GBA too dormant — Atuguba (April 14, 2015) Pg 53
A Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice William Atuguba, has criticised the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) for becoming docile in pursuing the national interest because of deep-seated partisan interests within the association.
According to the judge, in sharp contrast to what the situation was some decades ago when the “GBA was more politically colourless”, to the extent that even under military regimes its sting was felt, today the association had become aligned to political parties.
Mr Justice Atuguba said this at the 42nd Law Week celebration of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana yesterday.
“They spoke with closed ranks and I didn’t see any division and had a united and courageous front and they succeeded. At a certain stage the GBA went to the point of saying they would not comment on national issues and that was very negative. But now they are beginning to speak again,” he said.
The position of the GBA did not seem to please Mr Justice Atuguba, known more for his bluntness than his diplomacy.
“Look at the horizon of their expression on important national issues and see whether there has been uniformity or consistency,” he told the Law students.
He said the perception was what he gleaned from the media — a perception that he said was a general concern that traversed the media space.
A-G’s Department and the Judiciary
Mr Justice Atuguba, who was the President of the panel of judges during the 2012 presidential election petition, also took a swipe at the Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) Department and condemned the perceived rot within the Judiciary.
With the A-G’s Department coming under scrutiny and condemnation for the millions of Ghana cedis in the form of judgement debts that come out of the courts, he said the department had been napping on the job.
He observed that while in the past the A-G’s Department did not spare even ministers of state caught in the web of corruption, it was not the case today.
“The situation with the Judiciary is not too different; there is a deep-seated perception of corruption and even political partisanship,” he said.
While acknowledging that there had been quality justice delivery, particularly in the superior courts, he said a lot more needed to be done.
“The Judiciary has a big role to play and had done so tremendously in the recent past. But there has been substantial decline in its output in recent times. While things seem to be picking up, much has to be done by all actors to reclaim past vigour, standards and public approbation,” he said.