Next President Will Be An Economist -AG

Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame (right) with President Akufo-Addo exchanging pleasantries


The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, |Godfred Yeboah Dame, has suggested that Ghana’s next president would be an economist, as the country prepares to elect a head of state in December next year.

According to him, the Fourth Republic has seen three of its five presidents so far being lawyers, but although it looks like the next president will not be a lawyer, it is increasingly becoming quite evident that an economist would win the 2024 Presidential Election.

“Unfortunately, it looks like the next President will not be a lawyer. However, it is becoming increasingly quite clear that, even though the next President will be an economist, being the son of a lawyer, he will hold fast to the values the legal profession cherishes,” he stated.

Many have interpreted this to mean Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia would be the next president, since he is an economist and his father, Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia was a lawyer.

Mr. Dame was highlighting the roles members of the Bar have played in post-independence Ghana, occupying higher positions in government and the civil service.

He made the remarks at the 2023 edition of the Annual Conference of the Ghana Bar Association, at the University of Cape Coast on Monday.

“If lawyers have played this prominent role in the building and development of our country, then their role in the maintenance of standards and the promotion of integrity in public life cannot be taken for granted,” Mr. Dame pointed out.

Speedy Trial

The Attorney General once again expressed concern about what he describes as considerably slow pace of justice delivery in Ghana, indicating that this hampers productivity and progress in many spheres of the nation’s life.

According to him, one area of justice delivery which requires urgent injection of expedition and efficiency is criminal justice.

To this end, he disclosed steps he has taken to introduce reforms in the justice delivery system in Ghana and reminded lawyers of the requirement on them to expedite litigation.

Mr. Dame indicated that he has recently presented to Cabinet a Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill which introduces a substantial reform of the criminal procedure laws of the country, with the ultimate objective of enhancing the speed of adjudication of criminal cases.

He said the new measures proposed include scrapping trials on indictment except where the offence is punishable by death or life imprisonment, provision for examination of witnesses by video conferencing and provision for trials to proceed where an accused person is not personally present in court.

Other proposals include day-to-day trial of all criminal cases except where same is impracticable, restriction on interlocutory appeals to only after a determination by the trial court of a submission of no case, reform of the jury system to reduce the list of exemptions from jury service, the composition of the jury (by addition of alternate jurors), adoption of proceedings in criminal cases, among others.

He said the bill underwent extensive stakeholder consultations prior to its presentation to Cabinet, and has received approvals from the Judicial Council and the Ghana Bar Association, and was hopeful Cabinet will deliberate on same rapidly in order for it to be laid in Parliament when it resumes sittings in October.

Judicial Integrity

Mr. Dame also reminded lawyers about the need to guard the essential elements of the legal profession from characters who seek to destroy same, stating that lawyers must fearlessly speak against tendencies which threaten the integrity of the legal profession.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the reality that it has become customary, and for some people, an annual affair, to launch unwarranted attacks on the independence of the Judiciary. If the source of the recent attacks on the independence of the Judiciary is of concern, of even greater worry is the class of people who provide audience for such unwarranted comments to be made. The audience consisted of lawyers.

“It is worrying because, as I have stated before, lawyers ought to be the loudest and strongest defenders of the independence, integrity and importance of the Judiciary rather than serving as tools for its destruction. By the silence, they have become abettors in the propagation of hate against the Judiciary,” Mr. Dame added.


Touching on some achievements of the Office of the Attorney General, he noted that through the sound legal advice it gives to various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, “we have averted huge judgment debts and spared the nation a lot of agony in other cases.”

He also indicated that the Prosecutions Division has also ably lived up to its constitutional duty of being the prosecutor of all crimes in the country, even though prosecution of so-called high-profile economic crime cases is thwarted by unjustified delays occasioned by the filing of unnecessary applications and frivolous interlocutory appeals.

“The efficiency of a nation’s justice system is tested by the manner in which cases seeking to hold high-profile members of society to account, are conducted. It is unjust and unfair for so-called high-profile criminal cases involving the summary offences of fraud, wilfully causing financial loss to the state and money laundering to drag on for years whilst similar cases filed against the perceived ordinary members of society are concluded within six months to one year,” Mr. Dame added.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak