Tuesday, June 26, 2012
REINSTATE COPS - Court orders police
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Lance Corporal Ekow Russel, were, in July 2007, put before the Greater Accra Regional Tribunal but the charges were withdrawn against them.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.