Godfred Yeboah Dame, current Attorney-General and Minister for Justice

By Ahmed Osumanu Halid, Nima

For the sake of this innocuous piece, let me use the gender/pronoun he.

Every democratic nation or space has a leader who is elected by the qualified citizens either as a President or Prime Minister depending on the nature and structure of the Constitution that a nation operates on.

The elected President in our 1992 Constitution is mandated by the constitution to appoint majority of his Ministers of state from Parliament.

He has no option but to respect the constitutional requirements, failure to adhere to the requirement will see him being sanctioned by the same Constitution. It must be noted that it is the supreme law of the land. No law can supersede it.

After appointing his Ministers, he chooses his cabinet in accordance with the Constitution.

Article 76 talks about the composition of cabinet.

He can co- opt other Ministers to attend cabinet meetings but without voting rights.

One key Minister of state who is defined by the constitution is the Attorney-General.

In Ghana, we have the Attorney-General and he is also the Minister of Justice.

In some jurisdictions, they are different officeholders. The Attorney-General is a politician, but the one occupying the justice portfolio is a professional lawyer or technocrat who is expected to be neutral and impartial.

Article 88 of our constitution defines the AG and his roles.

He is the chief legal adviser of the State and the Government. He advises the Government on all legal matters, including all contracts entered into by the government and loan agreements contracted by the Government.

He also represents the state in all matters both civil and criminal.

The Attorney-General represents the President in court if there is a case against him. He prosecutes all criminal offences. Civil proceedings against the state shall be instituted against him (Attorney-General).

His novel role is to suggest or nominate a Special Prosecutor to the President for consideration and appointment.

He undertakes both administrative and technical responsibilities too.

Administratively, he runs the day-to-day activities of his Ministry and technically, he represents the state or government in courts either prosecuting or defending on behalf of the state.

The Attorney-General is the leader of the Bar. The bar is the collection or grouping of lawyers.

The Attorney-General is not a judge. He does cases before a judge. He is a trained lawyer.

He is assisted by a Deputy or Deputies. He also has other lawyers called the state attorneys.

The police as an institution plays a pivotal role in the work of the Attorney-General. It carries out investigations and reports to the Attorney-General for advice if the matter should be sent to court for prosecution or otherwise.

In our jurisdiction, the AG allows the police to carry out the prosecution task at the lower courts like the circuit, district and juvenile level.

At the higher courts such as the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the Attorney-General does that but he delegates to other state attorneys to represent him.

One of his officers that does the prosecutions is the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Attorney-General is the only politician who is appointed according to his profession. That is, he must be a lawyer.

For instance, a medical doctor can be appointed as Energy Minister but not as Attorney-General. An engineer can be a Finance Minister not as Attorney-General.

He supervises other agencies like the Ghana Legal Aid, the Economic and Organised Crime, General Legal Council, the Council of Law Reporting, the Law Reform Commission and the Copyright Office.

SOURCEBy thecustodianghonline.com/
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