Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm not a member of NPP - Dotse

January 17, 2013 (Front page) A Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, has denied media reports that he is a member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). “I have never contested for any election on the ticket of the NPP, let alone polling station, constituency or regional offices of the NPP, while I was a lawyer,” he said. He was reacting to media reports attributed to a lawyer, Mr Abraham Amaliba, a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) legal team, who had alleged that Mr Justice Dotse was a card-holding member of the NPP. Mr Justice Dotse said Mr Amaliba should have investigated the issue before putting it in the public domain. Citing Deuteronomy 20:3-4, Mr Justice Dotse accused Mr Amaliba of failing to adhere to the tenets of the law profession and said if those allegations were meant to “poison the mind of the public” against him, “I leave the rest to the Almighty God.” Deuteronomy 20:3-4 states: “He shall say: Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them, For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (New International Version) Speaking to a packed courtroom in the presence of his colleague judges, Mr Justice Dotse said he was prepared to recuse himself if the NDC had a “genuine and legal concern” against him. He said the said media reports were an “occupational hazard”, could breed “distrust” and “breach and destabilise the dignity of the independence of the Judiciary”. He urged Mr Amaliba and all persons peddling falsehood about his person to stop, since it was injurious to his reputation and that of his family, adding that it was crucial for him to “correct the misinformation”. The courtroom was quiet when Mr Justice Dotse stated his concerns. Other members of the panel which heard the NDC’s application for joinder were Mr Justice William Atuguba, President, with Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr P. Baffoe-Bonnie, Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo as panel members. Mr Justice Atuguba also clarified comments he had made on January 10, 2013 which took a swipe at persons he perceived to be casting doubt on the independence and integrity of the Judiciary. According to him, he only sought to emphasise the independence and integrity of the Judiciary and assured the public that the Judiciary would perform its role independently and creditably. The petitioners, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the NPP in the December 2012 polls; his running mate, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, were present in court. One of the lawyers representing the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison, had described President John Dramani Mahama's intention to call 4,800 witnesses as "intimidating and threatening". Counsel argued that under the rules of court, the President was not required to state the number of witnesses he intended to call. But the lead counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, justified the number of witnesses to be called. According to him, since the petitioners had alleged that irregularities had occurred in 4,709 polling stations, it was only fair for the President to call persons who were present at the said polling stations to testify. The petitioners are claiming that irregularities recorded in the December 2012 presidential election inured to the benefit of President Mahama.

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