Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2012 general elections, has described as mischievous, claims by a retired Supreme Court judge that he is not a lawyer.
Justice Francis Yaonansu Kpegah, the retired judge and a leading member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), is claiming that Nana Akufo-Addo is ‘not entitled to practice law in Ghana,’ and therefore wants the authorities to close down the law firm Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co, established by the NPP 2012 candidate, which is arguably one of the best in the country.
Nana Akufo-Addo has already entered an appearance and filed a motion with the supporting affidavit, asking the court to strike out the action as ‘frivolous, vexatious, an abuse of the court’s process and disclosing no reasonable cause of action.’
As if that is not enough, the man, regarded by many as one of the best lawyers the country has ever produced, has filed supplementary affidavits attached with exhibits detailing his enrolment at the Ghana Bar.
In the supplementary affidavit deposed to by Nana Akufo-Addo himself on April 17, 2013, the revered lawyer averred that he had attached a certified photocopy of the extract from the Roll Book for July 8, 1975 when he was called to the Ghana Bar and said ‘that as is amply demonstrated by the exhibits, I was admitted as a legal practitioner in the Courts of Ghana on July 8, 1975.’
Nana Akufo-Addo said Justice Kpegah’s claim that he (Kpegah) caused a discreet investigation to be conducted about him (Nana Akufo-Addo) was ‘patently false and smacks of mischief.’
He said ‘the most cursory of investigations by the plaintiff would have revealed the undisputable fact that for almost 40 years I have been a lawyer in good standing known to the records of the General Legal Council of Ghana.’
He said he was the son of the late Edward Akufo-Addo, former President of Ghana, known to the whole world except Justice Kpegah because ‘his perception is blurred by mischief’.
He said ‘I duly signed the Roll Book on July 8, 1975 together with the then Chairman of the General Legal Council, His Lordship Justice Samuel Azu Crabbe (of blessed memory) and the Judicial Secretary.’
The letter written by the General Legal Council in response to Nana Akufo-Addo’s request of April 11, 2013 for certified copy of extract from the Roll Book was signed by Bernard Bentil, Administrative Secretary on April 12, 2013.
A note attached to the letter had the reference number GPC/V1603/ibk./4321./8/74 and was duly signed by the Judicial Secretary and Chairman of the General Legal Council.
On the attachment, J.B. Morison, Under Treasurer of the Middle Temple, endorsed Nana Akufo-Addo as having been enrolled in the Middle Temple and a member in good standing.
He said the instant action by Justice Kpegah was ‘a reckless endeavour to smear my reputation not only in Ghana but internationally, and ought to be dismissed as frivolous and vexatious with punitive costs.’
Meanwhile, Godfred Yeboah Dame, solicitor for Nana Akufo-Addo, has told Joy FM that it will be ‘worthwhile’ for Nana Akufo-Addo to take legal action against Justice Kpegah if the court finally confirmed that he is indeed a lawyer.
Mr Dame said Nana Akufo-Addo was a man of international repute who had served as Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, and Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
He said if Justice Kpegah had sought to ‘tarnish’ his client’s hard earned reputation, ‘I believe that it will be within his right to sue for defamation’.
However, Chris Ackumey, a member of the NDC legal team said he was convinced that Nana Akufo-Addo is a lawyer, and therefore called for calm to prevail over the issue.
By William Yaw Owusu