wpid-law-and-justice.jpgA resigned Supreme Court Judge, Justice F.Y. Kpegah has sued the Chief Justice, the Attorney-General, the Judicial Secretary and the Director of Finance at the Judicial Service for failing to facilitate his loan application.

In a suit filed at the Fast Track High Court on January 15, 2010, Justice Kpegah is asking the court for “an order reviewing the decision taken collectively by (Mrs Georgina Wood, Justice Alex Opoku-Acheampong, Prosper Adeti and Betty Mould Iddrisu 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents respectively) against [him by] refusing his request to them to recommend his loan application to his bankers and also guarantee that his salary will continue to be paid into his account until his liability to his bankers is discharged.”

Justice Kpegah, according to the Editor-In-Chief of the Ghanaian Observer newspaper, Egbert Faibille, who spoke to Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, wrote a letter dated January 6, 2010 to the CJ asking for salary advance to enable him complete his family house.

In response to the letter, the Chief Justice writing on January 14, 2010, stated that, “The management and payment of monthly pension of retired judges who qualify to retire on their salaries is entirely the responsibility of the pension unit of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department and not the Judicial Service. It is in the light of this that whenever a judge retires from the Judicial Service, the name of the judge is deleted from the Service’s active payroll.”

The letter among other things concluded that “The Judicial Service does not therefore sign undertakings for loans for retired judges and magistrates who are on retirement or separated from the service and no longer on the Service’s payroll to enable such judges, magistrates and officers access financial assistance from institutions.”

Unhappy with the response, Justice Kpegah applied to the High Court for a judicial review.

In his application to the court, the retired Judge said the refusal of the respondents to recommend his loan application nearly cost two of his sons – who obtained admissions to the University of London – their education.

He said the decision also caused him financial embarrassment as he had to rely on the benevolence of a friend to raise the GH?70,000 that was required to pay the fees for his sons.

Justice Kpegah in his affidavit said since his resignation from the Judicial Service as a Supreme Court Judge on December 4, 2008 “on the grounds that the independence of the judiciary? had been compromised as a result of executive interference” and corruption in government, “the 1st respondent (Georgina Wood), who is the head of the Judicial Service became inexplicably hostile to me and froze my gratuity and salary on the erroneous ground that since I ‘resigned’ rather than ‘retired’ I was not entitled to same.”

The decision to freeze his gratuity and salary simply because he resigned, Justice Kpegah contended, was in contravention of Article 145 (3) of the 1992 Constitution which states that “A Justice of the superior court of judicature or a chairman of a regional tribunal may resign from his office by a letter signed by him and addressed to the president.”

It is therefore his contention that the CJ’s argument that the Judicial Service could not guarantee his loan application was untenable.

But Egbert Faibille says there is some contradiction in Justice Kpegah’s submissions to the court.

He said whilst the letter asking for the salary advance stated the reason as to complete the renovation of Justice Kpegah’s family home, his affidavit claims that the money was needed to facilitate the education of his sons.

A date is yet to be set for hearing.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu

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