The Minority in Parliament has expressed reservations about Chief Justice Anin Yeboah’s petition to the Ghana Legal Council to have its Disciplinary Committee probe Bolga East MP Dominic Ayine over some comments he made regarding the Supreme Court’s hearing of the 2020 election petition.
According to the Minority, the move amounts to an attack on free speech.
Mr Ayine was alleged to have made comments suggesting the Supreme Court is not independent from the government when he appeared as a panelist at a forum organised by the Center for Democratic Development.
The incident follows a similar comment made by the lawmaker during the hearing of the 2020 election petition in which Dr Ayine was cited for contempt of court.
Addressing a press conference today, Wednesday, 9 June 2021, Minority Leader Haruna Idrissu said attempting to drag Dr Ayine before the GLC is a show of bad faith by the Chief Justice.
He told journalists the Chairman of the General Legal Council, who is also the Chairman of the Judicial Council and Head of the Judicial Service, an organ of state, in our view, “has already determined that the comments are totally unacceptable and wants the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council to investigate further”.
“It is against this background that we, in the Minority, find the petition to be in utter bad faith and meant to be an attack of free speech on Parliament as an institution and also an affront to democratic and academic freedom.”
“This invitation must also be seen as an attack on freedom of expression, and it is only deepening growing concern about the culture of silence in our country which is gradually rearing its ugly head in our democratic dispensation and, therefore, a great threat to the sustenance of democracy in our country”.
“In our view, we think Dr Ayine was speaking as a Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, and not only as a lawyer, and he has the responsibility to speak to the public on matters of public interest as he did on the said forum,” Mr Iddrisu added.
He urged the Chief Justice to reconsider the decision, arguing that it is not wrong for one to critique a court ruling after judgment.