Thursday, 18 April

Supreme Court dismisses Dafeamekpor case against Akufo-Addo nominees' approval

Supreme Court of Ghana

The Supreme Court of Ghana has rejected an application submitted by South Dayi MP Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, contesting the approval of new ministerial and deputy ministerial nominees. 

Mr. Dafeamekpor's case questioned the legality of recent ministerial appointments, seeking the court's intervention to declare the president's authority to appoint ministers and deputy ministers without parliamentary approval as unconstitutional.

However, the Supreme Court dismissed Mr. Dafeamekpor's application, affirming the President's constitutional prerogative to make such appointments.

During proceedings on Wednesday, 27 March 2024, it emerged that the plaintiff's lawyers did not accept certain court documents, including the notice of hearing and the Attorney General's opposition to a temporary court order.

Chief Justice Gertrude Torkonoo, presiding over the bench, noted that the plaintiff's lawyer, Nii Kpappo Addo, instructed staff not to accept any documents from the Supreme Court.

Despite this, the documents were left with the plaintiff's lawyer's staff, prompting Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame to assert that this action was disrespectful to the court. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court proceeded with the temporary court order application after confirming the proper filing of documents.

NDC tackles CJ over alleged case scheduling bias

Hours before the court's decision, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) raised concerns over perceived judicial bias in the prioritisation of political cases by the Supreme Court. 

The party criticised the Chief Justice's decision to give precedence to Mr Dafeamekpor's case over an earlier case challenging the anti-gay bill filed by Mr Richard Dela Sky.

According to the NDC, Mr Sky's case challenging the constitutionality of the Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024, filed two weeks before Mr Dafeamekpor’s case questioning recent ministerial nominations, should have been heard first. 

Despite this timeline, the court scheduled to hear Mr Dafeamekpor’s case first.

In a statement, NDC's General Secretary, Mr Fifi Kwetey, argued that the scheduling undermines judicial independence and suggests bias towards the government. 

Mr Kwetey alleged that the delay in hearing Sky's case is a deliberate move by the Chief Justice to stall the anti-gay bill.

The NDC accused the Chief Justice of manipulating case scheduling to favour the government, reinforcing public perceptions of judicial bias.

“Given the recent political deadlock that these two legal suits have created between the executive arm and the legislative arm of government, one would have expected that the date of filing of the cases would have informed the timing of their hearing by the apex court", Mr Kwetey argued.

Yet, he noted, "for some strange reasons, the case of Hon. Rockson Dafeamekpor, which was last in time to be filed, has been hurriedly listed for hearing, while that of Richard Dela Sky, which predated the Dafeamekpor case by two weeks, has not been listed for hearing at all". 

"This is in spite of the fact that no application for abridgement of time has been filed by any of the parties in the Dafeamekpor case,” h

Mr Kwetey pointed out.

In the view of the biggest opposition party, “It’s quite apparent that this is a ploy by the Chief Justice to fast-track the determination of the suit filed by Hon. Rockson Dafeamekpor while the determination of the Richard Dela Sky suit is deliberately and unduly delayed, to enable the President to shelve the crucial Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill that has been passed by Parliament."

“The arbitrary exercise of administrative discretion by the Chief Justice, particularly in the scheduling of cases in the Supreme Court, goes to fortify the high perception of bias on the part of the judiciary. Such judicial manipulations go to confirm the growing public perception that the current Chief Justice is a pliant accomplice and abettor of the misrule of the despotic Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government,” the NDC observed.