Common in Ghana to hear the phrase “the law is no respecter of persons”, but Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin disagrees.
According to the experienced politician, in Ghana, “so many people are above the law.”
The Speaker made this comment during a visit to the office of Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) in Accra to meet with management and the editorial staff, as part of his efforts to strengthen Parliament-Media Relations.
While commenting on the decision of the High Court to resort to a daily trial for the Assin North Member of Parliament-elect, James Gyakye Quayson, Mr Bagbin said it was not right for the court to put Mr Quayson through that process following the perjury and forgery charges brought against him by the state.
He said the decision appears selective, particularly when no case has been handled in this manner.
“What we are doing is rule by law, not rule of law, and I think that we should move away from that. For democracy to succeed, the pillar is the rule of law. I tell them, and I tell the judges, it is not right. If it is done to everybody, I have no problem, but if it is done selectively, I have a problem,” Mr Bagbin said.
He added that “the law is no respecter of any person; that is one of the errors in our constitution. Read through our constitution and you’ll see the law is a respecter of so many people. So many people in Ghana are above the law. You can’t have democracy [with that], and so we need to work at it seriously.”
The speaker called on the public to, as a result, support calls for a constitutional review emphasizing that “it is something we must take up.”
The Accra High Court presided over by Justice Mary Yanzuh has ruled that the trial of the opposition NDC’s James Gyakye Quayson will be heard on daily basis starting from July 4, 2023.
The court ruled that its June 16 order announcing this arrangement was within the law and a case for a review had not been made.
The decision was protested by many including the MP-elect’s legal team.
However, the court maintained that “adjournments are at the discretion of the court and not the convenience of parties. The order of this court was clearly in line with the law. Nowhere was it demonstrated that the order was contrary to law.”
“His rights have not been violated by the court for refusing not to give him time to campaign. Mere refusal of the court does not constitute denial of right to fair trial,” the judge stated.
Mr Quayson is being tried for forgery and perjury after he was charged by the Attorney-General’s Office.
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He is also accused of deceiving a public officer and knowingly making a false declaration when he filed nominations to contest in the 2020 election when he had not renounced his Canadian citizenship.