General News of Thursday, 1 February 2024
A US-based Ghanaian lawyer and scholar, Prof Stephen Kwaku Asare, widely known as Kwaku Azar, has stated the brouhaha surrounding a supposed order by Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo for the arrest of a police prosecutor, Akolgo Yakubu Ayamga, is casting doubts about the integrity of the apex court of the land, the Supreme Court.
In a post shared on Facebook, on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, Kwaku Azar indicated that it is shocking that no record of the said incident can be traced even though it happened during court proceedings at the Supreme Court of Ghana.
He added that the general public has the right to know exactly what transpired between Chief Justice Torkornoo and Yakubu Ayamga, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).
“The public has a right to know if, and why, Ayamga was arrested and detained at the Supreme Court.
“Moreover, if he was arrested and detained, why did the registrar state that (i) there was no written record; (ii) there was no audio or video record due to “power fluctuation”, (iii) he was not arrested, as alleged by Ayamga, a lawyer and senior police officer?” Azar quizzed.
He added, “The arrest and detention were publicized in the media on 15th November 2023. So the registrar’s averments, if indeed he made them, raise severe concerns. These are public interest questions bordering on the credibility of Supreme Court proceedings”.
Meanwhile, ASP Akolgo Yakubu Ayamga, a senior police officer and lawyer, has dragged the Chief Justice to the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
He has accused CJ Gertrude Torkornoo of abusing her office and powers after she ordered his arrest during a sitting of the apex court in November 2023.
In a detailed rejoinder to the media reportage on the issue, Ayamga explained a sequence of events leading to his arrest, an action he explained was “influenced by a rush of anger, prejudice, and malice on the part of the Chief Justice, constituting an abuse of judicial power.”
He explained further that checks showed that his arrest during a formal session could not be found in the court’s records which in his view constituted a deliberate cover-up of the true sequence of events.
In the last paragraph of his rejoinder, he confirmed having reported the CJ to CHRAJ.
“CHRAJ is independent and fair constitutional and reasonable ombudsman to investigate abuse of power and cover-up by public officers. I have therefore lodged a complaint to the Commissioner of CHRAJ to investigate the abuse of power and cover-up by Her Lady the Chief Justice,” his rejoinder concluded.
Ayamga’s version of events:
According to Ayamga, the incident unfolded during his presentation of a case before the Supreme Court, where he respectfully, boldly, and fearlessly presented his arguments.
However, a remark by Chief Justice Torkornoo, stating, “You are shouting,” interrupted his presentation, leading to an order for him to resume his seat.
The disagreement escalated after the Chief Justice allegedly made offensive remarks, questioning Ayamga’s competence and professionalism. In response to these remarks, Ayamga asserts that he calmly and respectfully disagreed, prompting the Chief Justice to order his arrest.
Ayamga was promptly arrested by a subordinate police officer, escorted outside the courtroom, and unlawfully detained for about two hours, according to his account.
Ayamga contends that his arrest had nothing to do with his disagreement with the Court’s judgment, as initially reported in the media. He argues that a mere disagreement with a judge’s off-judgment disrespectful remark should not warrant an arrest, stressing that he submitted to the arrest without obstruction.
“Presumptions aside, a respectful and fearless disagreement with off judgment remark of a judge is not a criminal offence to trigger arrest and detention. The arrest was unconscionable, irrational, unfair and without due process from the perspective of a reasonable, fair-minded and informed independent person.
“The arrest was merely influenced by a rush of anger, prejudice and malice aforethought which constitute impropriety or abuse of prestige judicial power by the Chief Justice,” the prosecutor stated in his rejoinder.
View Azar’s post below:
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