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Kpegah Sues Akufo-Addo


Justice Francis Yaonasu KpegahKpegah Sues Akufo-Addo

Justice Francis Yaonasu Kpegah, a retired Supreme Court judge, who was a leading member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) Legal Team, has filed a suit at an Accra Fast Track High Court claiming that New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate in the December 2012, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is “not entitled to practice law in Ghana”.

The retired judge wants the authorities to close down the law firm Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co, established by the 2012 NPP presidential candidate, which arguably is one of the best in the country.

The firm, no doubt, has distinguished itself in the field of law and is credited for churning out exceptional lawyers including Attorney-Generals in Ghana.

This writ is likely to stoke another heated debate and further raise the already charged political temperature, as Nana Akufo-Addo’s lawyers prepare to challenge the retired judge’s claims.

The claim, coming from Justice Kpegah, was strange, especially since Nana Akufo-Addo might have appeared before the Lord Justice severally times without raising a voice when he was at the Bench.

Justice Kpegah, who acted briefly as Chief Justice following the death of Chief Justice George Kingsley Acquah, was very active for the NDC Legal Team in the days of the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills presidency, but appeared to be sidelined when he claimed the President did not listen to his advice.

Reliefs Sought

The controversial retired judge is seeking “a declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of the General Legal Council Act, Act 38 of 1960 (as amended), unless a person is called to the BAR in Ghana and his name entered in the Roll of Lawyers by the body mandated under the said Act 38 to regulate the training and certifications of persons after a prescribed course of study, that person cannot be deemed competent to practice law in any court of Ghana.”

He also wants “a declaration that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s name is not on the latest edition of the Roll of lawyers in Ghana (1877 to February 1997)”.

Furthermore, Justice Kpegah wants “a declaration that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is not entitled to practice law in Ghana.”

He wants a further “declaration that the law firm established as Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co. at Adabraka, Accra, is an illegal law firm and therefore not competent to represent any party in litigation before any court in Ghana.”

As a result, Justice Kpegah wants a perpetual injunction retraining “the said Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from holding himself out as a lawyer competent to practice in the Ghanaian courts or anybody regarding him as such.”

He wants another order “directed at the said Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is really the most senior or dominant partner in the said law firm to close down the said law chambers immediately and a receiver manager appointed by this honourable court.”

Statement of Claim

In his statement of claim filed just yesterday, Justice Kpegah said, “The plaintiff is a citizen of Ghana by birth and a retired Deputy Chief Justice who has sworn an oath to uphold the constitution and laws of Ghana at all times.”

He said upon the demise of Justice Acquah sometime in 2008, he ‘automatically’ assumed the functions of the Chief Justice because he was the most senior on the bench and by the provisions of the General Legal Council Act, assumed the chairmanship of the council.

“The plaintiff became suspicious of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo because his name was not on the roll of lawyers in Ghana and yet he was being given audience in the courts,” he averred.

“When the plaintiff caused a discreet investigation to be conducted, it was revealed that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was never called to the Ghana Bar, but rather one W.A.D Akufo-Addo was called to the Middle Temple in the United Kingdom on July 22, 1971 and on the roll of lawyers in Ghana as No.1190,” he further claimed.

Justice Kpegah claimed that before Nana Akufo-Addo was appointed by former President J.A. Kufuor, which made him leader of the bar in Ghana, his name was not on the roll of lawyers in Ghana.

Plaintiff averred that “former President J.A. Kufuor and his government knew or ought to have known that the name of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was not on the roll of lawyers and therefore it was illegal to appoint him as the Attorney General who by the provisions of the 1992 Constitution must be a lawyer in good standing.”

He alleged that Nana Akufo-Addo “never signed the Matriculation Book at the Law School” which is evidence of enrolment in an institution and added that Nana Akufo-Addo “is not known to have ever changed his name.”

He further said that “Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has not been installed anywhere in Ghana within the meaning of the 1992 Constitution and the Chieftaincy Act.”

“Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is impersonating W.A.D. Akufo-Addo who is on the roll of lawyers as No. 1190,” Justice Kpegah claimed.

He said that Nana Akufo-Addo claimed that he obtained his early education in Ghana before proceeding to the United Kingdom to obtain his ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level certificates after which he studied Economics at the University of Ghana.

He claimed that Nana Akufo-Addo returned to the UK to read law and was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in the same year as No. 1190 on the roll of lawyers in Ghana.

Justice Kpegah said Nana Akufo-Addo’s father Edward was also a member of the Middle Temple and added that Nana Akufo-Addo “never took advantage of the provisions of the General Legal Council Act which enabled people like R.J.A Staley Harvey QC of Gray’s Inn who was called to the English Bar in 1947 but was specifically called to the Ghana Bar in 1972 to enable him to practice in Ghana.”

Justice Kpegah also claimed that “former President Kufuor, who claims to have read law in Oxford, has not been called to the Ghana Bar and therefore keeps a respectful distance from the court.”

He also cited Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi whom he claimed “has not been called to the Ghana Bar and therefore restricts himself to academia.”

He said that there is no law in Ghana which says that once you are called to the English Bar you can automatically practice in Ghana without being called to the Ghana Bar.

Nana’s Response

Interestingly, as at the time of filing this report, the writ had been copied to the various media houses but the supposed defendant, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was once Ghana’s Attorney-General, was not yet served with the processes.

When contacted, lawyers for Nana Akufo-Addo confirmed they had not been served and were looking forward to getting the process to counter the retired judge’s claims.

However, after filing the suit, Justice Kpegah rather advised everybody to refrain from commenting on the suit which he said “will prejudice the outcome of the case.”

By William Yaw Owusu

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana



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