Dr Dominic Ayine Warns Oppong Nkrumah Stop Inciting Supreme Court Against Him
Former Deputy Attorney General, Dr Dominic Ayine, has accused Information Minister-designate Kojo Oppong Nkrumah of “always” seeking to “incite” the Supreme Court against him in his post-trial commentary to journalists in the ongoing election petition in which former President John Mahama, the petitioner, is challenging the results of the 2020 presidential polls.
Dr Ayine’s complaint follows a chastisement of him by Mr Oppong Nkrumah after Tuesday’s hearing, in which the Ofoase Ayirebi MP of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) accused the Bolga East MP of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) of “scandalising” the Supreme Court by suggesting that there was a “predetermined agenda” to rule against his client, Mr Mahama.
After the court ruled against Mr Mahama’s application to reopen his case on Tuesday, Dr Ayine told journalists: “The Supreme Court asked itself a question, which we deem as a wrong question and answered that question. It said: why does the Chairperson need to account to the people of Ghana when she’s not a party to the suit”.
“Now you’ll recall that counsel made it clear that one of the reasons we are in court is because of the unconstitutional conduct of Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa as the returning officer under the Constitution and it is not true that there is only one issue that needs to be determined in this matter”, the lawmaker said.
He continued: “I am surprised that the Supreme Court itself, having set down five key issues to be determined, is now reducing the issues to one, which is whether and extent to which the evidence that we have led, shows that no one got more than 50 per cent of the votes in accordance with article 53 of the Constitution”.
“But we have made it abundantly clear in the petition that there were a number of infractions”.
“We are contesting even the constitutionality of the declaration that was made. We are saying that she violated article 23 of the Constitution because she’s an administrative body”.
“We have also said her exercise of discretion was contrary to article 296 of the Constitution”.
“These are all germane issues under the Constitution and laws of Ghana and to reduce the petition into a single-issue petition, is rather unfortunate and smacks of a predetermined agenda to rule against the petitioner in this matter”.
Reacting to his comments, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said: “It is not fair to the judicial system, it’s not fair to our democracy, it’s not fair to the people of Ghana that when you lose an application because it is not grounded in law or because you’ve failed to meet the legal standard, then you come here and literally poison the minds of the public and make claims that they may be having a predetermined agenda. That’s scandalous of the court”.
“When you make a legal argument and it is upheld, that one is good; when you make an argument and it doesn’t meet the threshold, then it means that they are wrong in law or that they have a predetermined agenda”.
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“The Supreme Court has not reduced the petition to a single issue. We tried our best to transcribe the ruling and we’re waiting for the written version of it. The court said that the major issue, it didn’t say there was a single issue before it…”
Mr Ayine has, however, taken issue with his fellow lawyer and lawmaker’s counter-comments.
“I must say that I am severely disappointed in the honorable Kojo Oppong Nkrumah. I am a senior lawyer to Kojo. Kojo should not take to always seeking to incite the court against me, as if I do not know what I am saying”, he complained in an interview with Accra-based Starr FM.
First of all, he pointed out, “as a former Deputy Attorney General and a senior person at the bar, I know what it means to scandalise the highest court of the land”, insisting: “I have had no intention whatsoever of scandalising the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ghana”.
“If I came across as having said that the court is in cahoots with the respondents; that, I will apologise and withdraw”, he noted, explaining: “But the reason I said that is because that is what the respondent has been telling the media”.
Dr Ayine continued: “Now, tell me: is the duty of the respondent to evaluate the evidence brought by the parties or it is the duty of the lawyers, spokespersons to say that your petition is empty even when they are commenting on the merit?”
“Kojo Oppong Nkrumah should know that he has been violating the sub judice rule on a daily basis. He has always been preempting outcomes of the courts saying: ‘The petition is empty’, ‘it does not discharge the burden the proof and so on’. Does he know that is a violation of the sub judice rule and that he should be hauled before court for commenting on the merit of the petition?”
Dr Ayine said he would not be surprised if the court admonishes him for his comments. “I will not be surprised and the court is entitled to take a position on it or express disappointment on it – even go as far as committing me for contempt”.
“I won’t begrudge them”, he said, “but that honestly wasn’t meant to disparage the court or bring its reputation into disrepute”, he clarified.
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