Justice Anin Yeboah. INSET: Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie and Tsatsu Tsikata
National Democratic Congress (NDC) lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata has singled out for attack and tongue-lashing, Justice Anin Yeboah, one of the nine Supreme Court Justices who sat on the election petition, accusing the jurist of allowing his political affiliations to cloud his judgment.
Justice Anin Yeboah. INSET: Tsatsu Tsikata AND Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie
Mr. Tsikata said Justice Anin Yeboah who was among the minority side that thought the petitioners had a case, consistently took an opposing stance against the NDC?s arguments and positions, as far as the case was concerned, from the onset ? which he said did not surprise him.
But the New Patriotic Party (NPP) General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie popularly called Sir John, had asked Tsatsu to shut up and leave the judiciary alone.
Justice Anin Yeboah, according to the NDC lawyer, was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President John Agyekum Kufuor of the NPP, tagging him as an NPP judge.
Mr. Tsikata expressed his concerns when he spoke on TV3?s ?Hot Issues? programme hosted by Kwesi Pratt on Saturday.
Asked by Pratt if he was surprised that three of the nine Judges consistently voted against the respondents in three of the six pleadings of the petitioners as far as the final verdict of the case pronounced on Thursday was concerned, Mr. Tsikata said: ?I?ll tell you very frankly that it didn?t surprise me that Justice Anin Yeboah was consistently in that group.
?I mean he has been consistently against even the NDC being joined as a party and consistently in Court, I mean, it was quite clear that he was taking positions against everything that was put forward from our side. I mean, there was a very consistent way,? Mr. Tsikata observed.
He noted that: ??Again I think that we all understand that the judiciary is made up of human beings. They have their own political ambitions and in his [Justice Anin Yeboah] case, he was appointed as a Judge by President Kufuor. He probably still has a certain loyalty to the cause of [Mr. Kufuor]?.
Strangely, Mr Tsikata did not mention the regimes that appointed the other judges on the panel.
Some of the judges on the panel were equally appointed by the Kufuor administration and they still voted against the petitioners, raising suspicion about Tsatsu?s accusations.
Some analysts were of the opinion that Mr Tsatsu was only spreading his personal hatred for the erudite judge and trying to infect others with it.
Responding to a question about whether a Judge?s political affiliation should matter when taking decisions on issues before the court, Mr. Tsikata said: ?It should not, but I?m giving you a frank example in a situation where it seems to me like somebody like that [Justice Anin Yeboah] really did not take up what I will call a truly balanced judicial posture in relation to the matters that were before him. And I say that very frankly, but I believe that that is an observation that one can make and we do recognise as lawyers and as law teachers particularly, we do recognise the ways in which sometimes decisions are affected by some of these personal prejudices and positions.?
Adducing further anecdotal evidence to support his allegations against Justice Anin Yeboah, Mr. Tsikata recalled that: ?I gave you an example in relation to my own case.
Again Justice Anin Yeboah, he sat in the Court of Appeal. He gave a decision. It?s in the reports ? you can go and read it ? in which, you know, against the position that I had taken that the IFC, International Finance Corporation ? is not immune from the jurisdiction of the Courts of Ghana. He gave a decision asserting an immunity and in asserting it, all he relied on was the statement of the immunity of the International Monetary Fund, a different organisation.
?I mean it?s in black and white. He read, you know, an article from a statute which is about the International Monetary Fund and he read it to apply to International Finance Corporation. I mean you don?t do that but he did, in my case, and again in that case, there was no doubt in my mind about his political convictions being the driver of the decision,? Mr. Tsikata noted.
According to him, ??I think we need to uncover them in order to correct them also, because Judges should not, indeed, let political partisanship be the determinant of positions they take?.
Shut Up- Sir John
The NPP General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie took issue with Tsatsu for his uncharitable remarks about Justice Anin Yeboah.
In a fiery response, the NPP General Secretary described Tsatsu Tsikata?s attacks as baseless and an attempt by him and his party to commence a campaign against the judiciary.
There were numerous instances during the trial where an 8-1 ruling was given by the court in certain matters and never was there an instance where Justice Anin Yeboah was the only dissenting judge, he said.
?If going by Tsatsu Tsikata?s logic, Justice Anin Yeboah was appointed by Kufuor and as such owes his loyalty to NPP, then what do we say about the four judges who decided that no irregularity occurred in the 2012 elections to warrant a nullification of the tainted votes?? Sir John asked.
He went on: ?Again, if I?m to go by Tsatsu?s logic, did Justices Atuguba, Gbadegbe and Akoto Bamfo, who decided that no infraction took place in the December 2012 election and that the petition was without merit, did so because they were all appointed by the NDC under President Rawlings and late President Mills??
Sir John further intimated that if Justice Anin Yeboah was truly biased in favour of the petitioners, he would have upheld and not dismissed the petitioners? claims on duplicate serial numbers, unknown polling stations and polling stations with same polling station codes.
He advised the NDC to call its ?hawks? to order as their continued attacks on the judiciary were not helpful.
Sir John wondered why Tsatsu Tsikata did not make his comments during the trial but waited till the case ended.
?The consistent attacks on the third arm of government by functionaries and surrogates of the NDC must cease. It is not helpful for our democratic dispensation to always tag a judge as belonging to one political party or another. It must stop,? Sir John added.
The Supreme Court, in affirming the declaration of NDC?s candidate John Dramani Mahama as the winner of the country?s closely fought 2012 presidential election, made what they described as a clerical error.
The court had admitted in a statement on Friday that there was an error in the ruling delivered on Thursday.
Justice William Atuguba, president of the panel, named Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie as one of the judges who dismissed the case of voting without biometric verification?one of the electoral irregularities cited by the Petitioners.
The same judge was also on record to have upheld the voting without biometric verification irregularity, making his position difficult to determine.
A day after the verdict, the Supreme Court quickly corrected the ?clerical error? affirming that ?Atuguba, Adinyira, Dotse, Gbadegbe and Akoto-Bamfo, JJSC dismissed the claim relating to voting without biometric verification.
??Baffoe-Bonnie JSC grants the claim of voting without biometric verification, cancels the votes involved and orders a rerun of the areas affected.?
With the correction, four of the judges, Anin Yeboah, Rose Owusu, Julius Ansah and Baffoe-Bonnie were deemed to have upheld the Petitioners? claim of voting without biometric verification, bringing the decision to 5-4 in favour of the Respondents, instead of the 6-3 (in favour of the Respondents) as earlier announced by the presiding Judge.
The nine-member panel dismissed the petition brought by three leading members of NPP, namely Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, alleging widespread statutory violations, irregularities and malpractices in the election.
A DAILY GUIDE Report