On 29th October 2021, the Deputy Majority Leader moved a motion on the floor of the House for Parliament to extend its intervention as a form of oversight responsibility particularly in respect of the decision by the Ghana School of Law which decision we are told is the reason why over four hundred students have been denied admission to the school.
In fact, when Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin drew the attention of the House to the said regrettable incident, he made it quite clear that the decision was at variance with the rule of CERTAINTY accepted as part of both our civil and criminal jurisprudence.
He also indicated to the House that same was repugnant having regard to the Ghana School of Law’s own advertisement which invited qualified graduate LLB applicants to apply for the professional law course.
Even before he concluded his submission on the matter, he took solace in the fact that since the chairman of the GLC for the time being has proven that, he listens, he made a passionate appeal to the Lord Chief Justice, Mr.Anin Yeboah to consider a harmless review of the decision by the GSL.
What must be noted, however, is that, prior to the entrance exams, Ghana School of Law had indicated as part of their advertisement, a definite requirement for admission and same was hinged on a pass mark which conventions over the years have shown that, it has always been 50% and above.
Unfortunately, when results were released by the Independent Examination Committee(IEC), Four Hundred and Ninety-Nine (499) students who scored 50% and above were denied admission on grounds that, though they had 50% in aggregated form, could not be admitted because, they were expected to score 50% in each of the two sections [ie 20 out of 40 in section A and 30 out of 60 in section B] and according to the GSL, since the 499 students fell short of that 50% in each section, they could not make it to the professional law school.
The debilitating effect of that belated decision is that those who scored 40 out of 40 in section A with a 10% score in section B were denied admissions into the professional law course.
Same also is the fact that those who scored 50 out of 60 in section B with a 10% mark in section A were also not permitted to study the professional law course.
It is worthy of note that the change in the admission requirement was communicated through a publication signed by the director of the Ghana School of law, Mr.K Prempeh Esq. a week after the results were released. This, according to Hon. Afenyo-Markin flouted the principles of certainty in the sense that the said useful information ought to have been communicated to the students before exams and not after results had been published.
The mover of that important motion has a long-standing philosophy as a legal practitioner. The records will show that even the highest court of the land was upheld that philosophy.
Readers will recall that, on Feb.28, 2015, the supreme court delivered a landmark ruling concerning the disqualification of one Mr.Benjamin Ayi Mensah, a fisherman from Winneba. Let me, at this juncture take readers through the facts of the case known as Mensah v Attorney-General for better appreciation of the calibre of the mover of the motion on 29th October 2021.
Mr.Benjamin Ayi Mensah was an aspirant in the 2015 Assembly Elections. He picked nomination forms from the office of the electoral commission’s office to contest as an assemblyman. The Electoral Commission after the close of nominations disqualified Mr.Benjamin Ayi Mensah. Helpless Mr.Mensah at the time fell on Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin who at the time had spent two years as a member of Parliament for Effutu Constituency and also a” first-timer”
Hon. Alexander Kwamena abandoned his tight schedules for the action. He represented Mr.Ayi Mensah in court throughout the hearing without taking a penny from him. That case was more than a pro-bono. Hon. Afenyo-Markin argued before the court that, the CI 78 regulation EC sought to rely on to justify his client’s disqualification was non-existent at the time because same had not been gazetted and was also not on EC’s website.
Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin also contended forcefully that, since the CI which was laid on the floor of was still awaiting maturity and a subsequent gazette(21 days requirement by Article 11 of the constitution), relying on same to disqualify his client was wrong in law.
Hon.Afenyo – Markin also canvassed the argument that, as part of our jurisprudence, a law can only be enforced when same is gazetted. It must also be noted that throughout his submission in the Supreme Court, he continuously hammered on the purposes of a gazette notification as a requirement for a law properly so-called to be valid.
The Supreme Court eventually upheld his arguments and directed the EC to suspend all pre-election activities leading to the conduct of the impugned electoral process. The court also ordered the EC to reinstate him.
The long-standing philology of Hon. Afenyo-Markin is evidenced by the Ghana Law Report on economic and organized crime cases he has personally handled. Popular amongst them is the Ex Parte Investment strategies enterprise which was an exercise of arbitrary and capricious exercise of power by the Executive Director of the Economic and Organized Crime Office.
EOCO at the time had frozen the bank account of the Investment strategies enterprise as part of an investigation it was conducted. The account was frozen through an Ex parte application.
The foundation of the application was that the Respondents/Applicants were notified per a letter dated December 4, 2012, sent to them by the Applicant/ Respondent indicating that the Respondents/Applicants’ bank accounts with the Fidelity Bank (Gh) Ltd, at the East Legon branch in Accra had been frozen.
According to the Respondents/Applicants, they were not informed of the basis for the freezing neither were they invited to volunteer any statement. However, upon receipt of that letter(herein referred to as Exhibit DA1), the 2nd Respondent/Applicant went to the Office of the Applicant/Respondent and provided all the necessary documentation/information to facilitate and assist in any investigation by the Respondent/Applicant as to the source of the funds.
Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin also contended that the continued denial of the Respondents/Applicants of the use of the funds in their accounts was an infringement of their right as enshrined in Article 18 of the 1992 Constitution. Accordingly, he urged the court to defreeze the account and to grant the Applicants unhindered access to the funds in their accounts.
The High Court after listening to Hon. Afenyo-Markin granted his request and ordered a discharge of the freezing order. The decision in Ex-parte Investment strategies enterprise is the most quoted authority in court anytime people go to court to challenge EOCO’s freezing order.
It must be told that the decision in Ex Parte Investment strategies further trimmed down the unfettered powers of EOCO which many people were uncomfortable with. The aftermath of the case took many people out of the shackles of arbitrary exercise of power and provided guidelines with regard to proper investigative procedures anchored on fairness from agencies clothed with powers to investigate including Financial Intelligence Center, BNI, and the likes.
“So the long and short of it all is that,” the mover of the motion which resulted in Parliament passing resolution directed at GSL to admit the 499 has his long-standing principles of complete abhorrence particularly in respect of the unfair treatment of people and for that matter, his move on 29th October 2021 must be given” the benefit of the doubt”
Columnist: Dawda Eric