The General Legal Council once confirmed that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2012 general election, is indeed a qualified lawyer.
The General Legal Council’s confirmation formed part of the exhibits attached by Nana Akufo-Addo in response to a suit filed against him by a retired Supreme Court justice and a leading member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Justice Francis Yaonansu Kpegah, that the NPP candidate is not a lawyer.
The letter confirming Nana Akufo-Addo as a qualified lawyer had been written in October 16, 2007, when he first filed his nomination to contest as the NPP’s presidential candidate for the 2008 election and could not find his certificate.
The letter had nothing to do with Justice Kpegah’s instant suit and was only being used as defence by Nana Akufo-Addo to disprove the plaintiff’s claims.
The letter signed by E. Bart-Plange Brew, Acting Administrative Secretary on behalf of the Secretary, General Legal Council said “I certify that Mr. William Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo was enrolled and called to the Ghana Bar at a meeting of the General Legal Council held at the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building on Tuesday, 8th July, 1975.”
It continued: “I have been informed of the loss of Mr. William Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s Qualifying and Enrolment certificates. This note, therefore, serves to confirm his enrolment.”
The Chief Justice chairs the General Legal Council.
As if that is not enough, the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in England has also written to confirm that Nana Akufo-Addo is a lawyer who went through their institution and has paid all his dues.
A letter written on April 5, 2013, and signed by the Under Treasurer, Middle Temple, said “These are to certify that William Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo BA of Ghana University and of 162 Ambassadorial Enclave, East Legon, P.O. Box 207, Accra, Ghana, was specially admitted to the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple on the thirteenth day of January one thousand nine hundred and sixty-nine and called to the degree of the Utter Bar on the twenty second day of July One thousand nine hundred and seventy one and published in the common Dining Hall of the said Society on the same day and that he hath paid all Duties which were owing by him to the Society and the Officers thereunto belonging.”
“In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and the seal of the said Society this twenty second day of October in the fifty sixth year of the Reign of Our Gracious Sovereign Lady, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain Northern Ireland and of her other Realms, Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, and in the Year of our Lord Two thousand and seven.”
Justice Kpegah is claiming that Nana Akufo-Addo is “not entitled to practise law in Ghana,” and also wants the authorities to close down the law firm Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co, established by the NPP 2012 candidate which arguably is one of the best in the country.
But Nana Akufo-Addo has not taken kindly to the retired justice’s claims and has responded sharply to the suit describing the claims as not only frivolous and vexatious but one unworthy of hearing by the High Court.
He said Justice Kpegah should be punished for his frivolities in instituting the action.
In an affidavit deposed to by Nana Akufo-Addo himself on April 3, he said what Justice Kpegah is seeking to do is an abuse of the court’s process and had also not disclosed any reasonable cause of action.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, “the plaintiff’s action fails to canvass facts necessary to form the basis of any issue worthy of a proper hearing by this Honourable Court.”
W.E.D versus W.A.D
“In one part of his pleadings (paragraph 5), plaintiff alleges that I am impersonating one W.E.D. AKUFO-ADDO who was called to the Middle Temple on 22nd July, 1971 and is also on the Roll of Lawyers in Ghana as No. 1190. That in another part of the same pleadings (paragraph 11), plaintiff alleges that the person I am impersonating is not W.E.D. AKUFO-ADDO but rather a certain W.A.D. AKUFO- ADDO who is also on the same Roll of Lawyers with the same No. 1190.”
He said “I cannot be impersonating two persons with the same number on the same Roll of Lawyers in Ghana, and the instant action is demonstrably frivolous and founded on mischief.”
He said the plaintiff concedes the fact that he, (Nana Akufo-Addo), was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in the same year as the person(s) bearing the no. 1190 on the Roll of Lawyers in Ghana, that he (Kpegah) claims he was impersonating.
The William Factor
He averred that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and William Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo are one and the same person and added that “I studied Law in England and was consequently duly and specially admitted to the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple (one of the four (4) Inns of Court in England) on 13th January, 1969 as William Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”
“On 22nd July, 1971, after passing the English Bar examination, I was duly called to the Utter Bar of the Middle Temple and have since been a properly qualified member of that Honourable Society, as admitted to by Plaintiff in paragraph 15 of his statement of claim. Attached herewith and marked as Exhibit “NADA 1″ is a copy of a certification from the Under Treasurer of the Middle Temple,” he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo said “by virtue of paragraph 15 of his statement of claim, plaintiff is aware that I am a Member of English Bar (Middle Temple), and therefore ought to know that the name in which I was called to the English Bar was William Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The fact that I, in my professional life, have been referred to as Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has not created any act of impersonation of any person.
He said on returning to Ghana, he undertook the post-call law programme required of lawyers who have qualified abroad and after passing the relevant examination adding “I was duly called to the Ghana Bar on 8th July, 1975 as William Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”
Nana Akufo-Addo said since 1975 when he was enrolled he had always “been a lawyer in good standing and was even appointed validly to the office of Attorney-General of the Republic in accordance with Article 88 of the Constitution and other laws of Ghana.”
He said “the mere fact that in my law practice, I choose to be called Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo does not mean that I am impersonating anybody and accordingly, the Plaintiff has in his pleadings, failed to make out a case fit and proper for the consideration of this Honourable Court.”
Ace Anan Ankomah, a legal luminary, said when one was called to the bar, the person received two certificates.
“The first is the Qualifying Certificate in Law issued by the General Legal Council, under section 13 of the Legal Profession Act, and the other is the Certificate of Enrolment issued by the Judicial Secretary under section 6. Under section 3 of the Act, you need the former to obtain the latter. The latter, the Enrolment Certificate, merely evidences that a person’s name is on the Roll of Lawyers. When I was called, I did not receive my enrolment certificate that day. I got it after a couple of months, but I was still allowed to practise during that time, because upon the call, my name was entered in the Roll of Lawyers, and it was that entry in the Roll of Lawyers that matters, not the paper evidence of the entry!
“It is not the certificates or your continued keeping or loss of them that allow you to practise law in Ghana. Rather it is the fact that you have qualified and that you have been enrolled,” he wrote on his Facebook wall yesterday to kill the mischief about Nana Addo’s law certificate.