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Oliver Barker Slams Chief Justice’s Political Posture, Accuses GBA of Govt Ties

When asked about the Ghana Bar Association's (GBA) role, Oliver characterized the current Ghana Bar Association as a silent accomplice, prioritizing the interests of the current government over its intended purpose.

On May 13, 2024, the Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo highlighted the role of President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo in the growth of the judicial system in Ghana at the 18th Africa Regional Conference by the International Association of Women Judges held in Accra.

Speaking in her welcome address on the theme ‘Combating Negative Cultural Practices – The Role Of Women Judges’, she hailed the President as “a lawyer and champion of justice” whose name is “definitely etched in the legal history of this country as a most distinguished legal practitioner.”

She further praised his dedication to the Rule of Law, which has resulted in significant investments in the Judicial Service of Ghana’s physical and technological infrastructure.

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“His belief in the Rule of Law has been evident during his tenure and the Judicial Service of Ghana has been a happy beneficiary of exceptional levels of physical, and technological infrastructure during this period,” Madam Torkornoo said.

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The Chief Justice’s remarks have generated mixed reactions from the public.

In a conversation on The Accra Times’ ‘FRANK TALK’ with Oliver Barker-Vormawor as the guest, he offered his perspective on the recent public comments by the Chief Justices and the functionality of the General Legal Council and the Ghana Bar Association.

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Delving into her recent comments where she publicly praised the president, Oliver views these comments as political and believes that the Chief Justice should refrain from making such statements, given the high office she holds.

“I think that we have to contextualize it in terms of the Chief Justices’ politics since she was given the top job. But successively, she seems to have lost sight of the fact that she is presiding over an institution in which its trust is very good, that people’s perception, and not only perception, the fact is that the President has packed the court and that people are viewing the judiciary in a very bad light, and these comments do not engender trust in her leadership, her awareness of the problems that the judiciary is facing, and also the maturity that one needs to be in this course,” Mr. Barker-Vormawor said.

Oliver further stated that the forum the Chief Justice attended had no connection to praising the President, and it’s widely acknowledged that the President has not lived up to her claims for a long time.

“She was invited to a forum that had nothing to do with the President. If the President was going on retirement, one would forgive her by saying that. But objectively, everybody knows that this President has not been what she’s claimed in a very long time,” he said.

Oliver highlighted the importance of thoughtful communication as that could have saved the Chief Justice from the criticism she’s come under.

“The least one can do is to keep quiet. To do this in this way shows a lack of judgement, which for me is questioning the person in many ways. And also puts a lot of the things she’s been doing recently in proper light,” he ended.

OLIVER BARKER-VORMAWOR’S TAKE ON THE GHANA BAR ASSOCIATION AND THE GENERAL LEGAL COUNCIL

When asked about the Ghana Bar Association’s (GBA) role, Oliver characterized the current Ghana Bar Association as a silent accomplice, prioritizing the interests of the current government over its intended purpose. He also touched on the recent changes in the solicitor’s license renewal process in Ghana.

Previously, the General Legal Council was responsible for renewing licenses, but now the Ghana Bar Association has taken over this role, raising concerns about potential conflicts of interest and the association’s ability to effectively regulate the legal profession.

“The bar is dead, there’s no bar. They are in bed with those who are controlling the country. Now if you want to renew your license as a solicitor, it used to be controlled by the General Legal Council now they’ve given it to the Ghana Bar Association. The Ghana Bar Association is mum! It raises a lot of questions. The bar has been dead for so long,” he said.

Frank Talk is The Accra Times’ initiative to stimulate interesting conversations that delve deep into issues of national and international interest. It’s hosted by The Accra Times’ Fred Avornyo and produced by George Bentum Essiaw.

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