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Opinions of Monday, 19 February 2024

Columnist: Mensah Thompson

The disbarment of Neequay-Tetteh, is govt trying to resurrect a dead ‘ghost’

Mensah Thompson Mensah Thompson

The disbarment of lawyer Neequaye-Tetteh a Chief State Attorney, twelve (12) good years after the Woyome saga is something that has left a lot of people wondering.

What’s even more remarkable is that the General Legal Council decided to issue a statement, specially carved to give oxygen to an already skewed perception fuelling the wrong reportage that ensued afterwards by media reporters without sharing the actual report or the judgement of the Council and giving the people the opportunity to scrutinize the work of the GLC in respect of this particular matter.

Then the issue of representation, fair hearing and natural justice also arose as insiders tell us how skewed the GLC was in handling this matter.

It was almost as if the GLC was set out to achieve one goal in mind, and therefore anything that undermined the achievement of that targeted objective was excluded or never considered in the hearing.

First it was the witness statement and closing address of the respondent Lawyer Neequaye-Tetteh which conspicuously could not find its way into the report that led to the disbarment, the principle of natural justice says I must be heard and being heard does not only mean giving me an opportunity to talk but must importantly letting my testimony count and be considered as part of the facts of the case subject to cross-examination.

Unfortunately for lawyer Neequaye, the GLC was not interested in his testimony.

Then an interested party Alfred Woyome who might be affected by the outcome of the decision of the GLC also offered a testimony which was also excluded by the GLC.

As if that was not enough, if you look at the witnesses the GLC called in this matter that led to disbarment of Lawyer Neequaye-Tetteh, you would be shocked that the GLC decided to call a witness who did not work at the Attorney General’s office at the time of the incident instead of witnesses who were at the AG’s office and still are at the AG’s office and could speak to the circumstances of this matter, and yet they still however managed to find reasonable grounds to take the decision they took.

But the most concerning of all, if the above is not concerning enough to you is the fact that, the entire decision of the GLC was based on an EOCO preliminary investigation report on the Woyome case, a report which was set aside by the High Court in the criminal matter and the Court of Appeal.

The High Court in its judgement exonerated every official including Neequaye-Tetteh who worked on the Woyome case prior to the payment as having adhered to their professional responsibilities.

If a High Court that went through tones and tones of files, exhibits, evidences, cross examinations and full Judi-legal assessments came up with the conclusion that the evidence that exists does not support a collusion or dereliction of duty by any official, how can a Committee of the General Legal Council twelve years down the lane purports to have found any basis to single out Lawyer Neequaye and punish him just on the basis that Alfred Woyome had loaned an amount of GHC400,000 to his wife, a fact that existed at the time the High Court tried the matter and still found no evidence of collusion and lawyers in this Country are quiet?

Why are lawyers in Ghana quiet?

Why are lawyers failing to speak out for their colleague?

Is it because it involves Alfred Woyome or perhaps the NDC?

If a lawyer of many years can be disbarred merely on this basis, how many lawyers in this Country would pass this test if they put to the same scrutiny, considering how interconnected we are a people?

How do you allow this kind of injustice to stand?

Isn’t the GLC being used to set a bad precedent that could haunt the future of the profession?

By all means uphold lawyers to the standards of the legal ethics, but the standards must be fair and not capricious.

By all means punish Neequaye-Tetteh if you think he was negligent, but a total disbarment 12 years down the line when all the propaganda-dust on the Woyome case has settled and the facts are clear for everyone to see is extremely harsh and capricious!!!

The GLC can definitely do better!!