Saturday, February 20, 2010 (Page 14)
THE three-year legal tussle between the Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) and the National Lottery Authority (NLA) has hit a dead end following the refusal of the Supreme Court to overturn its affirmation of the outlaw of private lotto in the country.
The seven-member review panel of the Supreme Court by a unanimous decision dismissed the GLOA's application which prayed the court to review its decision which upheld the National Lotto Act (Act 722) which, in practicality, had banned private lotto in the country.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba with Ms Justice Sophia A. Akuffo, Professor S. K. Date-Bah, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr Justice P. Baffoe-Bonnie and Mr Justice B. T. Aryeetey, said there was no mischief on the part of the NLA as alluded to by the GLOA.
"In view of the intractability and abuse of the process indulged in by the applicants, we award GH¢10,000 costs against each applicant in favour of the respondent," the court ordered.
The applicants in the case, namely GLOA, Obiri Asare and Sons Limited, Rambel Enterprise Limited, Agrop Association Limited, Dan Multi-Purpose Trading Enterprise Limited, Star Lotto Limited and From-Home Enterprises, have indicated that they would petition the government because of the huge number of jobs that would be lost following the court's decision.
According to the applicants they did not enter into any form of negotiations with the NLA on the surrender of their equipment.
“Where there are no terms, much more terms determined through negotiations between the parties..., any order of this honourable court that allows the NLA to seize the property of the GLOA amounts to a fundamental or basic error on the part of this honourable court, which will occasion a miscarriage of justice,” the application for review pointed out.
According to the application, the ruling of the court amounted to allowing the NLA to carry out its threat against the GLOA.
The applicants had stated in their application that they were likely to suffer greater hardship when the NLA was given the free hand to take over their equipment when no terms had been agreed upon or adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction but the court held a different view and accordingly dismissed their application.
However, the court dismissed their claims and stated that "there is no subsisting of mischief which this court needs to redress in the interest of justice as at now."
The Supreme Court, on July 22, 2009, quashed an order by the Accra Fast Track High Court which gave the nod to private lotto operators to operate in the country and maintained that the lower court exceeded its authority by allowing the applicants to operate private lotto business in the country.
The General Secretary of the GLOA, Mr Seth Amoani, told reporters that an executive council meeting would be held to deliberate on the next line of action.