February 23, 2010 (Page 3 Lead)
THE Supreme Court has given a Commercial Court judge hearing the litigation over the sale of Ghana Telecom (now Vodafone) 14 days to comply with the necessary legal steps before referring the matter to it for interpretation.
Within the 14-day period, the lower court is expected to summarise the case involving Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa and five others who sued the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited and the Registrar-General over the sale of GT to Vodafone.
According to the Supreme Court, the judge did not comply with Rule 67 of CI 16, which states that “a reference to the court for the determination of any question, cause or matter pursuant to any provision of the Constitution or of any other law shall be stated by the court below or by the person or authority making the reference”.
The Commercial Court judge, Mr Justice Henry Kwofie, is expected to state the specific issues in the case to the Supreme Court for determination, as well as state any findings of fact he might have made when the matter was before him.
The court, presided over by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina T. Wood, made the order when it emerged that the High Court judge had not complied with aspects of Rule 67 of CI 16.
Other members of the panel were Mr Justice William A. Atuguba, Professor Justice S. K. Date-Bah, Mr Justice S. A. Brobbey, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr Justice Jones Dotse and Mr Justice B. T. Aryeetey.
The Commercial Court, in November 2009, referred three issues on the constitutionality or otherwise of the sale of Ghana Telecom to the Supreme Court for determination.
The issues included whether or not aspects of the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) dated July 3, 2008 and executed among the government of Ghana, Vodafone International and Ghana Telecom contravened the 1992 Constitution and, therefore, rendered the agreement void.
Also referred was the issue on whether or not any procedural, substantive errors and defects in the SPA were or could be cured through parliamentary ratification.
The third issue referred for determination by the Supreme Court was whether or not an agreement executed by the government and ratified by Parliament could be challenged at the High Court.
On October 23, 2009, the judge decided to refer aspects of the suit which bordered on the constitutionality or otherwise of the sale to the Supreme Court for interpretation, with the explanation that it was the sole preserve of the Supreme Court to interpret issues bordering on the Constitution.
The plaintiffs in the matter, Prof Akosa and five others, sued the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited and the Registrar-General over the sale of GT to Vodafone.
The other plaintiffs, who are all members of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), are Mr Michael Kosi Dedey, Dr Nii Moi Thompson, Naa Kordai Assimeh, Ms Rhodaline Imoru Ayarna and Mr Kwame Jantuah and they are calling for a declaration that the sale of GT is inimical to the public interest.
They are, therefore, seeking reliefs from the court, including a declaration that the agreement entered into by the government was not in accordance with due process of law and is, therefore, a nullity.