General News of Sunday, 7 April 2013
The 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has entered appearance, through his lawyers, in the case in which a retired Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Francis Yaonasu Kpegah, is challenging the former’s qualification as a lawyer.
Mr Justice Kpegah filed the suit at the Fast Track Division of the High Court on March 19, 2013 and accused Nana Akufo-Addo of impersonation.
The plaintiff’s contention is that Nana Akufo-Addo is holding himself as a lawyer when his name is not on the roll of lawyers in Ghana.
By entering an appearance, Nana Akufo-Addo seeks to affirm that he has a defence to put up to clear his name.
One of the lawyers for Nana Akufo-Addo, Mr Frank Davies, confirmed to the Daily Graphic that he had entered appearance in court on Nana Akufo-Addo’s behalf on March 25, 2013.
In the substantive suit, Mr Justice Kpegah 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 (as amended) to regulate the training and certification of persons after a prescribed course of study, that person cannot be deemed competent to practise law in any court in Ghana.
He is also seeking a declaration that the law firm established as Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co at 67 Kojo Thompson Road, Adabraka, Accra, is an illegal law firm and, therefore, not competent to represent any party in litigation before any court in Ghana.
The former Supreme Court judge is pleading with the court to grant a perpetual injunction restraining Nana Akufo-Addo from holding himself out as a lawyer competent to practise in Ghanaian courts or anybody regarding him as such.
In a statement of claim accompanying the writ of summons, the retired judge also accused former President John Agyekum Kufuor of complicity when his government knew or ought to have known that Nana Akufo-Addo was not on the roll of lawyers but appointed him as Attorney-General and Minister of Justice who, by the provisions of the 1992 Constitution, must be a lawyer in good standing.
It also indicated that Nana Akufo-Addo never signed the matriculation book at the Ghana School of Law, which was evidence of enrolment in an institution.
According to the plaintiff, the defendant was not known to have changed his name, neither had he been installed anywhere in the country within the meaning of the 1992 Constitution and the Chieftaincy Act.
According to the statement, the defendant was impersonating W.A.D. Akufo-Addo, who is on the roll of lawyers as number 1190.
It said claims by the defendant that he obtained his early education at Government Boys’ School and later Kinbu before proceeding to the UK for his Ordinary and Advanced Level certificates implied that he obtained his Ordinary and Advanced certificates in the UK.
It said Nana Akufo-Addo returned to the UK to read Law and was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) as Number 1190 on the roll of lawyers in Ghana.
The statement averred that the defendant never took advantage of the provisions of the General Legal Council Act which enabled people like Mr R.J.A. Stanley Harvey of Grey’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 practise in Ghana.
“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 courts,” the statement said, adding that Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, who had not been called to the Ghana Bar, restricted himself to academia.
The statement noted that no lawyer in Ghana worth his salt could say that if you were called to the English Bar you could automatically practise in Ghana without being called to the Ghana Bar.