Justice Kpegah’s suit is “reckless”; ought to be dismissed as frivolous – Nana Addo

The Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in December 2012 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has filed a supplementary affidavit to support his claim that he was indeed enrolled on July 8, 1975, to practice as a legal practitioner in Ghana.

A letter dated April 12, 2013 and signed by the Administrative Secretary of the General Legal Council, Mr Bernard Bentil, has been forwarded as an extract from the records of General Legal Council.

The letter indicated that Nana Akufo-Addo had been called to the Ghana Bar.

According to Nana Akufo-Addo, he has been a lawyer of “good standing for the past 40 years” adding, that position was known in the records of the General Legal Council.

He has, therefore, described the instant action instituted by a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Mr Justice Francis Yaonasu Kpegah, as, “nothing but a reckless endeavour by the plaintiff to smear my reputation not only in Ghana but internationally, and ought to be dismissed as frivolous and vexatious with punitive costs.”

In a supplementary affidavit filed in support of his original April 3, 2013 affidavit which is seeking the High Court to strike out the suit accusing him of impersonation, Nana Akufo-Addo said the suit “smacks of mischief”.

The plaintiff, Mr Justice Kpegah, filed the suit on March 19, 2013, at the Fast Division of the High Court and accused Nana Akufo-Addo of impersonation.

His contention was that Nana Akufo-Addo was holding himself as a lawyer when his name was not on the roll of lawyers in Ghana.

But in a sharp rebuttal, Nana Akufo-Addo, filed an affidavit on April 3, 2013 and prayed the court to strike out the suit as “frivolous, vexatious, an abuse of the court’s process and disclosing no reasonable cause of action.”

The supplementary affidavit sworn by Nana Akufo-Addo on April 17, 2013, stated that on April 11, 2013 per his instructions, his solicitor, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, formally applied to the General Legal Council, for a certified photocopy of the extract from the Roll Book for July 8, 1975.

“That by a letter dated April 12, 2013, the General Legal Council furnished my solicitor, Godfred Yeboah Dame, Esq., with a certified photocopy of the full extract from the Ghana Roll Book for July 8, 1975. Attached herewith and marked as Exhibit “NADA 4” and NADA 4A” are copies of the said letter from the General Legal Council and the certified true copy of the extract.”

“That as simply demonstrated by the exhibits, I was admitted as Legal Practitioner in the Courts of Ghana on July 8, 1975,” the supplementary affidavit emphasized.

In the light of the exhibits, Nana Akufo-Addo stated that Mr Justice Kpegah’s claim that he (Mr Justice Kpegah) had caused a discreet investigation to be conducted on Nana Akufo-Addo’s status, “is patently false and smacks of mischief, since 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.”

To further buttress his claim that he was a recognized lawyer in Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo said he was the first son of the late Edward Akufo-Addo, former President of Ghana and was known to the whole world, “except apparently the plaintiff herein whose perception is blurred by mischief.”

“And as is apparent from the exhibits, I duly signed the Roll Book on July 8, 1975 together with the then Chairman of the General Legal Council, His Lordship the Chief Justice Samuel Azu Crabbe (of blessed memory) and the Judicial Secretary.

Attached to Nana Akufo-Addo’s supplementary affidavit as exhibits, are the letter from his solicitor which requested for a certified copy of the extract from the Roll Book, the response from the General Legal Council as well as the extract from the Roll Book.

The extract from the Roll Book include the signatures of Nana Akufo-Addo, the Judicial Secretary and the Chairman of the General Legal Council at the time.

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 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 practice law in any court of 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 was an illegal law firm and thus 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 Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from holding himself out as a lawyer competent to practice in the 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.

The statement of claim accompanying the writ of summons 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 practice 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, therefore, restricted himself to academia.

The statement noted that no lawyer in Ghana worth his sort could say that if you were called to the English Bar you could automatically practice in Ghana without being called to the Ghana Bar.

He is, therefore, praying the court to grant the reliefs sought but Nana Akufo-Addo has denied all the claims.

Source: Daily Graphic