October 8, 2009 (Page 3 Lead)
THE Court of Appeal yesterday adjourned indefinitely the appeal filed by the Attorney-General for stay of execution of a High Court order directing the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to release the passport of Mr Akwasi Osei-Adjei, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, to him.
The matter was adjourned to enable the Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) Department to receive a certified copy of the ruling of the Human Rights Division of the High Court which refused to stay its earlier order directing the BNI to release Mr Osei-Adjei’s passport.
At the court’s sitting in Accra yesterday, the Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Ebow Barton-Oduro, prayed the court to adjourn the matter to enable his outfit to receive a certified copy of the lower court’s ruling which refused to stay execution of its earlier order.
The court, accordingly, adjourned the matter indefinitely. A new date will be fixed as soon as the Attorney-General’s Department receives a copy of the lower court’s ruling.
Mr Osei-Adjei sued the Director of the BNI and the Attorney-General for the seizure of his passport and described the action as “flagrantly unlawful and a palpable violation” of his human rights.
He sought an order directed at the Director of the BNI to release his passport unconditionally, but the A-G’s Department held a different view and said the detention of Mr Osei-Adjei's passport was on the grounds that the BNI was mandated, under the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act (Act 526), to investigate him.
The court had, on Tuesday, August 11, 2009, ruled that the BNI did not have the power to seize the former minister’s passport, adding that the action violated his fundamental human rights because it did not follow the due process of law.
The court, however, struck out the suit against the Director of the BNI, saying that the functions of the BNI made it a state institution whose acts were carried out on behalf of the Republic and, therefore, was not properly sued.
However, the A-G’s office filed an appeal against the court’s decision and, accordingly, filed another motion praying the court to stay execution of its order pending the outcome of its appeal.
However, on September 15, 2009, the Human Rights Court dismissed the application filed by the A-G to stay execution of the order to the BNI to release Mr Osei-Adjei’s passport to him.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice U.P. Dery, described as untenable the argument by the A-G that if the former minister was given his passport there was the likelihood that he would interfere with the investigations.