Wednesday, June 27, 2012
June 14, 2012 (Page 14)- An out of court settlement of a dispute between the suspended Deputy General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Kofi Adams and his party has failed. The Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Mr. Justice S. K. Asiedu on May 10, 2012 ordered Mr. Adams and the party to settle their differences and report back to the court yesterday, June 13, 2012. However, parties in the matter informed the court at its sitting in Accra yesterday that they could not settle the matter and for that reason the court should proceed with hearing of the suit filed against the party. Counsel for Mr. Adams, Mr. Stanley R. K. Ahorlu, told the court that efforts to settle the dispute had been unsuccessful and further stated that a notice of appeal filed by Mr. Adams against the court’s order had been withdrawn. Replying, lawyer for the NDC, Mr. Samuel Cudjoe said he was not aware Mr. Adams had withdrawn the notice of appeal. He said the NDC was a peaceful party which wanted its estranged members including Mr. Adams back into its fold. Mr. Justice Asiedu said he was not aware Mr. Adams had withdrawn his appeal and accordingly urged him to notify the registrar of the Court of Appeal of his decision to discontinue the appeal. The matter was adjourned to June 27, 2012. Although, parties in the dispute were not willing to go for arbitration, the court, on May 10, 2012 stamped its authority and ordered them to settle their differences. According to the court, Section 7 sub-section 5 of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act gave it the authority to order disputing parties to arbitrate. The court said the NDC Constitution also gave feuding parties an alternative to resort to internal dispute resolution mechanisms. In this instance, the court held that it had found the parties did not exhaust the NDC dispute resolution mechanism. The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC suspended Mr. Adams on March 22, 2012 over an alleged plot in a leaked telephone conversation to run the party down in the upcoming December elections but Mr. Adams sued the party and prayed the court to declare his suspension as null and void. In the substantive suit, Mr. Adams, who is also the Spokesperson for former President Jerry John Rawlings, is requesting the court to declare his suspension null and void because due process was not followed by the NEC. Mr. Adams was suspended for allegedly planning to ensure that President Atta Mills does not win the 2012 elections, as allegedly captured on an audio recording. He was alleged to have noted on the said audio recording: “Atta Mills is not a person going to be president of this country after he finishes with his first term. Whatever it takes for him to go to opposition we’ll do it.” He has, however, denied the voice being his and sued the party in which he is, among others, seeking a declaration from the court that his suspension from the NDC was a severe measure imposed by the defendant without due process and contrary to the rules of natural justice. Mr. Adams is also seeking a declaration that his suspension was void, inoperative and of no effect. He is also praying the court to award general damages and cost.
June 14, 2012 (Page 3 Lead) The Supreme Court has put to rest a long-standing boundary dispute between the Greater Accra and the Eastern regions by declaring Akuse part of the Lower Manya District in the Eastern Region. Akuse has been at the centre of a dispute between the Dangme West District, now the Shai Osudoku District, in the Greater Accra Region and the Lower Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region following the decision of the Parliamentary Committee on Subsidiary Legislation to place the Akuse Electoral Area under the Dangme West District in the Greater Accra Region, a move which infuriated the authorities and residents of the Manya Krobo Traditional Area. In its judgement at its sitting in Accra Wednesday, the highest court of the land declared as null and void the decision of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Subsidiary Legislation which placed the Akuse Electoral Area under the Dangme West District in the Greater Accra Region. It said Parliament was procedurally wrong in enacting the LI because the action contravened Article 11 (7) of the 1992 Constitution and subsequently declared the original version of the LI which placed Akuse under the Eastern Region as valid. In November 2010, a Parliamentary Sub-Legislating Committee, acting on the Local Government (Creation of New District Electoral Areas and Designation of Units) Instrument, 2010 (LI 1983), realigned six electoral areas — Zongo New Town, Akutua, Osukute, Bungalow, Amedeka and Salon — at Akuse, originally part of the Lower Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region, to Dangme West in the Greater Accra Region. Following that decision, two individuals, Mr Charles Mate Kole and Nene Azago Kwesitsu I, in December 2010 sued the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Attorney-General on the grounds that LI 1983 sought to alter boundaries between the Greater Accra and the Eastern regions. The two, through their lawyer, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, contended that the Osukute, Bungalow, Akutua, Zongo New Town, Amedeka and Salon Electoral areas (previously part of the Lower Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region, as per the specification made by CI 46 of 2004) were now part of the Dangme West District in the Greater Accra Region and that action, according to them, was unconstitutional. The court, presided over by Justice William Atuguba, upheld reliefs sought by the plaintiffs and, accordingly, declared as null and void the designation of Akuse as part of the Greater Accra Region. In a unanimous decision, the court declined to rule on a dispute raging between two chiefs connected to the boundary dispute. According to the court, it only had the power to deal with the constitutional aspect of the suit and emphasised that it was the regional houses of chiefs which had the mandate to determine chieftaincy matters. The applicants had, in the substantive matter, prayed the court to declare that the action to alter the boundaries between the two regions was in excess of the powers conferred on the Minister of Local Government by sections 3 and 4 of the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462). They also pleaded with the court to declare that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 241 (2) and Article 5 of the Constitution, Parliament acted in excess of its powers by approving, adopting and enacting LI 1983. The plaintiffs also prayed the Supreme Court to declare as null and void and of no legal effect LI 1983, which eventually altered the boundaries between the Greater Accra and the Eastern regions, as well as declare as null and void and of no legal effect the second column of LI 1983, which related to the specification of the Osukute, Bungalow, Akutua, Zongo New Town, Amedeka and Salon Electoral areas as part of the Dangme West District. The Attorney-General, however, denied that the Minister of Local Government embarked on an exercise to alter boundaries between the Eastern and the Greater Accra regions. The defendant also prayed the court to take into consideration the statute and social needs of the community, the economic exigencies of the time and other factors, adding, “The Osudoku people need to keep their cultural identity as one people and the law must be used in the sense to further the cause of this unity and not to disintegrate them.” Other members of the court were Prof Justice S. K. Date-Bah, Justice Julius Ansah, Justice Sophia Adinyira, Justice Jones Dotse, Justice Annin Yeboah, Justice P. Baffoe-Bonney, Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
June 13, 2012 (Front Page) A lawyer at the Legal Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Mrs Mangowa Ghanney, Tuesday told the Fast Track High Court that there was no contract between a businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, and the government to warrant the latter to pay him GH¢51.2 million. She said she had also sighted a letter which said Woyome was to provide some services for the government at no cost. Testifying in the trial in which Woyome is facing two counts of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state, Mrs Ghanney said a treasurer at the ministry had also queried who the GH¢51.2 million should be paid to because aside from Woyome, a business entity called Astro Investment was also laying claim to the money. Woyome, who has denied any wrongdoing, is alleged to have made fraudulent claims to the government, resulting in the payment of the GH¢51.2 million to him. Woyome and three others — Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh, a Chief State Attorney; Paul Asimenu, the Director of Legal Services at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and Mrs Gifty Nerquaye-Tetteh, Nerquaye-Tetteh’s wife — were standing trial for their various roles leading to the fraudulent payment of GH¢51.2 million to Woyome. Woyome faced three counts of conspiracy, defrauding by false pretence and corrupting a public officer. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges. However, on June 5, 2012, a Chief State Attorney, Ms Cynthia Lamptey, filed a nolle prosequi to discontinue the action against the accused persons and, accordingly, prayed for their discharge. The trial judge, Justice John Ajet-Nasam, obliged the state attorney and, accordingly, discharged all four accused persons and struck out the case. Woyome was, however, re-arrested some few minutes later and slapped with the two fresh charges. Giving her evidence-in-chief, Mrs Ghanney told the court that the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, sent a letter to the Ministry of Finance requesting that 22 million euros be paid to Woyome. But the ministry refused to pay. According to her, the Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, referred the letter to her (Mrs Ghanney) for study but she could not advise on it because she was due to travel outside the country within a short period, adding that other lawyers had already advised on the matter. She said she did not have sufficient time to counter what other lawyers had advised on but stated that payment was made after Woyome had secured a default judgement from the High Court. Mrs Ghanney, however, stated during cross-examination by Mr Osafo Buabeng, counsel for the accused, that she would be surprised if full payment had been made because it was procedurally wrong for payment to be made while a civil case was pending. The witness said because the amount involved was huge, she took Woyome and his lawyer to the office of the Director of Budget, where it was agreed that the money should be paid in three instalments. Witness said she had not seen the default judgement and further pointed out that no other payment was made, aside from what was stated in the default judgement. Counsel: Are you aware the recommendation for the payment of the money was not done in a vacuum? Witness: I am not sure. Counsel: When was the first instalment paid? Witness: I do not know because I was not part of the payment process. Counsel: Is the default judgement still in effect? Witness: From the media it is still in force. I am not well versed in the civil matter. Mrs Ghanney stated that she was not officially aware that the Attorney-General had taken civil action against Woyome in respect of the GH¢51.2 million transaction, adding that she got to know of that matter through the media. Hearing continues.
June 12, 2012 (Page 20) THE Court of Appeal will on July 19, 2012 decide whether or not to stay proceedings in a criminal matter brought against a former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng and seven others over award of contract for renovation works at the ministry. Counsel for two of the accused persons, Mr. Augustines Obour, filed an application for stay of proceedings pending the outcome of an appeal he filed against the Fast Track High Court’s ruling that the law mandated Chief State Attorneys to retire at age 65. Asamoah-Boateng, his wife, Zuleika and seven others have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the State. Other accused persons are Kofi Asamoah-Boateng, former Director of Finance, Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Frank Agyekum, a Former Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, Dominic A. Y. Sampong, Former Acting Chief Director, Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Kwabena Denkyira, a Deputy Director of Finance and Administration of the Ministry, Prosper Arku of Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited and Yasmine Domua, a businesswoman. Also in court is Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited, an entity. The accused persons are alleged to have conspired to defraud the State of GHC86,915.85 in renovation works undertaken at the Ministerial Block of the Ministry during Asamoah-Boateng’s tenure in office. They have all pleaded not guilty and admitted to GHC10,000 bail each with a surety. Mr. Obour, who is the lawyer for Kofi Asamoah-Boateng and Sampong, had argued that the then prosecutor in the case, Mr. Anthony Gyambiby had no locus to continue prosecuting the case because he had attained the compulsory retirement age of 60 and for that reason, had no authorization to continue with the case. However, the Accra Fast Track High Court on April 30, 2012 dismissed the application and said the Legal Service Act pegged the retirement age of Chief State Attorneys at 65 and accordingly dismissed a motion which questioned the retirement age of a Chief State Attorney, Mr. Anthony Gymabiby, who was prosecuting a criminal case against a former Minister of Information and eight others. According to the court, Mr. Gyambiby, who has been nominated by the President as a Deputy Minister of Justice, will attain the compulsory retirement age on November 28, 2012 and not on November 28, 2007 as was argued by the applicants. The court, presided over by Mr. Justice Charles Quist, subsequently, declined to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation. Dissatisfied with the Fast Track High Court’s decision, Mr. Obour filed an appeal and subsequently filed an additional motion praying the court to stay proceedings in the criminal matter until the final determination of his clients appeal. In his application for stay of proceedings at the lower court, Mr. Obour said his appeal had a chance of success and for that reason, his clients would suffer irreparable loss if the Court of Appeal did not stay proceedings at the lower court. Meanwhile, the Fast Track High Court has adjourned hearing in the case to July 23, 2012. END.
June 12, 2012 (Page 20) THE Head of Contract Management at the National Communications Backbone Company (NCBC) has informed the Commercial Court in Accra that he was not aware the national fibre optic cable was not part of assets expected to be acquired by Vodafone. According to him, he had not read the full report on the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) which according to counsel for seven persons challenging the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone, did not include the national fibre optic cable. Answering questions from Mr. Bright Akwetey, Mr. Asare said he was also not aware Vodafone was expected to acquire 70 per cent of Ghana Telecom shares and not the national fibre optic cable. The NCBC, which until 2008 solely owned the fibre optic cable, now owns 30 per cent shares while Vodafone owns 70 per cent of the cable which is sold to mobile network operators and licenced internet service providers. He said the NCBC, which was responsible for managing the national fibre optic cable currently shared offices with Vodafone. He said the National Grid Company (GRIDCO) currently maintained the fibre optic cable and had since 2008 been paid a little in excess of $1.3 million. Earlier, a lawyer at the Volta River Authority (VRA), Mrs. Angelina Dormakyaare, told the court that VRA set up Voltacom to commercialise its excess fibre optic cables in order to earn money for the country. He said the nature of the business was to carry signals to companies in the communication sector. The Head of Visa Fraud and Documentation Unit of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr. Francis Baah, tendered in evidence minutes of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) from 2001 to date. A former Minister Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Joe Ghartey, was present in court following the issuance of a subpoena but he could not testify because he was yet to receive a copy of the SPA for study. Mr. Akwetey, promised the former Minister or his lawyer, Mr. Frank Davies, with a copy of the SPA to enable him testify later. Hearing continues on June 18, 2012. The plaintiffs in the matter, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa and five others, sued the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited and the Registrar General over the sale of Ghana Telecom 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. They are also seeking an order declaring that the forcible grouping of autonomous state institutions established by law — Voltacom, Fibreco, VRA Fibre Network and VRA Fibre Assets — with GT to form the purported Enlarged GT Group was unlawful and, therefore, void and of no legal effect. The plaintiffs are further praying for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the government from disposing of its 70 per cent share of GT to Vodafone or any other foreign company without first exploring avenues for funding and better management in Ghana, among others. The plaintiffs are contending that the SPA entered into among the Government of Ghana, GT and Vodafone for the sale of 70 per cent of GT for $900 million was against the public interest and constituted an abuse of the discretionary powers of the government. They said they were opposed to the unlawful establishment of the said Enlarged GT Group, as it undermined the sovereignty of the country and endangered the national security of Ghana. According to them, the decision of the government to transfer the assets, properties, shares, equipment, among others, to Vodafone was obnoxious, unlawful and inimical to the public interest, particularly when no consideration was required to be paid by Vodafone for the stated assets. The plaintiffs argued that the three Ministers of State and the managing director of GT who signed the agreement on behalf of the government did not exercise the requisite level of circumspection required of them as public officers in relation to public property. END.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
May 12 (Page 3 Lead) The Accra Fast Track High Court has given the prosecution in the dual citizenship trial of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central two weeks to file its address. The court gave the date after Mr Egbert Faibille, lawyer for the MP, Adamu Daramani Sakande, had submitted his written address on behalf of the MP. Mr Faibille indicated the intention of the defence to file its response to the prosecution's address. The court, presided over by Justice Charles Quist, had, on April 27, 2012, directed Mr Faibille to file his address on or before May 11, 2012. The MP was, on July 31, 2009, arraigned before the court charged with nine counts relating to his nationality, perjury, forgery of passport, election fraud and deceiving public officers to be elected as an MP. He was, however, exonerated on six of those charges on July 8, 2010. He is currently facing three charges of false declaration of office or voting, perjury and deceiving a public officer. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has fixed May 23, 2012 as the date to rule on the submission of ‘no case’ in the civil matter brought against the MP. The court fixed the date after parties in the matter had filed their written addresses and informed the court that they did not have additional issues to file. A cattle farmer, Mr Sumaila Biebel, in March 2009, filed a suit at the High Court challenging the eligibility of the MP on the grounds that the MP held both British and Burkinabe passports and the High Court, in a default judgement on July 15, 2009, ordered the MP to vacate his seat. Dissatisfied with the High Court’s decision, counsel for the MP appealed against it, resulting in the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, declaring that Mr Biebel should have gone by an electoral petition, since the matter bordered on electoral dispute. Under the law, all matters relating to electoral disputes are to be heard as electoral petitions and those petitions are to be heard 21 days after the results of the elections have been declared. Aggrieved by the Court of Appeal’s decision, Mr Biebel went to the Supreme Court, which decided to take evidence from him. He has since testified and been cross-examined by Mr Faibille. The defence filed a submission of ‘no case’ after Mr Biebel had completed his evidence-in-chief and been cross-examined. According to the defence, Mr Biebel had failed to fully comply with the rules of evidence and, for that reason, there was no evidence before the Supreme Court. It said the standards for submitting exhibits had not been met by Mr Biebel and for that reason the court should strike out his case. Mr Biebel is also the complainant in the criminal action against the MP at the Fast Track High Court.
May 11, 2012 (Page 12) The Accra Fast Track High Court today ordered the suspended Deputy General Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Kofi Adams and his party to resolve their differences. Although, parties in the dispute were not willing to go for arbitration, the court, presided over by Justice S. K. Asiedu, stamped its authority and ordered them to settle their differences. It also directed them to report the outcome of the arbitration on June 13, 2012. The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC suspended Mr. Adams on March 22, 2012 over an alleged plot in a leaked telephone conversation to run the party down in the upcoming December elections but Mr. Adams sued the party and prayed the court to declare his suspension null and void. Counsel for Mr. Adams, Mr. Stanley R. K. Ahorlu, expected the court to deliver its summary judgement in the matter at its sitting in Accra Thursday but he was disappointed when the court directed his client and the NDC to go for an out of court settlement. Mr. Ahorlu and counsel for the NDC, Mr. Samuel Cudjoe, had prayed the court to rule on the matter but the court ruled that it had observed the parties had not exhausted clauses for dispute resolution as spelt out in the NDC Constitution. According to the court, Section 7 sub-section 5 of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act gave it the authority to order disputing parties to arbitrate. The court said the NDC Constitution also gave feuding parties an alternative to resort to internal dispute resolution mechanisms. In this instance, the court held that it had found the parties did not exhaust the NDC dispute resolution mechanism. There was a hot exchange between the lawyers but the presiding judge brought them to order and informed them that nothing would stop the court from ensuring that due procedure was followed. In the substantive suit, Mr. Adams, who is also the Spokesperson for former President Jerry John Rawlings, is requesting the court to declare his suspension null and void because due process was not followed by the NEC. Mr Adams was suspended for allegedly planning to ensure that President Atta Mills does not win Election 2012, as allegedly captured on an audio recording. He was alleged to have noted on the said audio recording: “Atta Mills is not a person going to be president of this country after he finishes with first term. Whatever it takes for him to go to opposition we’ll do it.” He has, however, denied the voice being his and sued the party in which he is, among others, seeking a declaration from the court that his suspension from the NDC was a severe measure imposed by the defendant without due process and contrary to the rules of natural justice. Mr. Adams is also seeking a declaration that his suspension was void, inoperative and of no effect. He is also praying the court to award general damages and cost.
May 10, 2012 (Page 3 Lead) The Supreme Court Wednesday adjourned to May 23, 2012 to deliver its judgement on whether or not it was appropriate for Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the current Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), to purchase a government bungalow. The court had, on February 29, 2012, slated May 9, 2012, as the date for delivery of its judgement after parties in the matter had submitted their written addresses. However, the court, presided over by Justice William Atuguba, announced at its sitting wednesday that it was unable to deliver its judgement because one of its panel members was indisposed. The other panel members present were Justice Sophia Akuffo, Professor Justice S. K. Date-Bah, Justice Annin Yeboah, Justice Vida Akoto Bamfo and Justice N. S. Gbadegbe. 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. 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 court, in a unanimous decision, argued that although the case passed for a land case, which fell 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 a state property, including articles 20 (5) and 20 (6) of the 1992 Constitution. It held that it had jurisdiction by law and precedents to hear the case, which bordered both on constitutionality and public interest. In 2008, Mr Okudzeto-Ablakwa and Dr Boamah 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 Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey’s action contravened articles 20 (5) and 20 (6) of the Constitution 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 on 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 objection and proceeded to receive written submissions from the parties in the case.
May 8, 2012 (Lead Story) - The Fast Track High Court has given the Ghana Police Service and two others 14 days to reinstate five policemen who were dismissed in March 2011 for alleged misconduct. It also ordered the Police Service, its Central Disciplinary Board and the Attorney-General to reinstate the five policemen in their various offices and positions with full benefits and emoluments before the commencement of the disciplinary proceedings. It also prevented the respondents from taking any steps to eject the applicants from their official residences and further awarded total costs of GH¢2,500 against the respondents. Each applicant benefitted from a GH¢500 cost. The five — General Lance Corporals Isaac Annan, Dominic Amezah, George Akoi, Anthony Adjei and Collins Ohemeng — were dismissed in March 2011 by the Central Disciplinary Board of the Ghana Police Service for various acts of misconduct, neglect of duty, conspiracy to take part in an unauthorised operation, making false entries in an official document, among others. The five policemen, who were alleged to have gone on an unauthorised operation with Lance Corporal Ekow Russel, were, in July 2007, put before the Greater Accra Regional Tribunal but the charges were withdrawn against them. However, Lance Corporal Russel, who was alleged to have given unspecified amounts of money to the five applicants, is currently serving a 12-year jail term. His accomplice, Maxwell Antwi, who pleaded guilty to the charge of possessing a narcotic drug without lawful authority, cited Russel as the supplier of the narcotic drug. They were both convicted on March 24, 2011 but Antwi died in detention some time later. Following developments in relation to the roles the five applicants allegedly played in the unauthorised operation on January 15, 2007, the Central Disciplinary Board of the Ghana Police found the applicants guilty of misconduct and other offences and subsequently dismissed them. Dissatisfied with the board’s decision, the five applicants filed an application for a judicial review, citing breaches of the rules of natural justice, lack of jurisdiction and error of law based on the records available. Ruling on the application for a judicial review, the court, presided over by Justice K. A. Ofori-Atta, held that the Central Disciplinary Board breached laid down procedure as stipulated in the regulations governing the Police Service. It held that the regulations stated that officers investigated by the board must not be below the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police, adding that the appointment of a senior police officer to hold a service enquiry in respect of the applicants was procedurally inappropriate. It, accordingly, declared the entire proceedings, as well as the decision by the senior officer who presided over the enquiry, as null and void. Citing authorities to reinforce its decision, the court held that all acts, directives, signals and orders in respect of or in consequence of the said decision were void and of no legal effect. Consequently, it directed the respondents to reinstate the applicants within 14 days of the receipt of the court order. It also restrained the respondents from interfering with the status of the applicants or ejecting them from their residences or barracks or classes in which they were immediately before the disciplinary proceedings.
May 5, 2012 (Front page) THE Accra Fast Track High Court on May 4, 2012 granted two weeks adjournment to enable the state receive the docket on the case involving the New Patriotic Member of Parliament (NPP) Member of Parliament for Assin North, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, who is alleged to have pitted Ashantis against Gas and Ewes and declaring war. The court granted the adjournment after a Chief State Attorney, Ms. Merley Wood, had informed it that the police were yet to forward the docket on the MP’s case to her outfit for study and advice. She also cited the inability of the police to have access to the MP for investigations because he was not reporting to them due to the fact the Fast Track High Court presiding over his case did not order the MP to report to the police when it granted him bail in the sum of GHC200, 000 with two sureties on April 19, 2012. The court, presided over by Mr. Justice Charles Quist, averted its mind to the prosecution’s prayer for an adjournment and subsequently adjourned the case to May 23, 2012 but was silent on whether or not to order the MP to report to the police on a particular day or days. Agyapong, who wore a locally designed outfit smiled and interacted with sympathisers when he entered the courtroom at 10:18 a.m. The large crowd which besieged the court premises on April 19, 2012 when the MP was first arraigned before the Fast Track High Court was missing at the court’s sitting in Accra today. Pockets of supporters were spotted around the court premises which was heavily guarded by armed policemen detailed there to maintain law and order. Although, the MP was charged with three counts of treason felony, attempted genocide and engaging in terrorism act for allegedly inciting Ashantis against Ewes and Gas as well as declaring war on April 19, 2012, Ms. Wood, informed the court that the police had not referred the docket on the case to her outfit for advice and study. The lead counsel for the MP, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo, expressed surprise at the prosecution’s statement that the police was yet to refer the docket on the case to the Attorney-General’s office. He, therefore, questioned the basis upon which the MP was charged and put first before the Adjabeng District Magistrate and consequently, the Fast Track High Court. He reminded the court and the prosecution that his client was duly charged, his plea taken and facts of the case read to the hearing of all present at the Adjabeng District Magistrate and Fast Track High Courts on April 18 and 19, 2012 respectively. Mr. Otoo argued that the prosecution generated the facts of the case and even added that nine vehicles were destroyed at the Police Headquarters when Agyapong was arrested on April 16, 2012 following his alleged intemperate comments. Meanwhile, Mr. Agyapong’s lawyers on April 24, 2012 discontinued an application which had prayed the Human Rights Court to order the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to produce the MP. Following his continuous incarceration, his lawyers filed an application for habeas corpus praying the court to order the IGP to produce the MP in court. The court presided over by Mr. Justice Kofi Essel-Mensah, obliged, granted the MP bail on health grounds and ordered the IGP to produce the MP and explain to the court why the MP should continuously be kept in detention. Barely four hours after the MP had been granted bail, he was hauled to the Fast Track High Court charged with three counts of treason felony, attempted genocide and engaging in terrorism act for allegedly inciting Ashantis against Ewes and Gas as well as declaring war. He was, however, granted bail by Mr. Justice Quist. In granting the bail, the court also bonded the MP to be of good behavior until the final determination of the criminal action against him. As a result of the grant of bail to the MP, one of his lawyers, Mr. Andy Appiah-Kubi, went before the Human Rights Court and expressed the decision of the applicant to discontinue the application for habeas corpus. The application was subsequently struck out. END.
May 1, 2012 (Page 22) THE Commercial Court in Accra on April 30, 2012 ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear the State’s motion praying it to review GHC500 cost it awarded against it for failing to start a civil case between it and a businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome. It, however, decided to stay proceedings in the hearing of the application pending the outcome of an appeal Woyome has filed against its decision which allowed the state to introduce fresh evidence. The court on March 26, 2012 awarded the GHC500 cost against the State after it failed to commence hearing of the civil matter as directed by the court. Discontented with the GHC500 cost, the state filed the motion praying the court to review its decision but one of the lawyers for Woyome, Mr. Sarfo Buabeng, argued that the state filed the motion under the wrong rule. He submitted that the Court of Appeal was the appropriate forum for hearing of such motions and accordingly prayed the court to strike out the motion. However, the court, presided over by Ms. Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, held a different view and stated that it had jurisdiction to hear the motion for review of the cost it awarded against the state. Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has adjourned sine die, an appeal against the Commercial Court’s decision to grant the state leave to file additional issues of fraud against Woyome to enable parties in the matter to serve the necessary papers in the case on each other. In the substantive appeal, Woyome said, although, the state had instituted the legal action in July 2010, it “went to sleep until January 16, 2012, when it filed a motion on notice for leave to amend by substitution the amended writ of summons and the accompanying amended statement of claim.” According to his lawyers, the trial judge erred in law in granting the state the permission to introduce evidence of fraud almost two years after the state had filed a suit to retrieve moneys paid him. According to Woyome the state could raise the issue of fraud but argued that the state could not raise any other issue or relief of which will re-open matters concluded in the consent judgement resulting in the payment of the GHC51.2 million to him. He said it was, therefore, wrong in law for the court to allow the state to re-open issues which had already being tackled in the consent judgement. In his supporting affidavit, Woyome argued that “in an action charging fraud, it would be a clear impropriety for the plaintiff (state) to re-open its case.” Woyome, who is currently standing trial at the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court for fraud is accordingly praying the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings at the Commercial Court pending the outcome of his appeal. The state on July 20, 2010 filed an application claiming an agreement it reached with Woyome regarding the payment of GHC51.2 million was a mistake. It, however, stayed dormant until January 2012 when it filed additional issues praying the court to allow it to introduce allegations of fraud against Woyome. The court granted the state’s application on February 29, 2012 but awarded GHC2,000 against it for delaying the matter. The Attorney-General (A-G) is currently in court seeking an order for the refund of the judgement debt of GH¢51,283,480.59 paid to Woyome because it was procured by fraudulent means. Among the reliefs contained in the writ filed at the Registry of the Commercial Division of the High Court, Accra, on Monday, January 16, 2012 is a declaration that the terms of settlement filed on June 4, 2010, to the effect that Mr Woyome should be paid the sum in three equal instalments of GH¢17,094,495.53, were procured by mistake on the part of the A-G and due to fraudulent misrepresentation by Mr Woyome. Additionally, the A-G is seeking a declaration to set aside the consent judgement of the court on the grounds that Mr Woyome had no contract with the government and consequently lacked a cause of action and the capacity to make the said claim in any court of competent jurisdiction among others. In his amended statement of defence and counter-claim, Woyome has denied that the negotiation of the judgement obtained by him on May 24, 2010 was arrived at by mistake on the part of the A-G and that after he had obtained the judgement, he was invited by the A-G to a meeting on May 27, 2010. As a result of meeting, an agreement was reached that the judgement debt be steeled by the payment of GH¢41,811,480.59 as the judgement debt of five million euros or its cedi equivalent. The amount represented half of the interest awarded by the court and costs of GH¢25,000. END.
May 1, 2012 (Page 22) The Accra Fast Track High Court Monday ruled that the law mandated Chief State Attorneys to retire at age 65. It said the Legal Service Act pegged the retiring age of Chief State Attorneys at 65 and, accordingly, dismissed a motion which questioned the retiring age of a Chief State Attorney, Mr Anthony Gyambiby, who was prosecuting a criminal case against a former Minister of Information and eight others. According to the court, Mr Gyambiby, who has been nominated by the President as a Deputy Minister of Justice, will attain the compulsory retiring age on November 28, 2012, not November 28, 2007 as was argued by the applicants. The court, presided over by Mr Justice Charles Quist, subsequently declined to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation. A former Minister of Information, Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, his wife, Zuleika, and seven others have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the state. The other accused persons are Kofi Asamoah-Boateng, a former Director of Finance, Ministry of Information and National Orientation; Frank Agyekum, a former Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation; Dominic A. Y. Sampong, a former acting Chief Director, Ministry of Information and National Orientation; Kwabena Denkyira, a Deputy Director of Finance and Administration at the ministry; Prosper Arku of Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited, and Yasmine Domua, a businesswoman. Also in court is Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited, an entity. The accused persons are alleged to have conspired to defraud the State of GH¢86,915.85 in renovation works undertaken at the Ministerial Block of the ministry during Asamoah-Boateng’s tenure of office. They have all pleaded not guilty and admitted to GH¢10,000 bail each, with a surety. Counsel for Kofi Asamoah-Boateng and Sampong, Mr Augustines Obour, had argued that Mr Gyambiby had no locus to continue prosecuting the case because he had attained the compulsory retiring age of 60 and, for that reason, had no authorisation to continue with the case. An affidavit in support of the motion challenging the retention of Mr Gyambiby as the prosecutor in the case said Mr Gyambiby was born in Ghana on November 28, 1947. It said the prosecutor was 64 years old and that in 2007 Mr Gyambiby had attained the age of 60 and, therefore, retired from public service. It stated that Mr Gyambiby could be engaged on contract basis by the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department through the Public Service Commission as a consultant or contractor based on contract but not as a Chief State Attorney. Arguing for the state, a Principal State Attorney, Mr Anthony Rexford Wiredu, said Mr Gyambiby attained the age of 60 on November 28, 2007 and during that period he had an accrued right which was automatic to continue prosecution to the age of 65. Mr Wiredu pointed out that PNDC Law 320 gave Mr Gyambiby the mandate to retire at age 65, in the same vein as a High Court judge.