Politics

I don’t think Mahama understands the judicial system – Sam Okudzeto on call for new CJ

Former President of the Ghana Bar Association, Sam Okudzeto, has said that former John Dramani Mahama does not understand Ghana’s judicial system.

His comment comes on the back of Mahama’s call for a new Chief Justice to restore the dwindling public confidence in the judiciary.

In an interview on Upfront, a programme on Accra-based Joy News, Sam Okudzeto jumped to the defense of the judiciary stating that it should not be denigrated.

According to him, a denigration of the highly respected arm of government will lead to a breakdown of law and order.

He indicated that the constitution has made provisions for addressing myriad of grievances brought against the judiciary.

Sam Okudzeto said the Chief Justice for instance has no hand in written judgments of judges adding that corruption tags against judges also had remedies in addressing it.

“I don’t think he understands the judicial system. The Chief Justice does not tell the judges the kind of judgment he should write. If you have evidence of corruption, you are supposed to send it to the Chief Justice and he is mandated under the Constitution to have an inquiry made.

“He cannot brush it aside and forget about it. Against the Chief Justice, you send it to the president. A person of that high level should understand what the Constitutional process is and not just make a sweeping statement which will undermine confidence in the whole institution. Lack of confidence in the whole institution will mean people should take the law into their own hands,” he said.

Background

Addressing lawyers of the National Democratic Congress last month, former President Mahama said public confidence in the judiciary had eroded.

He said people mocked the phrase ‘go to court’ as a result of the gradual bias that has been ascribed to the bench.

Mahama said it will only take a new Chief Justice to charter a path of restoring public confidence in the third arm of government as it attempts to repair it ‘broken image’.

“There is therefore the urgent need for the Ghanaian Judiciary to work to win the trust and confidence of the citizenry, and erase the widely held perception of hostility and political bias in legal proceedings at the highest courts of the land.

“Unfortunately, we have no hope that the current leadership of our Judiciary can lead such a process of change. We can only hope, that a new Chief Justice will lead the process to repair the broken image that our Judiciary has acquired over the last few years,” Mahama said.

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