nigh impossible for one person or group of people to take this dear nation of ours hostage. To us on the Chronicle, this is our only hope and the basis of our existence and development as a people. – Chronicle


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.Tsatsu dares Attorney General for round two


Accra (Greater Accra) 02 March 2002 - Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) on Friday dared the Attorney General for round two at the Supreme Court when he appeared at an Accra High Court charged with wilfully causing financial loss to the State.

Before his plea could be taken, his counsel, Mr Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwah, raised a preliminary objection that the charge brought against his client was unconstitutional and asked that the matter be referred to the Supreme Court.

He said the act committed by his client was not an offence since it was committed in February 1993, whereas the law under which his client was purported charged came into effect in July that year.

Mr Dankwah said Article 19 clause five of the Constitution states that "a person shall not be charged with or held to be guilty of a criminal offence, which is founded on an act or omission that did not at the time it took place constitute an offence."

Mr Osafo Sampong, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who was being led by Ms Gloria Akuffo, Deputy Attorney-General, said the charge was constitutional and that it was not relevant to refer it to the Supreme Court for determination as the High could determine it.

After hearing submissions from both sides, Mr. Justice Julius Ansah, an Appeal Court Judge sitting on the case as an additional High Court Judge, said the court would take time to look into the matter.

He, therefore, granted Tsatsu a self re-cognisance bail in the sum of 500 million cedis to re-appear on March 5. The facts of the case were that the forensic audit ordered by government found that Tsatsu had circumvented laid down corporate objectives of the GNPC.

He allegedly by passed the board of directors of the corporation and committed GNPC to guarantee a loan of 5.5 million CFA French francs and 1.4 million French Francs with interest inclusive.

The loan was contracted from Caisse Francaise de Developpement, a French financial institution and given to Valley Farm, a cocoa growing company, of which GNPC owned 17.39 per cent equity shares, to rehabilitate some cocoa farms at Asin Manso in the Central Region and Nyakoman in the Western Region.

When Valley farm went distressed and defaulted in paying the loan, Tsatsu, without prior approval of the board of directors, was compelled to pay the loan as well as the interest totalling 6,919,123 French francs out of GNPC operational funds. This financial act of Tsatsu constituted a loss to the State.


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.AG directed to use all legitimate means to get Supreme Court verdict reviewed


Coolum (Australia) 02 March 2002 - The Government has directed the Attorney General's Department to use all legal means under the Constitution to seek a review of the Supreme Court's ruling on the constitutionality of the Fast Track High Courts.

Miss Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State, told newsmen about the government's directive at Coolum, where President John Agyekum Kufuor arrived earlier on Saturday (Australian Time) to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

She said the government was still committed to the computerisation and modernisation of the court system that had made the administration of justice slow. She said it was the government's firm conviction that anyone, who had misappropriated state funds or had caused unjustifiable loss to the State, should not be allowed to go scot-free.

Miss Ohene said government finds the ruling of the Supreme Court very strange because when the Chief Justice and his delegation met with President John Agyekum Kufuor in February, their main concern was the lack of resources to open up more Fast Track Courts to speed up the administration of Justice.

The Supreme Court by a majority of five to four on Thursday granted a motion brought before it by Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation challenging the constitutionality of the Fast Track Court (FTC). Five of the judges upheld the action, while four dissented.

The five, who granted the motion, were Mrs Justice Joyce Bamford Addo, Mr Justice A. K. B. Ampiah, Mr Justice F. Y. Kpegah, Mr Justice E.D. K. Adjabeng and Mrs Justice Theodore Adzoe.

The Chief Justice (CJ), Mr Justice Edward Kwame Wiredu, Mr Justice George Acquah, Mr Justice William Atuguba and Mrs Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo dissented.

The CJ, who read the brief judgment said: "by a majority of five to four, plaintiff's action succeeds, relief are hereby granted." The court, however, deferred its reasons for the ruling to Wednesday, March 20.

Tsatsu filed the motion at the Supreme Court on Monday, February 11 seeking constitutional interpretation in respect of the FTC because in his view the "Constitution in making provision for the administration of justice, does not establish any court known as FTC."

He argued that since the FTC was not known to the Constitution, it could not try him. Tsatsu, therefore, prayed the Supreme Court to ensure that on a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution, "any attempt to launch a prosecution in an unconstitutional forum must be prevented through the exercise of the powers of enforcement of the Constitution that are conferred on the Supreme Court."

A day after filing his motion at the Supreme Court, Tsatsu was arraigned at the FTC for wilfully causing financial loss of 2.15 billion cedis to the State.

He allegedly circumvented laid-down corporate objectives of his outfit, when he by-passed the board and on his own, committed the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to guarantee a loan.

The amount, 5.5 million French Francs was granted by Caise Francaise de Developpement, a French Aid Agency to Valley Farm, a private cocoa-growing company in which GNPC held initial equity shares of 17.39 per cent.

Distressed, Valley Farm defaulted in repayment of the loan and without prior approval of the corporation's board, Tsatsu allegedly paid out of its operational funds, the principal amount plus interest, all totalling 6,919,123. 23 French Francs.

This action of his, adversely affected the financial status of GNPC, hence a loss to the State. After Tsatsu has drawn the FTC's attention to his motion at the Supreme Court, the trial judge, Mr Justice Julius Ansah admitted him to a self-recognisance bail in the sum of 500 million cedis. He adjourned the matter to Monday, March 4 to give the Supreme Court the chance to determine the motion.


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.Counsel for Mallam Issah and Selormey react to ruling


Accra (Greater Accra) 02 March 2002 - Mr Ambrose Dery, Counsel for Mallam Yusif Issah, former Sports Minister on Friday said the best time for him to take any decisions concerning the Supreme Court's ruling on the Fast Track Court (FTC) would be after it had given its reasons.

Mr Dery, who was speaking in an interview, said the ruling of the Supreme Court as well as the reasons represented the law and should be respected as such. In view of this, anything said concerning the ruling should be done with a lot of care, since the reasons for the ruling had not yet been given.

Mr Dery said although he had already filed an appeal against his client's conviction, he would exploit all the provisions under the Constitution to speed up the appeal. Mr Johny B. Quarshie-Idun, Counsel for Victor Selormey, Former Deputy Minister of Finance, said the situation now had put his client in a much better position than he was formerly.

He said in his view, the FTC was too fast for the proper dispensation of justice since time was often needed to properly dispose of cases before the court. Mr Quarshie-Idun said as part of the principles of law it was better for 99 criminals to be freed than for one innocent person to be wrongfully jailed.

He said in his view this principle could be violated with the fast track system since the process was too fast for proper analyses to be made. Mr. Quarshie-Idun said he would make use of all the provisions under the ruling to the advantage of his client. He, however, would not reveal how he would do that now.             

Mallam Yusif Issa, former Sports Minister, was on July 20 convicted by the Fast Track High Court on two counts of stealing and fraudulently causing financial loss to the state.

Mallam Isa was found guilty of stealing 46,000 dollars meant for the payment of bonuses of players of the senior national team, the Black Stars, during a World Cup qualifying match in Sudan on February 25.

He was accordingly jailed for four years on both counts to run concurrently and ordered to refund the 46,000 dollars within two months or serve a two years' jail term. He appealed against his conviction and the term of imprisonment in default was quashed.

Serlomey was on December 10, 2001 sentenced to eight years' imprisonment with hard labour, when he was found guilty on two counts of defrauding the state by false pretences. He was fined 10 million cedis each on two counts of conspiracy. He was to go to prison for 12 months in default and the sentences were to run concurrently.

In addition, Selormey was to pay a fine of 10 million cedis each on two counts of wilfully causing financial loss of 1.3 million dollars to the state and in default to serve additional 12 months. The sentences were to run concurrently. The Supreme Court, however, ruled on Thursday that the Fast Track High Courts that tried them was unconstitutional and had no jurisdiction to try criminal cases.

The court by a majority decision of 5-4 gave the judgement in the case in which Tsatsu Tsikata, Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), challenged the legality and existence of the Fast Track Court. This was when he appeared before it on charges of wilfully causing financial loss to the state.


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.Legal Committee of NDC calls on Chief Justice to resign


Accra (Greater Accra) 02 March 2002 - The legal Committee of the National Democratic Congress on Friday asked the Chief Justice, Mr Justice Edward K. Wiredu to resign over a statement by the Attorney-General that he (CJ) set up the Fast

Track Courts.

A statement signed by Mr Kweku Baah, Chairman of the Committee, said the AG, Nana Akufo Addo, said at a press conference on Thursday that neither he nor the NPP administration set up the Fast Track Courts.

They quoted Nana Akufo Addo as saying that the process for setting up the courts were initiated in the NDC era and the Chief Justice established them. "Against this background, the NDC Legal Committee believes that the Chief Justice has engaged in a course of conduct that is both unconstitutional and illegal."

The statement said the Chief Justice swore to safeguard, protect and defend the Constitution. "His conduct is breaching the Constitution by setting up unconstitutional and illegal courts which is extremely grave and serious and undermines his constitutional oath.    

"For this reason alone, the Legal Committee of the NDC calls on the Chief Justice to do the honourable thing and resign." The statement said given the Attorney-General's revelation that it was the Chief Justice, who set up the courts, he should not have sat on the panel that decided the case "because it was his conduct that was called into question."

"He had set up unconstitutional courts and he proceeded to sit on the case to determine whether what he himself had done was constitutional or not. "There could not be a clearer case of conflict of interest or a person being a judge in his own cause than this one." The statement said the committee was of the view that Mr Justice Wiredu had an interest in the case.

"He did not want it determined that he had acted unconstitutionally in setting up the Fast Track High Courts. That is why he should not have sat on the case. For this reason also, we call on Chief Justice Wiredu to resign."

The statement said if for any reason he would or cannot resign his office, then he should decline to participate in any future proceedings involving the matter of the constitutionality and status of the Fast Track High Courts.

"In particular, we expect him to decline to participate in any review of the decision of the Supreme Court if the Attorney-General should proceed with his decision to apply for a review."

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Fast Track High Court was unconstitutional and had no jurisdiction. The court by a majority decision of 5-4 gave the judgement in the case in which Tsatsu Tsikata, Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), challenged the legality and existence of the Fast Track Court.


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.Tsatsu for High Court on Friday



Accra (Greater Accra) 01 March 2002 - Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), would be arraigned at a high court on Friday.

Reacting to the Supreme Court's ruling on Tsatsu's motion that the Fast Track Court (FTC), which was trying him was unconstitutional, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General said it had become necessary to try Tsatsu at another court.

Nana Addo said, even though, he respected the Supreme Court's decision, he disagreed with it. It was the same Supreme Court that dismissed the appeals of Mallam Isa and Victor Selormey and ordered that their trials should continue at the FTC, he said.

Nana Akufo Addo said his office was in the process of completing the necessary papers for a review of the court's decision, adding that should the review fail, the necessary legal steps would be applied to bring the process of the FTC into being.

He said the Chief Justice had the right to create a court to expedite action on the delivery of justice, and that in reality the FTC is a High Court. It was only a matter of distinction that the two words "fast track" were added to make it Fast Track High Court.

Nana Addo said the FTCs were not of the creation of the government, but the process for their establishment was started by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime. "I only inherited the process", he added.

Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Finance Minister and Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of

Private Sector Development flanked the Attorney - General. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Osafo Sampong and Deputy Attorney-General, Miss Gloria Akuffo were also present.


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Tsikata’s case - form triumphs over substance in chamber

There was nothing in the demeanor of the nine judges that gave a clue to the way they were going to rule after Prof E.V.O. Dankwa of the University of Ghana Law School gave a rather tortuous and unimpressive presentation for the better part of 75 minutes last Tuesday.

The venue was the stuffy interior of the Supreme Court buildings set close by the High Street of Accra, with tired giant fans caressing the air and making little difference to the room’s temperature.

The Chief Justice (CJ) Mr Wiredu, E.K. looked relaxed as always. Justice Kpegah, a veteran of the Supreme Court was pensive, as always. Justice Acquah appeared restless with the ding-dong argument of Prof Dankwa, whom the CJ fondly called ‘prof’, whenever he engaged him in a legal argument.

Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo appeared to have a lower tolerance threshold with the dueling, and betrayed a minimal snap in inflection as she pushed for direct answers to her lawyerly questions. On a number of occasions, she fanned herself with her fingers as the heat swirled around her.

It may have impacted on Mr Justice Acquah seated directly next to her. He had a more boisterous snap in his voice as he twirled his blue bic pen between his fingers. It appears blue bic pens were de rigeur for Supreme Court Judges.

If Mrs Joyce Bamford Addo was the only one who maintained elegant silence throughout - no questioning, no probing, no nothing. It may also be because she had a biro that was decidedly different. It was white. As white as her wig but not whiter than that of Mr Justice Atutuga’s. He was seated next to the more beefy Justice Adzoe, the latest entrant to the league of Supreme. Atutuga’s boyish countenance made one inquirer ask in hushed undertone, “who is that young man sitting in such auspicious company among those potentates?”

“Ssshh, that is Mr Justice Atutuga, and he has the power to change your destiny with the stroke of that thousand-cedi pen he is holding. On a still lighter note, the colour of the wigs or pens engaged my attention though they had nothing to do with Freedom and Justice. mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>

The Chief Justice’s wig stood out in its sober yellowness. It had no significance or bearing whatsoever on the outcome, which, when it came later, shook the firmament and changed the political temperature of the day.

At the end of the day, the whole argument bore down to what is a fast track court. At the Castle, the seat of Government, there was a sense of crushing defeat. Some officials described the verdict as a coup, and began worrying about the wider implications of Mr Tsatsu Tsikata’s temporary victory.

“What are we going to tell the President,” one officer asked rhetorically. The political orientation of the judges became a subject of discussion elsewhere. Cold comfort as judges can never be removed unless they are found guilty of corruption or reach retirement age. mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>

The impact is indeed huge and had already coursed its way to the international media. In a way, it could be interpreted with great difficulty to signify the consolidation of the growing perception of Ghana as a democratic country with an independent judiciary. mso-ansi-language: EN-US'>

But at the baseline the remarks of one of the Supreme Court Justices His Lordship Mr Acquah had a poetic ring about it when he pointedly told Professor Dankwa, counsel to Mr Tsatsu Tsikata that “there is form and there is substance.” The whole matter appeared to have been the triumph of form over substance. - The Ghanaian Chronicle. mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>

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.Parliamentary business slag by Supreme Court ruling


Accra (Greater Accra) 01 March 2002 - Parliament on Thursday had its share of the joy and pain that followed the Supreme Court ruling outlawing fast track courts in the country. 

Members of both the Majority and Minority had been uncomfortable with speculations on the judgment earlier in the day until 12 noon when most radio stations confirmed the decision of the Supreme Court.

Business in the house nearly suffered as members preferred the whispers on the most current news in town to the rather fading debate on the budget. Mr John Tia, NDC, Talensi, appealed to the chair to stop the whispering on floor and accused the majority of being the offenders

Papa Owusu Ankoma, Majority Leader, said the news making the rounds was a welcomed one for the Minority so the Majority could be doing the whispering. In a about an hour, Mr. John Mahama, NDC-Bole, made an unsolicited announcement on the ruling before his contribution to the debate on the budget.

Members of the Minority openly celebrated in the foyer and offices of the Minority with champagne while some of their counterparts in the majority argued their way out of the foyer, preferring the "exit" labelled doors to the sofas in the lobby.


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.Tsatsu wins case, Fast Track Court unconstitutional




Accra (Greater Accra) 28 February 2002-The Ghanaian Supreme Court has ruled in favour of former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Tsatsu Tsikata, who was challenging the constitutionality of the Fast Track High Court.

A nine-member panel of the Supreme Court including Chief Justice, Justice Edward Kwame Wiredu ruled 5-4 majority in favour of the former GNPC boss, who was being tried by the Fast Track Court for allegedly causing financial loss to the state. The court upheld the reliefs sought by Tsikata, but will give reasons for the judgement on March 20.

The ruling could have serious implications on the case involving a former Youth and Sports Minister, Mallam Yusif Isa and former deputy Finance Minister, Victor Selormey who were both tried at the Fast Track Court and jailed for causing financial loss to the state and also the ongoing Quality Grain trial of some former ministers and government officials.

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo is said to be confused about the ruling of the Supreme Court, which was very short. He is scheduled to address a press conference later today.

Legal experts say it is too early to make any substantive comments on the judgement since no reasons have been given by the court yet for the ruling. Observers however say the legal brains are confused since there seem not to be precedence in the country’s legal history.

The Chief Justice, Justice Wiredu is one of the four judges who voted against the dissented. Meanwhile, indications are that today's ruling has the potential of throwing the whole judicial system into some confusion and public criticism.

Meanwhile, NDC strongman, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni has been reported as describing the ruling as a indication of the position of the NDC minority in Parliament that the court is unjust and there is the likelihood of "a miscarriage of justice." - GRi desk report.

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