General News of Thursday, 3 December 2015
Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho cannot be said to have committed a high crime by refusing to swear the presidential oath of office when he stepped in as acting president when both the president and vice-President were out of the jurisdiction, former Attorney General Nii Ayikoi Otoo has said.
“I don’t think he committed such a high crime…he gave a wrong interpretation and he’s been put on the right track,” Mr Ayikoi Otoo told host of ‘Point of Law’ on Class91.3fm, Godwin Agyei-Gyemfi on Thursday December 3, 2015.
Ghana’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Mr Adjaho, erred when he refused to take the Oath of Office as president.
The court has directed that the Speaker of Parliament takes the oath anytime both the president and his vice are abroad.
This verdict was given by Justice Sophia Akuffo, who chaired a nine-member panel to determine the case, which was filed by US-based Ghanaian legal practitioner Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare and Chief Executive Officer of Citi FM, Mr. Samuel Atta-Mensah.
The panel unanimously ruled that the Speaker’s refusal to take the Oath of President on November 4, 2014 was in breach of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
Mr Doe Adjaho told Members of Parliament, at the time, that it was not necessary to repeat an oath he had taken when he was sworn into office.
Article 60 (11) and (12) of the 1992 Constitution states that: “(11) Where the President and the Vice-President are both unable to perform the functions of the President, the Speaker of Parliament shall perform those functions until the President or the Vice-President is able to perform those functions or a new President assumes office, as the case may be.” “(12) The Speaker shall, before commencing to perform the functions of the President under clause (11) of this article, take and subscribe the oath set out in relation to the Office of President.”
Asked whether Mr Adjaho did not commit treason for which he should be held accountable, Mr Ayikoi Otoo said: “Now he’s been told that he erred and that what he did was wrong. In future he must take it, if he says no, fine.”
“…So, I mean anybody can err and if he errs in his interpretation for which reason the individuals went to court and the Supreme court has given a direction, I think it should be it. It happens all the time, It is when you flout and refuse to obey the direction after the interpretation has been given, that I think” the high crime comes in, Mr Ayikoi Otoo said.