The Justice Samuel Kofi Date- Bah Committee set up by Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, has summoned Victoria Lakshmi Hammah, a former Deputy Minister of Communications, for questioning over statements she made on a leaked tape.
The invitation was officially communicated to her in a letter dated November 25, 2013 and signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice B. Poku-Acheampong, who is the secretary to the committee, reports the Daily Guide.
Ms Hammah is expected to face the Justice Date-Bah Committee in-camera in the morning of Monday, December 2, 2013 at the conference room of the Judicial Service.
The nine-member committee was constituted by the Chief Justice to investigate the allegations that the Supreme Court Justices, who sat on the just ended Presidential election petition, might have been compromised as Victoria Hammah indicated in the leaked tape.
“I have been directed by the Chairperson of the Committee mandated to investigate the above mentioned complaint to invite you to attend the Committee’s meeting…” Justice Poku- Acheampong wrote in the letter addressed to the embattled former deputy Communications minister, a copy of which is available to Daily Guide.
The sacked former deputy minister has been given the option of facing the committee with her lawyers, if she so wishes.
“You are at liberty to attend the meeting with Counsel of your choice and also to come along with any documents relevant to the case,” the letter stated.
It is unclear the disposition of Miss Hammah towards this invitation because as at press time, attempts to reach her has proved futile, according to the newspaper.
The high profile investigation was initiated when in the leaked tape, a voice allegedly belonging to the former Deputy Minister, was heard commenting about the victory of President John Dramani Mahama in the landmark election petition.
“… I learnt even before [Supreme Court] judgement, Nana Oye Lithur was with the Justices and all that. You don’t know the role she has played for us to win the court case…the beleaguered former deputy Communications minister was heard saying on the tape.
The election petition taken to court by the flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and two others challenged the legitimacy of the victory of President John Dramani Mahama in the December 2012 Presidential election.
On November 18, 2012, the Judicial Secretary wrote to the NPP General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie aka Sir John, informing him that a formal enquiry had been set in motion.
Sir John had earlier filed a petition with the CJ to unravel the truth around the allegations.
The clandestine recording was allegedly done by Lawrence Quayson, the driver of the deputy minister with the support of Ayitey Batsi, a former aide of the deputy minister.
She specifically indicated in the tape that the night before the Supreme Court election petition panel, headed by Justice William Atuguba, delivered their final judgement, the Minister of Children, Gender and Social Protection, Nana Oye-Lithur, went to ‘see’ some of the Judges.
Incidentally, Mrs. Oye-Lithur is the wife of President Mahama’s Lawyer (Tony Lithur) in the election petition. Mrs Oye Lithur had since denied the allegation.
The CJ took the matter seriously by ordering a crack committee of Judicial Council members to investigate the matter.
The committee members include Nana Dr. S.K.B Asante, the chief of Asokore in the Ashanti Region who is a legal luminary and an international arbitrator; The Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong; Frank Beecham, a legal practitioner and a former President of the Ghana Bar Association.
Meanwhile, a former Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, has charged the Date-Bah Committee to call for the telephone records and bank details of the nine Supreme Court.
Others include Ms. Joyce N.N Oku, a member of the Council for Law Reporting; Mrs. Eileen Odartei-Laryea, the President’s Nominee on the Judicial Council and the Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong.
Nene A. O. Amegatcher, the president of the Ghana Bar Association was also ‘co-opted’ to serve on the committee.
Meanwhile, a former Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, has charged the Date-Bah Committee to call for the telephone records and bank details of the nine Supreme Court justices who heard the election petition, to be used as a paper-trail to verify the damning allegations.
According to Mr. Jumah, who apparently smelt a rat, the committee should request records of all calls made by the judges three weeks before they delivered the judgment on the 2012 election petition.
According to the former MP for Asokwa, there was the need to bring in foreign experts to help in the investigations because if the investigation was left alone with officials and judges in the Judiciary alone, the process could be compromised through bribery.
The committee has been given a 14-day timeline to conclude its investigations and submit a report to the Judicial Council for action.
But the outspoken former KMA boss feared the time frame for the committee was too short; “they (committee members) will be forced to do a rush job given the seriousness of the allegations”.