On June 15th 2006, a young, dynamic and vibrant lawyer came to my Office. He came to my Office as a private practitioner to discuss a case in which he wanted to serve a subpoena on me, in my official capacity, to testify. That case was Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings vrs. Ato Sam and Western Publications Limited (Publishers of the Daily Guide newspaper). He was counsel for defendants.
I violently refused. We had an argument. Indeed, it was quite a confrontation. At the end of it all I said to him; “one day you will be the Attorney General. You will occupy this Office”. He said “you are speaking from the Deputy Attorney General’s Office”. I said “but I am the Attorney General designate and you will occupy both positions”. I had been vetted for Attorney General and approved by Parliament but had not been sworn in by President Kufour. As such I was still in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.
I subsequently gathered that, notwithstanding my refusal to testify on subpoena, the defendants won the case. I met the young lawyer one day and I asked him whether he saw wisdom in my refusal to testify. He admitted that he did.
That young lawyer was Godfred Dame, the Attorney General and Minister for Justice designate. Today, 5 Attorneys General since my tenure as Attorney General ended on January 6th, 2009, my “prophecy“ has come to pass, and my heart is gladdeneed. Godfred has been Deputy Attorney General for 4 years and it is my prayer that he will be Attorney General for at least 4 years. I was Deputy Attorney General for a year from 2005 to 2006 and then the Attorney General from 2006 to January 2009. Like me, he has progressed from Deputy Attorney General to Attorney General and it holds immense advantages. I was sworn in on June 16th 2006. Godfred came to the Ministry of Justice on June 15th 2006.
I was the youngest Attorney General in the 4th Republic when I was appointed. He would be, not only the youngest of the 4th Republic, but in the history of Ghana when sworn into office by the Grace of God.
Coincidentally, both of us trained at Akufo-Addo Prempeh & Co but he came there after I had left with my wife, Efua Ghartey to set up Ghartey & Ghartey. After our initial verbal battle in my Office, Godfred and I forged a very close friendship. I made him my Teaching Assistant when I was teaching company law at the Ghana School of Law. I also led him in the Supreme Court in one famous matter in the constitutional history of Ghana, Ransford France v. The Electoral Commission.
I wish him well and I have no doubt that he will succeed. I have no doubt that his temperament, disposition, industry and faith in God will spur him on to great heights. I am also exceptionally pleased that as the 19th Attorney General, what I prophesied on the 15th of June, 2006 has come to pass which would make him the 25th Attorney General of the Republic of Ghana. It reminds us of Habakkuk 2: 2-3 which says, “… Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets … Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come …”
By: Lawyer Joe Ghartey, former Attorney General, Railway Minister of the Republic of Ghana