South Danyi Member of Parliament, Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor, has said Parliament is going to withhold the budget of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General if the 499 LLB students who obtained the 50 per cent pass mark in the law entrance exams are not admitted as directed by the House.
Mr Dafeamekpor who is not happy with the tone of the response to Parliament by the Attorney General (AG) Godfred Yeboah Dame following the resolution to get the students admitted, dared the AG and by extension, the government to submit their budget for parliamentary approval and they will meet the same lawmakers the AG had made a “condescending” statement against.
He told Dzifa Bampoh in an interview on First Take on 3FM Monday November 1 that he was scandalized by the tone of the AG’s letter to the legislature.
“I am scandalized by the decision of the Attorney General. I am further scandalized by the tone of the AG’s response to Parliament, it is a very condescending. The AG is fighting a turf war with Parliament.
“If the Attorney General says that, prior to the resolution of Parliament, he had received the instruction from the President to intervene to address the concerns of the 499, the question you ask yourself is what the concerns of the 499 are?
“The 499 are simply saying they were charged monies by the GLC to write an exams, notice and conditions which were publicized on 14th of May this year, to them they had complied with all the conditions therein and when the results came out they the 499 have discovered that they had passed the exams and so they should be admitted in addition to the 79.
“So if the president had instructed the Attorney General to intervene the simplest thing the Attorney General would have to do is to instruct the GLC to go ahead and admit them.
“If Parliament, a day or two, also gives directive, what he should be saying is that, indeed we are grateful that Parliament has passed a resolution to this effect but the good news is that the president has also directed me. So with the support from Parliament and with the instruction from the President you are in a firm position to take progressive steps to get the GLC to admit them. This is how the AG should be speaking. The AG is saying that Parliament has no power to direct him to give instruction to the GLC to admit the students.”
“We are waiting for them they should bring the budget,” he added.
“Why wouldn’t we withhold their budget if they fail to admit the students. If you are not performing your functions to the best of your ability we will withhold your budget.”
The House on Friday October 29 resolved that all LLB students who obtained the 50 per cent pass mark in the law school entrance examinations should be admitted. The unanimous decision was arrived at by voice votes in Parliament.
The unanimous decision was arrived at by a voice votes in Parliament.
But the Godfred Yeboah Dame told to Parliament that the GLC was not under compulsion to comply.
The AG indicated that Parliament is devoid of the power through the use of Parliamentary resolutions, to control the process of admission into the Ghana School of Law.
He said “Respectfully, I am aware of a resolution passed by Parliament at its sitting on Friday, 29th October, 2021 in these terms: … The General Legal Council is hereby directed to proceed and admit all the students who passed in accordance with the advertised rules of the examinations.. The Attorney-General is the leader of the bar in Ghana and he must see to it that the directive that 499 students who scored 50 marks are admitted is complied with.
“We do not want to get to contempt of Parliament issues. Whilst recognising the general legislative powers of Parliament in Ghana, except as have been circumscribed by the Constitution, I am constrained to advise that Parliament is devoid of a power through the use of Parliamentary resolutions, to control the process of admission into the Ghana School of Law.
“The mode of exercising legislative power enshrined in article 106 of the Constitution does not admit of resolutions.
“In accordance with section 13(1)(e) and (f) of the Legal Profession Act, 1960 (Act 32), the power to regulate admission of students to pursue courses of instruction leading to qualification as lawyers and to hold examinations which may include preliminary, intermediate and final examinations has been vested in the General Legal Council.
“It is correct that section 1(5) of Act 32 stipulates thus: ‘The Council shall in the performance of their functions comply with any general directions given by the Minister’.
“In my respectful opinion, this provision underscores the capacity of the Executive not the Legislature, through the Minister responsible for the General Legal Council, i.e. the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, to direct and advise the Council on major matters of national importance.
“In this regard, it is pertinent to indicate that by a letter dated 18th October, 2021 received at my office on 21* October, 2021, His Excellency the President forwarded the contents of a petition by the “499 candidates” to me for my comments in order to enable him respond. Another petition dated 20th October, 2021 by the National Association of Law Students was also delivered
to the President.
“Upon delivery of my comments on the matters raised in both petitions and following further consultations with my good self, by a letter dated 26th October, 2021 (three clear days before the resolution of Parliament), received at my office on 27th October, 2021, the President directed me to, pursuant to section 1(5) of Act 32, … make the necessary intervention to the General Legal Council, on behalf of the 499 students, to address the issue …
“Within the constraints of the law, I am following up on the directive of the President to make the necessary interventions on behalf of the ‘499 students’ Be that as it may, it is imperative to correct a few erroneous impressions contained in the impugned Parliamentary resolution of 29th October, 2021.The notice in the Daily Graphic of 14th May, 2021 inviting applications from suitably qualified Ghanaians for admission into the Ghana School of Law did not state a pass mark of fifty percent (50%) or any at all as a basis for admission. The notice stated that applicants may be granted admission if they have passed the entrance examination conducted by the GLC.
“The notice also did not state the manner in which a pass mark set by the GLC would be determined. It is clear therefore, that, a contention that the “originally announced” or “advertised” pass mark was “50%”, is erroneous and insupportable.
In so far as any matter bordering on a ‘pass mark’ is concerned, the notice in the Daily Graphic stated as follows:
“E. ADMISSION PROCEDURE
The admission process is as follows:
(i) The General Legal Council determines the number of candidates to be admitted to the Professional Law Course for the academic year.
(ii) Applicants may be granted admission if they have passed the written examinations organized by the General Legal Council for the
2021/2022 Academic Year, on payment of the required fee and submission of the application form and all supporting documents required online.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana