March 2, 2012 (Page 3)
The Supreme Court will on May 9, 2012 decide whether or not to evict Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the current Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) from government bungalows.
The court fixed the date after parties in the matter had announced to the court that they did not have new issues to file in connection with the case.
A Deputy-Minister of Information, Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa and a Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr Omane Boamah dragged Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey to the highest court of the land over his purchase of a government bungalow in Accra.
The panel to decide the fate of Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey is presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba with Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, Mr Justice S. A. Brobbey, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo as members.
Those representing parties in the case are Mr Kwabla Senanu for the applicants, Mr R.O. Solomon represented Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey while Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice represented the state.
The applicants were present but Mr Obstsebi-Lamptey was absent.
In November 2011, the court dismissed Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey’s preliminary objection which argued that the court had no mandate to hear a case brought before it by the applicants in respect of his right to purchase a government bungalow.
The nine-member court, in a unanimous decision, argued that, although, the case passed for a land case, which falls within the domain of the High Court, the plaintiffs were not laying claim to the property in question but rather seeking an interpretation of several provisions of the Constitution regarding the ownership of state property, including Articles 20 (5) and 20 (6) of the 1992 Constitution.
Presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba, the court agreed that it had jurisdiction by law and precedents to hear the case which bordered both on constitutionality and public interest.
Other members of the court were Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, Mr Justice S. A. Brobbey, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Mrs Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Baffoe Bonnie, Mr Justice B.T. Aryeetey and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto Bamfo.
However, Mr. Justice Ansah later replaced Mr Justice Aryeetey.
In 2008, Mr Ablakwa and Dr. Boamah, Deputy Ministers of Information and Environment, Science and Technology respectively, brought the action against Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey, who was then the Minister of Tourism and National Orientation, seeking a declaration from the court that he had no right to buy the bungalow at No 2 Mungo Street in the Ridge residential area he was occupying at the time.
The plaintiffs had argued that the action of Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey contravened Articles 20 (5) and 20 (6) and smacked of cronyism and gross abuse of discretional powers of a public officer.
However, Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey raised a preliminary objection, saying the court had no mandate to hear the case.
His argument was that the right procedure was for the plaintiffs to apply to the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), if they thought he was abusing his office by applying to purchase the bungalow.
However, the Supreme Court held otherwise and accordingly dismissed the case.