Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Court throws out contempt case against A-G

Sasturday, February 6, 2010 (Page 3 Lead)

THE Commercial Court in Accra on February 5, 2010 dismissed a contempt action instituted against the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, and two others by the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Sammy Crabbe.
The applicant had prayed the court to cite the Attorney-General, the acting Chief Executive of the Ghana International Airlines (GIA), Ms Gifty Anna Myers, and the GIA as an entity for contempt for appointing Ms Myers as acting Chief Executive when a suit he had filed against the government over his shares in the airline some time in 2006 was still pending.
Citing authorities to buttress its decision, the Commercial Court, presided over by Mr Justice Amadu Tanko, was of the view that Mr Crabbe failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the three had committed contempt of court.
The court was of the view that contempt applications were quasi criminal and for that reason it was important for the applicant to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the respondents.
The judge was of the view that after carefully studying Mr Crabbe's application, there was no specific act for which the Attorney-General or the other respondents must be held responsible.
Mr Justice Tanko said the Attorney-General was a legal adviser to the state and for that reason the applicant could not say she should directly be held liable for an action committed by a minister of state some time in 2006.
The court, accordingly, dismissed the contempt action.
Mr Crabbe's substantive suit against the government over shareholding dispute is still pending in the court.
Mr Crabbe, who was once the Vice-President of the GIA and minority shareholder of GIA, USA, has also sued the government over the 30 per cent shares at the International Court of Justice but the government has denied any wrongdoing.
He is currently being investigated by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) over his role in the sale of part of government shares in the airline but he filed a writ at the Human Rights Court praying the court to order the BNI to allow his lawyers to be present during questioning.

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