Thursday, November 12, 2009 (Page 32)
THE Industrial and Labour Court Division of the High Court will on November 24, 2009 decide whether or not to strike out a suit filed against executives of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU).
The court, presided over by Mr Justice K. Asuman-Adu, fixed the date after the parties had argued their cases on a preliminary motion filed by the executives for the writ to be dismissed.
The plaintiffs, Mr Dave Agbenu and Mr George Foster Amanor, sued five executives, namely Oteng Asamoah, Peter Mensah Jimpetey-Djan, Gilbert Awinongya, Solomon Kotei, Theophilus Tenkorang and the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the ICU, praying the court to allow Mr Napoleon Kpoh and others to stay in office.
They are also praying the court to, among other reliefs, allow Mr A.Y.B. Salifu, Mrs Dorothy Mensah and Madam Christiana Baidoo to continue in office in the positions held prior to the passing of the August 2, 2007 resolution by the IMC, which removed Mr Kpoh and others from office until the Eighth Quadrennial Delegates conference of the ICU was duly held.
However, the defendants filed a counter motion praying the court to dismiss the case of the plaintiffs on the grounds that the plaintiffs had not exhausted the ICU’s internal conflict resolution channels as set out in the ICU Constitution.
He said the plaintiffs were bound to comply with the ICU Constitution and further argued that even the courts supported alternative resolution of conflicts.
Counsel further argued that the interest of justice would further be served if the plaintiffs were asked to go through internal conflict resolution mechanisms, adding that the plaintiffs could come back to court if they were not satisfied at the end of the day.
Opposing the application, counsel for the plaintiffs, Mr Peter Zwennes, said the nature of the dispute bordered on fraud and breach of the ICU Constitution.
He said the ICU Constitution did not give room for issues bordering on fraud to be resolved in-house, adding that in any case, the defendants controlled the ICU’s internal conflict resolution channels and questioned whether justice would prevail.
Citing authorities to buttress his point, counsel said the defendants had arrogated national positions to themselves and further pointed out that the application was incompetent because granted the plaintiffs were amenable to internal procedures, the proper thing for the defendants to have done was to pray the court to stay proceedings.
In the substantive suit, the plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the formation of the IMC and appointment of Mr Kotei to it on the basis of a resolution dated August 2, 2007 without the mandate of the National Executive Council of the ICU was illegal, unconstitutional and in violation of the Constitution of the ICU.
Plaintiffs are praying the court to annul and strike out as unlawful the said resolution and the IMC together with all acts and decisions whatsoever taken by or emanating from actions of the defendants.
The plaintiffs are also praying the court to order Messrs Awinongya, Kotei and Tenkorang to render a true and proper account of all their dealings with funds, resources and assets of the ICU which they had wrongfully accessed and appropriated from the date of their unlawful take-over to an appropriate date to be determined by the court, as well as an order of injunction restraining and barring the defendants and their assigns from acting in any position of authority or holding any office in any capacity whatsoever within the ICU pending the final determination of the action.