Thursday, October 29, 2009 (Page 3 Lead)
THE Accra Fast High Court will, on Friday, November 27, 2009 decide the lawfulness or otherwise of the interdiction of the Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr Albert Anthony Ampong.
Mr Ampong is challenging his interdiction, following investigations into allegations of financial impropriety levelled against Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, the former sector minister.
He is also seeking a declaration that an order directed at him to refund $20,000 and a further order that sanctions must be applied against him are unlawful.
But the Attorney-General’s Department described Mr Ampong’s motion as “merely an attempt to hijack the processes of the Civil Service in order to prevent any meaningful enquiry”.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice S. K. Asiedu, fixed the date for ruling after counsel for Mr Ampong, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, had moved a motion for judicial review filed against the Attorney-General and the Head of the Civil Service.
There was no legal representation from the Attorney-General’s office.
Mr Dame prayed the court to grant his client’s reliefs, which included a declaration that the decision of the Head of the Civil Service to implement directives from the President was unlawful.
The applicant is further praying the court to quash the decision to interdict him on the grounds that due process had not been followed and, therefore, it was a violation of the relevant laws and disciplinary regulations of the Civil Service of Ghana.
Mr Ampong is additionally seeking an order prohibiting the respondents from imposing any disciplinary sanctions against him on the basis of the National Security report on investigations into allegations against Alhaji Mubarak, as well as praying the court to grant an order of mandamus to compel the Head of the Civil Service to allow him to resume his normal duties as the Chief Director of the ministry, among any other orders the court might deem fit.
According to the applicant, the respondents acted illegally, unreasonably, capriciously, arbitrarily and in an unfair manner.
An affidavit in support of his application stated that he had only been called as a witness before the committee set up to investigate Alhaji Mubarak and not as an accused person.
It said Mr Ampong had testified at the committee, although he had been refused legal representation, adding that he informed the committee that he had advanced $20,000 to Alhaji Mubarak after the money had been advanced to him (Ampong) by the Principal Accountant of the ministry.
According to the affidavit, the Civil Service Council was the disciplinary authority for all civil servants and disciplinary proceedings in cases of misconduct and unsatisfactory service on the part of civil servants and, therefore, a civil servant could be disciplined only in accordance with strict adherence to the Civil Service Act and regulations and accepted principles of fairness, natural justice, the rule of law, among others.
Mr Ampong was ordered to proceed on leave on July 7, 2009 following recommendations by the National Security Committee which investigated financial impropriety levelled against Alhaji Mubarak by the principal accountant of the Sports Ministry.
At the last hearing on October 15, 2009, the application by the Attorney-General's office for extension of time within which to file its affidavit in opposition had not been opposed by counsel for Ampong and was thus granted.
In response to Mr Ampong’s claims, the A-G’s office had held that the President merely directed the Head of the Civil Service to interdict the applicant pending formal hearings by the Civil Service Council to assess the conduct of the applicant after the President had been presented with the preliminary findings by the National Security co-ordinator, adding that the President, according to the A-G, duly exercised his powers under the Civil Service Law, 1993 and the Civil Service Regulations (L.I.47).
The A-G contended that the applicant claimed to have given $10,000 to the then minister but could not produce any receipt or other documentary evidence to establish his claim, adding that after preliminary investigations by the National Security co-ordinator, adverse findings were made against the applicant, the principal accountant and the minister.
The affidavit in opposition pointed out that the interdiction of the applicant was only to prevent him from interfering with investigations which were to be undertaken following his summary interdiction.
The A-G also said a five-member panel had been set up since July 10, 2009 to begin hearing of the applicant's case with the object of determining his guilt or otherwise but the panel had not begun sitting in view of the present court action by the applicant.