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Victoria Hammah

Vicky Hammah may snub CJ’s panel to probe Vickileaks – Lawyer hints


Samson Lardy Ayenini

Samson Lardy Ayenini

A private legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Ayenini has indicated that the Committee constituted by the Chief Justice to investigate the infamous vikileaks tape would likely not come out with any “hard evidence”.

According to him, the availability of the one making the allegation, would determine how successful the work of the Judicial Committee will turn out since the committee would not have the power to subpoena people to appear before it.

The General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie had petitioned the Chief Justice to investigate claims by dismissed deputy Minister of Communications, Victoria Hammah that the 2012 election petition verdict was influenced by Gender and Social Protection Minister, Nana Oye Lithur.

The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood has instituted a probe into the allegations. A document from the Judicial Council of Ghana available to indicated that the decision to probe the allegations was taken at an emergency meeting Thursday, November 14, 2013.

The committee would be chaired by a retired Supreme Court judge, Dr Justice S.K. Date-Bah.

But Sampson Ayenini told Joy News the probe, which would largely take the form of an administrative enquiry would have some difficulties which would definitely hinder the progress of its work.

The lawyer pointed out that the panel would not have the power to subpoena persons, who refuse to appear before it especially, Ms Victoria Hammah, who made the allegations.

“The major difficulty I suspect, might make the job of the panel difficult or may be, not help it to get to the bottom of the matter, would be Victoria Hammah making herself available. Even if you look at the general nature of the allegation, it sounds as if they would have a difficult task establishing hard evidence to prove a matter.”

He explained that the team to probe the allegations would be a subcommittee or a panel of members of judicial council without the powers of a High Court, and could not be chaired by a judge of a lower court.

“A subcommittee of the Judicial Council does not have the power of a High Court to be able to subpoena you, and so I suspect they would invite [Victoria Hammah] and she may be advised that she has the right not to attend and they would not be able to subpoena her.”

In his analysis, Mr. Ayenini noted that the allegation that the verdict was influenced was of general nature and not of specific nature against a particular judge, stressing that it would be a huge hurdle for the panel to surmount.

In spite of these difficulties, he said Nana Oye Lithur and Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, as members of the legal fraternity, may have no option but to submit themselves to the committee, when invited.

Meanwhile, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has expressed its confidence in the committee set up by the Chief Justice to probe comments captured on the secret tape.

The NPP confirmed receiving a response from the office of the Chief Justice setting up of a committee to investigate the petition they filed a couple of weeks ago in the wake of the vikileaks scandal.

First National Vice Chairman of the NPP, Fred Oware, told Joy News the party provided some evidence in their petition and wished they would be invited to further clarify issues.

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