Tuesday, July 31, 2012
July 31, 2012 (Page 3 Lead) A former Minister of Education and Sports, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo today ended his testimony in the case in which a businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, is standing trial for allegedly defrauding the state to the tune of GHC51.2 million. He has since been discharged by the court, presided over by Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam. The court, however, indicated to Mr Osafo-Maafo that he might be recalled when the need arose. Mr Osafo-Maafo told the court he was ready to be recalled anytime but indicated he should be given enough notice. The lead lawyer for Woyome, Mr Osafo Buabeng, had earlier cross examined the witness who said he did not take steps to terminate the bidding process for the construction of new stadia at Essipon in the Western Region and Tamale in the Norhtern Region. He said although, Vamed Engineering, a company represented by Woyome had not been conclusive in its financial arrangements to finance the stadia project, he endorsed a review committee’s report and forwarded it to the Central Tender Review Board. Mr Osafo-Maafo said he could have but he did not reject the recommendations of the committee which reviewed the bid of Vamed/m-powapak and shortlisted them among 70 companies which bid for the project. In his evidence-in-chief, he said the two companies were among companies shortlisted for the stadium construction project but the process had to be terminated by Cabinet because a Chinese company named Shanghai Construction was prepared to construct the two stadia at a cheaper cost. Answering questions under cross examination at the court’s sitting in Accra today, the former Minister of Education said he neither wrote to the losers nor winners of the bid because the tender process was not completed. Asked if he was aware Woyome had been paid money through a court judgment, he said he was, just like every Ghanaian. Hearing continues on October 30, 2012 but Justice Ajet-Nasam urged parties in the case to be on standby because he might receive instructions to hear the case during the legal vacation period.
July 28, 2012 (Page 6) SCORES of sympathisers of the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Adamu Daramani Sakande, were today grief stricken when the MP was jailed two years for perjury. He was found guilty and convicted on three counts of false declaration of office or voting, perjury and deceiving a public officer. A cattle farmer, 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. The following are chronology of events: July 15, 2009 – The Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Mr Justice S. K. Asiedu ordered the MP to vacate his seat. It also declared that the MP owed allegiance to Britain other than Ghana and for that reason he could not hold a position as MP in Ghana. July 22 – Fast Track High Court dismissed a motion filed by MP, which prayed the court to stay execution of its order asking him to vacate his seat because he holds a dual nationality. According to the court, the MP had had ample time to file his defence in a suit challenging his dual citizenship, adding that the MP failed to convince the court on why he should be granted leave to file his defence. The MP appealed the High Court’s decision. Sakande 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 but was exonerated on six of those charges on July 8, 2010. March 18, 2010– Court of Appeal sets aside the Fast Track High Court’s order to the MP to vacate his seat. The court held that 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. In this particular case, the court held that the complainant had failed to meet that requirement. Aggrieved by the Court of Appeal’s decision, Mr Biebel went to the Supreme Court, which decided to take evidence from him. May 23, 2012- Supreme Court dismisses MP’s submission of no case after Biebel had testified and tendered in evidence documents to prove his claim that the MP was not a Ghanaian. The court ordered the MP to open his defence. In the substantive suit, Mr Biebel, prayed the court to declare that the MP should be ordered to vacate his seat because he was a British national and for that matter did not qualify to sit as an MP. He filed a complaint with the police challenging the nationality of the MP while the civil suit progressed. March 2, 2012, MP closed his defence and was ordered by the court to file his address. May 25, 2012 – Fast Track High Court directs prosecution to file address. July 13, 2012 – Fast Track High Court fixes date for judgment. July 27, 2012 – The criminal case is brought to a close and the MP was found guilty and convicted on all three counts of perjury, deceiving a public officer and false declaration of office or voting. The MP was defended by Yonny Kulendi and Egbert Faibille while a Principal State Attorney, Mr Anthony Rexford Wiredu prosecuted the case.
July 28, 2012 (Lead Story) The Fast Track High Court has sentenced the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Adamu Daramani Sakande, to two years' imprisonment for falsely holding himself as a Ghanaian in order to be elected MP. The MP, who was found guilty and convicted on three counts of false declaration of office or voting, perjury and deceiving a public officer, was whisked away at exactly 4:20 p.m. “It is the people of Bawku that I am thinking of,” he said in a shaky voice when he was being led away by armed policemen. The MP, who wore a dark suit, removed the jacket some few minutes after the court had convicted him. He had, during the reading of the judgement, looked fixedly at the judge and occasionally wiped his face with a white face towel, as if to ward off some stress, as the import of the court’s decision dawned on him. The trial judge, Mr Justice Charles Quist, also recommended that Stanley Opoku, a man who held himself as a lawyer in the United Kingdom and procured the fictitious documents for the MP in the MP’s bid to renounce his British citizenship, should also be prosecuted by the Attorney-General. In a five-hour, 20-minute judgement, Mr Justice Quist said, “I strongly suggest that the Defence Witness Two (DW2) be charged for the following: Abetment, forgery and perjury.” According to the court, Opoku, who testified on behalf of the MP in his own words to the court, stated that he was not a lawyer but had held himself as such in the United Kingdom and, in the process, prepared fictitious documents for the MP. The court described Opoku as “unworthy of credit” because although he had not been called to the Bar, he held himself as a lawyer. Sakande 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, but was exonerated on six of those charges on July 8, 2010. Citing more than 10 legal authorities and numerous books, including the Bible, to reinforce its decision, the court held that the prosecution had led enough evidence to prove the guilt of the MP beyond reasonable doubt. It said the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt that at the time the MP filed his nomination to contest the parliamentary election, he had not renounced his British citizenship. “His statement that he owes his allegiance to Ghana was false. In totality, the prosecution proved all ingredients,” the court held and further pointed out that the convict never renounced his British citizenship because the documents he tendered in evidence were not authentic. According to the court, the British High Commission had, in a letter dated July 30, 2009, stated that the MP was the holder of British passport number 094442659 which was issued on November 18, 2004 and was due to expire on November 18, 2014. It said the evidence available indicated that the MP was issued travel certificates by the British authorities in Burkina Faso because he (MP) had claimed he was a political refugee in the late 1980s but had failed to tell the court his immigration status for 12 years before being issued British travel documents in 1999. “For 12 years, while he was outside Ghana, there was no record on him on his immigration status. As of 1999, Ghana was practising democracy and if he was fleeing political strife, the country he fled should have been Ghana and not Burkina Faso, as stated in the travel documents,” it said. “By his own conduct, the accused person violated the International Convention by which he sought protection. If he claims he is escaping political persecution, the place he fled should be Ghana and not Burkina Faso,” it said, adding, “The accused person never renounced his British citizenship.” The court said there was evidence on record to prove that the MP used his British passport after acquiring a Ghanaian passport, a practice which, according to the court, was in violation of the Constitution. It stated that Article 92 of the 1992 Constitution, which barred certain public office holders, including MPs, ambassadors, service commanders, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director of Immigration and other high-ranking public office holders, from holding dual citizenship was “sacrosanct”. Consequently, it held that there was evidence beyond reasonable doubt that the MP swore an oath to the Bawku District Magistrate on October 14, 2008 that he was a Ghanaian citizen when he knew that to be false and, therefore, had deceived a public officer. It further pointed out that the convict obtained and submitted a statutory declaration that he owed allegiance to no other country but Ghana, signed it and published it in order to be elected into office, adding, “Those claims by the MP turned out to be false.” “The accused person made a false statement and failed to disprove evidence led against him by the prosecution,” the court held, and also questioned why the MP failed to bring a relative to prove his claim that he was, indeed, a Ghanaian. Lead counsel for the MP, Mr Yonny Kulendi, intervened after the court had found the MP guilty on all three counts and averted the court’s mind to the ailing health of the MP who had been on admission on heart-related complications a week earlier. He said the issue was not a matter that lent itself to easy resolution because from the court’s ruling, it was abundantly clear that Opoku had misled the MP and, therefore, prayed the court not to imprison the MP based on technical lapses. Mr Kulendi pleaded with the court to fine his client, but a Principal State Attorney, Mr Anthony Rexford Wiredu, drew the court’s attention to the fact that the charge of deceiving a public officer was a second degree felony which carried a maximum sentence of 25 years. The trial judge rose to his chambers at exactly 3:59 p.m. and returned in less than five minutes to hand down the sentence. Friends and sympathisers of the MP who were taken aback by the court’s judgement grouped around the MP and consoled him. Scores of armed policemen began trooping into the courtroom getting to the tail end of the court’s judgement. They whisked the MP away some few minutes after the judgement. The prosecution called four witnesses, while the MP called a witness to testify on his behalf. He also testified and denied any wrongdoing and produced documents to prove his claim that he had denounced his British citizenship, but the court found those documents fictitious and not credible. The Supreme Court, on May 23, 2012, dismissed the MP’s submission of ‘no case’ in a civil matter brought against him by a cattle farmer and ordered him to open his defence. The complainant in the case and 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. Aggrieved by the Court of Appeal’s decision, Mr Biebel went to the Supreme Court, which decided to take evidence from him.
July 26, 2012 (Page 3 Lead) PROCEEDINGS at the trial of Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the businessman at the centre of the GHø51.2 million judgement debt saga, were brought to an end at the Fast Track High Court Wednesday following the death of President J. E. A. Mills. The trial judge, Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam, who was taught by the late Law professor, led the court to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the late President who passed on at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra at exactly 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday. It emerged at the court’s sitting that one of Woyome’s lawyers, Mr Sarfo Buabeng, had also been taught by the late President. A former Minister of Education and Sports, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who was billed to appear to testify at the trial at the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court, also sent a message through the prosecution that he was too devastated by Prof Mills’s demise to appear in court. A Chief State Attorney, Ms Cynthia Lamptey, who conveyed the message, said Mr Osafo-Maafo had called to inform her some few hours before the case was billed for hearing that he was a former classmate and good friend of the late President and, for that reason, he was not emotionally ready to give evidence in Woyome’s trial. Woyome, who wore dark clothing in court Wednesday, had pleaded not guilty to two counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state and defrauding the state and is currently on a GH¢20 million bail. Following the conveyance of Mr Osafo-Maafo’s message to the court, the trial judge and members of the bar also paid glowing tribute to the late President. Justice Ajet-Nasam recounted that he had once attended a lecture on legal accountancy but had not understood a single point during the lecture. Faced with the difficulty of failing the paper, he said, he had approached late Prof Mills, who took him through the lecture point by point, as a result of which he scored an A in that particular paper. “He was my teacher and I mourn him,” Justice Ajet-Nasam sadly said, Another lawyer told the court that the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) had told lawyers not to work, all in memory of the late President. But the President of the GBA, Mr Frank W. K. Beecham, in an interview, denied that assertion. “We all mourn the demise of the President but there is no directive that no lawyer should go to court. I am just coming from court,” he said. Later in a telephone interview with graphic.com.gh,, Mr Osafo-Maafo, who is a former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said, “I was with him for seven years in Achimota from Form One to Upper Six. We were in Cadbury House. He was a good friend, top-class Arts student and also excellent in sporting activities.” “His death is a big shock to me,” he stated, and accordingly expressed his heartfelt condolence to Mrs Ernestina Naadu Mills, the late President’s siblings, his extended family and his fellow countrymen. “He is the father of the nation who spent all his life serving the country. He lectured for 25 years, moved on to serve the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), became the Vice-President and eventually President of the Republic and for that reason we should avoid politics and mourn him appropriately,” the former minister stressed. The trial of Woyome, which began in February this year, is expected to resume on Monday, July 30, 2012.
July 26, 2012 A former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ayikoi Otoo, has advised President John Dramani Mahama to immediately appoint a Vice President to avoid lobbying and power wrangling. In accordance with Article 66 of the 1992 Constitution, the then Vice President Mahama was sworn into office by the Chief Justice Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, six hours after President Mills had given up the ghost at the 37 Military Hospital. “It will be in the interest of the nation for the President to, as matter of urgency, appoint his Vice President because the earlier he does that the better it will be for Ghana,” Mr Otoo stated in a telephone interview with graphic.com.gh. He said Article 60 (10) of the 1992 Constitution mandated the President to nominate his Vice upon assumption of office subject to approval from Parliament. According to Mr Otoo, the grey area in this provision was the absence of a stipulated time for the appointment of the Vice President because the manner in which the provision was couched did not give the President a time limit to do that. To tackle such lapse, he pointed out that it was good the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) suggested 14 days within which the President could appoint his Vice but maintained that such provision was not law yet and could, therefore, not be applied. He said it was unfortunate for Ghana to lose a sitting President, and thus wished the former First Lady and the late President’s family well in these sad moments. “We have all lost a President and we must mourn him befittingly,” the former Attorney-General said. The whole country and the international community were thrown into a state of shock and grief when the Chief of Staff, Mr Henry Martey Newman, released a press statement announcing the death of Prof. J.E.A. Mills on July 24, 2012. Prior to that social media had been inundated with questions on whether or not it was true Prof. Mills had passed on. Telephone lines jammed immediately his death was announced as Ghanaians from both home and abroad made frantic calls to find out the truth or otherwise of the death of Prof. Mills.
July 25, 2012 (Front Page) THE Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has advised Ghanaians to act with dignity and allow the 1992 Constitution to operate following the death of President of the Republic of Ghana, Professor John Evans Atta-Mills. It also counseled Ghanaians to lend their support to Vice President John Daramani Mahama who has been sworn into office as President following the power vacuum resulting from the President’s death. In a brief interview with the Daily Graphic, the President of the GBA, Mr. Frank W. K. Beecham said “the death of the President is sad news for Ghana.” “Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved family and all Ghanaians. We urge Ghanaians to act with dignity in this sad moment and lend our support to Mr. John Mahama,” Mr Beecham continued. The death of the President, threw Ghanaians and the world into a state of shock. It took a number of minutes and numerous calls for some Ghanaians to come to term with the news of his death which is the first to be recorded in Ghana’s political history. Local and international news networks did not waste time in breaking the news of his death to the world. News of his death circulated in social media three hours before the Chief of Staff, John Henry Martey Newman issued a press release officially announcing the death of the President. While some wept on hearing the news, others remained mute and could simply not express their emotions. Thousands of messages poured in on social media including facebook, twitter, linked in, whatsapp and blackberry service among many others. Countless messages most of which bore Prof. Mills picture spoke of his person as a gentle, God fearing and honest. Even his ardent critics on social media expressed sadness of his death. They also wished his family well in these trying moments.
July 24, 2012 (Front Page) ALFRED Agbesi Woyome, the recipient of the controversial GHC51.2 million judgment debt has snubbed an invitation to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament. The PAC through a letter dated July 17, 2012, addressed to Woyome and signed by the Chairman of the PAC, Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, invited Woyome to appear before the Committee today, July 23, 2012 at 1.00 p.m. to answer questions pertaining to the payment of GHC51.2 million to him. A copy of the letter, which is available to the Daily Graphic also directed Woyome to furnish the committee with all documents concerning the payment of the judgment debt by close of work on Friday, July 20, 2012. However, Oseawuo Chambers and Co., a legal firm representing Woyome in a letter dated July 20, 2012, said “we are instructed by our client, Alfred Agbesi Woyome to inform you of his inability to appear before your committee to assist in its deliberations on the payment of judgment debts/compensation to some individuals and institutions as contained in your letter under reference.” According to the lawyers, Woyome was currently facing two counts of defrauding by false pretence and willfully causing financial loss contrary to specified provisions of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29). Besides, the letter went on to state that the Attorney-General had commenced an action to set aside the earlier consent judgement entered in favour of Woyome on grounds of fraud. “As you might be aware, Martin Alamisi Amidu, the former Attorney-General whose outbursts on the matter is unparrelled, has also filed a suit in respect of the same matter in the Supreme Court against our client and three other persons,” the letter continued. Expunging further, the letter stated that “the cumulative effect of all this is that, the very issue you intend to deliberate on is sub judice and our client will not take part in the proceedings relating to this matter before your committee.” The letter prayed the committee not to construe the stance of Woyome to mean an evasion on matters the committee intended to raise but rather as “his respect for the rule of law and the belief in the separation of powers provided by the 1992 Constitution.” A second prosecution witness, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who is a former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, has since completed his evidence-in-chief at Woyome’s trial and is currently being cross examined by Woyome’s lawyer, Mr. Sarfo Buabeng. Hearing of his criminal case continues on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 while the civil suit instituted against him by the state has been adjourned sine die to enable the Supreme Court to deliberate on an action brought against him by Mr. Amidu.
July 24, 2012 (Front page) Three senior lawyers have advocated the prosecution of persons who contribute to huge judgement debts against the public purse. The economy is currently reeling under a heavy burden of judgement debt claims which have hit the $2 billion mark and still counting. The President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Mr Frank W. K. Beecham, Mr. Vonny Kulendi and Mr Chris A. Ackummey are among Ghanaians calling for accountability and holding accountable those culpable for the huge judgement debts on the taxpayer. In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the GBA President said a way to deal with the issue was to hold persons responsible for the debts accountable. “We have to look at every case on its merit and decide whether or not the offenders have done their job well. If, for instance, it is a state attorney who has not done his job well, we should discipline him,” he said. According to him, the GBA could not take a position on the matter because in each case lawyer representing the plaintiff and the defendant were members of the association and the same standard of professionalism and strict adherence to ethics was expected of them. Mr. Kulendi said the rising judgement debt claims were “a clear symptom of a deeper disease that results from elite politicians and technocrats who care very little, if at all, about the country and the people”. He said the canker also stemmed from lack of knowledge, competence and skill on the part of technocrats who negotiated on the country’s behalf. “Transactions that involve negotiations and conclusion of deals, contracts, lending, borrowing, and financial engineering require certain skill sets in order to be able to cut a value for money Deal for the people of Ghana,” Mr. Kulendi said. “Do our elites, technocrats and public sector leaders possess these critical skill sets for negotiating these transactions? Do they care to possess them?” he questioned. He said Ghana would continue to have an uneven bargain when multinationals and foreign companies came to the table with superior and sharper skills, proficiency and experience and know more than politicians, technocrats or public sector leaders who represent the state with no sense of nationalism. According to him, it got even sadder when politicians defended multinationals, adding that “the average Ghanaian approaches government business with levity and indifference. That is why, in the same marketplace, the government pays more than the ordinary Ghanaian for every single item”. The other issue he raised was that there was a sub-culture in Ghana in which people saw political and public office as the easiest means to self-enrichment. He, therefore, suggested the need for the country “to train, develop and equip our people with the critical skill set for the global marketplace. Otherwise, our leaders will never bring us value for money”. He further suggested the need for Ghanaians to examine themselves and change their attitude to life particularly and the business of the country as a whole. Mr Ackummey said so long as some individuals put their personal interest above that of the state and acted arbitrarily in terminating contracts, judgement debt accumulation would be inevitable because the aggrieved party would certainly go to court. He proposed the prosecution of persons who had caused avoidable judgement debts on the state coffers to serve as a deterrent. He said Ghanaians must look at the issue from a nationalistic point of view to save the country from further reeling under needless judgement debts. Ever since the payment of GH¢51.2 million in judgement debt to the businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome was made public in December last year, a number of other judgement debts, have dominated public discourse. Eighty-six institutions and individuals benefited from such payments in 2010 alone. Among them were Balkan Energy Limtted (GH¢170,726), CP (GH¢ 180,0 12,982), African Automobile Limited (GH¢2,500,000), MS Rockshell International (GH¢7, 140,500), Latex Foam Limited (GH¢133,165), Novotel Limited (GH¢573,058) and Nene Yobo Asutsuare Sugar Factory (GH¢2,525,600). While the legal luminaries are calling for the prosecution of the people liable, some civil society organisations are clamouring for the setting up of a commission of inquiry into judgement debts. The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), the Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA), the Forum for Governance and Justice (FGJ) and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) have called for a nonpartisan national commission of inquiry to delve into the circumstances under which numerous judgement debts came about and how the settlements were arrived at. The institutions are of the view that apart from unraveling the problem, the commission of inquiry will also identify the systemic political governance failures that made the judgement debts possible and thereby make appropriate legal and policy recommendations to remedy the situation.
July 20, 2012 (Front) AFTER being hauled before four different courts on first degree felony charges for the past three months for allegedly pitting Ashantis against Gas and Ewes besides declaring war, the Member of Parliament for Assin North, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong was today arraigned before the Circuit Court charged with lesser offences. The MP has since April 17, 2012 being trundled between the Adjabeng District Magistrate Court where the magistrate declined jurisdiction; the Human Rights Court which granted him bail; the Fast Track High Court, which was billed to commence his trial and the Supreme Court where the prosecution had prayed it to quash proceedings at the Fast Track High Court. On July 4, 2012, the Supreme Court threw out the state’s application which prayed it to quash proceedings at the lower court hearing the MP’s case because according to the state, the court lacked jurisdiction. However, in a unanimous decision, the highest court of the land ruled that the action filed by the Attorney-General (A-G) was “unnecessary and extremely odd” because the law empowered the A-G to file a nolle prosequi to discontinue the processes at the lower court. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, the state filed a nolle prosequi on July 6, 2012 to discontinue proceedings against the MP before the court, presided over by Mr. Justice Charles Quist. Contrasting the commotion which erupted following his arrest on April 16, 2012, the MP was today arraigned on a low key at the Circuit Court charged with two counts of provocation of riot and offensive conduct. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted self recognisance bail after one of his lawyers, Mr. Frank Davis, had prayed the court to grant him bail because he was a man of repute, owned businesses and would comply with the bail terms. Mr. Davis also denied the prosecution’s assertion that the MP incited a particular group against the other. Counsel argued further that his client was not capable of declaring war and stressed that the MP did not own mass ammunition to do that. According to the lawyer, the MP would not cause war in his own country. A Principal State Attorney, Mr. Anthony Rexford Wiredu did not oppose bail and further pointed out that the accused person had so far conducted himself creditably. He explained that the MP appeared before the court on his own volition after he had been notified by the prosecution. The accused person was expected to reappear on August 23, 2012.
July 19, 2012 (Page 3 Lead) COUNSEL for two soldiers who were alleged to have murdered a former Northern Regional Chairman of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Alhaji Issa Mobilla, is praying the Accra Fast Track High Court to discharge his clients. In a submission of no case submitted to the court at its sitting in Accra today, Mr. Thaddeus Sory, is arguing that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against his clients to warrant the court to order them to open their defence. Corporal Yaw Appiah and Private Eric Modzaka were alleged to have played various roles resulting in the death of Mobilla on December 9, 2004 when the latter was in military custody for allegedly supplying guns and ammunition to the youth in Tamale to foment trouble. Appiah and Goka have pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy and murder while a third accused person, Private Seth Goka. Goka, is currently on the run. According to counsel for the accused persons, the prosecution failed to prove the essential ingredients of the crime of conspiracy to commit murder and murder. Counsel argued that at the close of the prosecution’s case, the evidence adduced was so manifestly unreliable that there was no basis for the court to call on the accused persons to open their defence. He said the prosecution could not adduce any evidence to prove that the accused persons conspired to cause the death of Mobilla adding that Modzaka was not present when the alleged assault on Mobilla took place. “There is no evidence whatsoever of the involvement of Modzaka in any conspiracy to murder the deceased. There is overwhelming evidence that he was not there. His plea of alibi remained iron cast by the time the prosecution closed its case. His witnesses on the plea of alibi appeared before the Board of Inquiry and confessed that Modzaka was not present when the deceased was brought and taken into military custody,” the 77-page document pointed out. According to the defence, the testimonies of two of the prosecution witnesses, who counsel described as star witnesses have been overly discredited throughout the trial that it would be appropriate for the court to discharge the accused person. The trial first began in March, 17 2010 before Mr. Justice Senyo Dzamefe and terminated by virtue of an order of the Supreme Court which prohibited Mr. Justice Dzamefe from continuing to preside over the trial. The present proceedings commenced June 22, 2011 before Mr. Justice M. H. Logoh.A total of nine witnesses were called by the prosecution.
July 18, 2012 (Page 3 Lead) A former Minister of Education and Sports, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo Tuesday informed the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court that Waterville did not fulfill its obligation to raise funds for the rehabilitation of three stadia for CAN 2008 tournament. He said Waterville failed to satisfy clause 17 of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which obligated the company to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the Kumasi, Accra and El-wak stadia. Waterville was then represented by Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the businessman, who is standing trial for allegedly defrauding the state to the tune of GHC51.2 million. The 14-paged MOU, which was dated September 30, 2005 also tasked CONSAR and Micheletti and Company to embark on the rehabilitation works. Led in evidence by a Chief State Attorney, Ms. Cynthia Lamptey, the witness told the court that following the inability of Waterville to raise the needed funds, the government at the time raised $50 million loan from the Barclays Bank to finance the project. He said the loan agreement between the government of Ghana and Barclays Bank was approved by Parliament. According to Mr. Osafo-Maafo, who is also a former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Waterville dealt directly with Bank Austria, the bank which was expected to fund the rehabilitation of the three stadia. The witness, who was subpoenaed to testify in the trial, also said construction of the Tamale and Takoradi stadia were funded from the Consolidated Fund. Justifying why the tender process for the award of contract for the construction of new stadia was cancelled, the former minister said the country saved more than $50 million when the contract was awarded to Shanghai Construction Limited. Asked if he had heard of or knew Astro Invest, Mr. Osafo-Maafo answered in the negative. The former minister told the court, presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam, that the accused person presented a bid on behalf of Vamed Engineering on July 4, 2005 and signed as the local representative of the company. Vamed Engineering was among a total of 70 companies which bid for the stadium but the procurement process was cancelled as Shanghai Construction Company Limited was willing to construct the stadia at a lesser cost because the government had decided not to exceed an amount of $40 million for each of the two projects. Mr. Osafo-Maafo said he later wrote a letter to the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) and requested to do sole sourcing for the stadium project in view of the time constraint and the need to meet the CAF deadline. The witness said the PPA gave approval to the sole sourcing and subsequently Shanghai Construction Limited which quoted $38.5 million for each of the two projects was awarded the contract. Earlier, the court, overruled the defence team’s objection to the tendering of photocopies of documents in the case. Answering questions under cross examination from lead counsel for Woyome, Mr. Sarfo Buabeng, the witness told the court that he had known Woyome from 2001 when he (Woyome) represented a foreign company in the construction of three hospitals in the country. According to Mr. Osafo-Maafo, the accused person acted as the facilitator to raise additional funds at the banks for the hospital projects. He said he also informed his colleagues during a cabinet retreat which cancelled the tender process for the award of contract for the stadium on the need to follow due procedure. The former minister said due process was followed when the contract was awarded through sole sourcing. He disagreed with counsel’s suggestion that cabinet acted in contravention of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) when it decided to call off the tender process. Hearing continues on July 23, 2012.
July 13, 2012 (Front Page) There was an interesting twist at the trial of Alfred Agbesi Woyome Thursday, when it emerged that VAMED Engineering (VE), the company which was represented by Woyome in the bid for stadium projects for the CAN 2008 had no interest in stadium construction. A letter dated September 7, 2005 addressed to the then Minister of Education and Sports (MOES), Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo said “Vamed Engineering (VE) is a company which is active in the sector of health care projects only and has no qualification and no interests in the award of contracts for stadia projects”. The letter, which was signed by the Managing Director of VE, Mr. P. Hallbauer and Legal Advisor of VE, Mr. K. Krammer said VE bid for the construction of six hospitals in 2003 when it heard of the CAN 2008 project, were awarded contracts but that could not be implemented because there were no funds. Mr. Osafo-Maafo, who tendered the letter in evidence at the sitting of the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court hearing the case of Woyome, who is accused of defrauding the state to the tune of GHC51.2 million, said the country saved $50 million after the procurement process which had shortlisted VE and m-powapak Limited as the companies to construct the two stadia was cancelled by Cabinet. Led in evidence by a Chief State Attorney, Ms Cynthia Lamptey, the former Minister of Education and Sports told the court that the two companies quoted $67.7 million and $60.2 million as the cost of the Takoradi and Tamale stadia respectively. He said the two companies were among a total of 70 companies who bid for the stadium project adding that Cabinet had a special meeting at Akosombo on July 27, 2005 to deliberate on the project. According to the witness, during the meeting, former President J. A. Kufuor mentioned a Chinese company which was willing to construct the stadia at a lesser cost because the government had decided not to exceed $40 million for each of the two projects. Mr. Osafo-Maafo said he later wrote a letter to the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) and requested to do sole sourcing for the stadium project in view of the time constraint and the need to meet the CAF deadline. The witness said the PPA gave approval to the sole sourcing and subsequently Shanghai Construction Limited which quoted $38.5 million for each of the two projects was awarded the contract. Mr. Osafo-Maafo, maintained that no contract was awarded VE and m-powapack. Counsel for Woyome, Mr. Sarfo Buabeng, objected to the tendering of a copy of the VE’s letter which denied bidding for the stadium project on grounds that it was a photocopy. The court, presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam overruled Mr. Buabeng’s objection thereby paving the way for Mr. Osafo-Maafo to tender in evidence, photocopies of other correspondence on the project. Woyome has pleaded not guilty to causing financial loss and defrauding by false pretence and is currently on a GHC20 million bail. Mr. Osafo-Maafo is expected to continue with his evidence-in-chief on July 17, 2012.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
July 7, 2012 (Lead story) THE State has dropped first degree felony charges against the Member of Parliament for Assin North, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, exactly 48 hours after the Supreme Court threw out its request to quash proceedings against the MP, who was standing trial at the Fast Track High Court for allegedly pitting Ashantis against Gas and Ewes. Initially 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, the MP is now faced with two counts of provocation of riot and offensive conduct conducive to the breaches of the peace. A Principal State Attorney, Mr. Anthony Rexford Wiredu, informed the Fast Track High Court presided over by Mr. Justice Charles Quist that the state had filed a nolle prosequi to discontinue the case against the MP. The court took into account the state’s request and accordingly discharged the MP at exactly 10:55 a.m. but the MP, who was clad in white linen apparel resumed his seat and waited for his lawyer, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo. Mr. Otoo emerged from the courtroom some few minutes after his client had been discharged, granted interview to journalists and later proceeded to the Police headquarters with the MP to give out a statement. Mr. Otoo told journalists that he had been served with the new charges leveled against his client and further pointed out the new charges “had nothing to do with the earlier gargantuan charges leveled against my client.” Mr. Otoo, who is a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice said the new charges against the MP were bailable. According to Mr. Otoo, the MP was likely to be arraigned before a lower court because the charges leveled against the MP were misdemeanor. The MP was alleged to have on April 13, 2012 incited Ashantis against Gas and Ewes as well as declared war on a private radio station, Oman FM. He was picked up on April 16, 2012, refused police enquiry bail and put before the Adjabeng District Magistrate Court on April 17, 2012 but the magistrate court declined jurisdiction over the matter. The Fast Track High Court on April 19, 2012, granted the MP bail in the sum of GH¢200,000 with one surety to be justified to the Assin North MP, who was also bonded to be of good behaviour until the final determination of the criminal action brought against him by the state. However, the state which put the MP before the Fast Track High Court later went to the Supreme Court praying it to quash proceedings at the Fast Track High Court because the court lacked jurisdiction. The Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out the state’s application which prayed it to quash proceedings against the MP. In a unanimous decision, the highest court of the land ruled that the action filed by the Attorney-General (A-G) was “unnecessary and extremely odd” because the law empowered the A-G to file a nolle prosequi to discontinue the processes at the lower court. It also reminded the state that it could without prejudice re-start the case against the MP after discontinuing the trial.
July 5, 2012 (Lead story) THE Supreme Courton July 4, 2012 threw out the state’s application which prayed it to quash proceedings at the lower court hearing the case against the Member of Parliament of Assin North, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, who is accused of pitting Ashantis against Gas and Ewes. The state moved an application for an order of certiorari to quash all the proceedings in the matter before the High Court, presided over by Justice Charles Quist because according to the state, the court lacked jurisdiction. However, in a unanimous decision, the highest court of the land ruled that the action filed by the Attorney-General (A-G) was “unnecessary and extremely odd” because the law empowered the A-G to file a nolle prosequi to discontinue the processes at the lower court. It further maintained that the court only granted an application for certiorari when an applicant did not have any alternative to remedy a situation but such was not the case in this instance as the A-G reserved the right to discontinue the case against the MP. It also reminded the state that it could without prejudice re-start the case against the MP after discontinuing the trial. The Assin North MP is facing 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 present in court and later emerged smiling after the court ruling. He is expected to appear before the lower court on Friday, July 6, 2012. Reading the decision on behalf of his colleagues, the presiding judge, Professor Justice S. K. Date-Bah said what the A-G sought to do was wrong in law because the A-G was inviting the Supreme Court to quash a process he had initiated and had the power to discontinue. Other members of the panel were Mr. Justice Julius Ansah, Mr. Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr. Justice N. S. Gbadegbe. Mrs. Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo, who is also a member of the panel was absent but consented to the unanimous decision of the court. The court held that the prosecution should not be allowed to take advantage of its own wrongdoing and further maintained that the court would not entertain such action. According to the court, it would be inappropriate for it to exercise its discretion by granting the state’s application when the A-G could not exhaust the powers conferred on him by law. It further held that it would be completely unnecessary to go into the merit of the case and subsequently dismissed the state’s application. Citing authorities to bolster its verdict, the court maintained that it had on numerous occasions spelt out the grounds upon which an application for certiorari must be granted and on this specific occasion, the state had failed to lay any foundation for its request to be granted. It said the application for certiorari was a discretionary power which was solely in the court’s bosom and could be granted by the court based on the conduct of an applicant. In this instance, the court held that the state appeared to be forum shopping and thereby, abusing the process. It, subsequently, refused to grant the state’s request but declined to award cost in favour of Agyapong. The Supreme Court was a classic scene of laughter on June 19, 2012 when prosecutors failed in their attempt to convince it on why they filed the application for certiorari to quash proceedings at the lower court. The court questioned whether there was any difference between the order that was being sought and the Attorney-General's power of a nolle prosequi. Prosecutors made several attempts to convince the court but only ended up drawing bouts of laughter from audience in the courtroom. Nevertheless, the court allowed the application to be moved by Mr. Anthony Rexford Wiredu, a Principal State Attorney who said the application for certiorari was grounded on the fact that the lower court assumed jurisdiction in a matter in which it did not have that power but the court reminded the state that it sent the MP to that court. A team of lawyers for the Assin North MP, comprising Mr. Ayikoi Otoo, Mr. Frank Davis and Mr. Ata Akyea, with Mr Otoo as lead counsel, opposed the application describing it as vexatious and an abuse of the court's process and ought to be dismissed. Mr Otoo argued that the state had alternative remedies which could be used to bring the proceedings before the lower court to a close and accordingly prayed the court not to allow the state to take advantage of its wrongdoing to apply for an order of certiorari. The lower court had on April 19, 2012, granted bail in the sum of GH¢200,000 with one surety to be justified to the Assin North MP, who was also bonded to be of good behaviour until the final determination of the criminal action brought against him by the state.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012 The Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) Limited is expected to begin the payment of GH57.631 tomorrow as compensation to farmers who lost their crops during boundary demarcation and topographic survey for a gas infrastructure project at Domunli in the Jomoro District in the Western Region. About 166 farms were affected during the boundary demarcation exercise for the gas project, which is estimated to cost $850 million. In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra Yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNGC, Dr Gerorge Dip-Adjah Yankey, said the crops lost during the demarcation exercise included cassava, coconut, oil palm and mango. He said the assessment was based solely on the number of farms lost, not on the number of farmers who lost their farms. For instance, it was found that some farmers owned more than a farm and for that reason it was more prudent to access the damage based on farmlands, not on individual farmers. He said the boundary demarcation was conducted by Rudan Engineering Limited, a licensed surveying company in Ghana, while the Western Regional Site Advisory Committee approved of the site plan for the gas infrastructure project on January 18, 2012. Dr Yankey further explained that the Land Commission carried out a crop enumeration and evaluation exercise and subsequently issued standard forms bearing names, passport photographs, geographic locations and technical descriptions of affected property of affected farmers. The CEO said the Land Valuation Division of the Lands Commission submitted a report on the project to the GNGC on May 8, 2012 for action. According to him, the GNGC was partnering with the Half-Assini branch of the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) for the issuance of bank payment orders, adding that cash payments were being discouraged for security reasons. He said farmers would be fully compensated for economic crops lost when the NGC started the LPG Tank Farm Project.
July 4, 2012 (Front page) THE judge presiding over the GH¢51.2 million fraud case against a businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, has taken a swipe at state prosecutors for failing to expedite the trial. Mr Justice John Ajet-Nasam of the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court also Tuesday questioned the seriousness of the state to prosecute the matter. “I am not pleased; I am not happy; I am disappointed,” he said, after a Chief State Attorney, Mr Matthew Amponsah, had announced to the court that the state could not bring a witness to testify, as had been expected, as a result of circumstances beyond its control. Mr Amponsah had prayed for an adjournment and stated that the prosecution intended to call witnesses who were employees of various companies that were involved in the transaction which had led to the loss of GH¢51.2 million. Woyome is facing two counts of defrauding by false pretences and causing financial loss to the state. The accused, 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. The Deputy Head of the Legal Department at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), Mrs Mangowa Ghanney, was the first prosecution witness. She was discharged after she had completed her evidence-in-chief and, subsequently, been cross-examined by the defence. According to Mr Amponsah, the witnesses had not been within the jurisdiction for a long time and that the prosecution had access to them on a short notice after the last adjourned date on June 14, 2012. The Chief State Attorney told the court that in the course of prosecution’s interaction with the potential witnesses, the witnesses drew prosecution’s attention to the existence of some valuable documents which, according to him, might be relevant in the course of the trial. He said the documents were not readily available because of the brief notice and for that reason the prosecution needed a short adjournment to prepare fully for the next hearing. One of the lawyers for Woyome, Alhaji Musah Ahmed, said the decision to adjourn was entirely within the discretion of the trial judge. Visibly disappointed, Mr Justice Ajet-Nasam reminded the prosecution that it had indicated during the last hearing that it did not know the defence would finish cross- examining Mrs Ghanney, otherwise it would have brought a witness along. He expressed great disappointment at the prosecution’s posture and wondered if the state was ready and willing to prosecute the case. He advised the prosecution to do its best for the country and recessed the case to July 12, 2012.
July 11, 2012 (Centre Spread) Twelve students of the University of Ghana (UG), who were accused of sexually assaulting an alleged female thief on campus have been discharged by the Accra Circuit Court for want of prosecution. The students and pockets of family members and friends, who were present in court Tuesday, exited the courtroom visibly excited. The students who had been charged on three counts of conspiracy to commit crime, assault and causing unlawful harm were discharged by an Accra Circuit court. They wereFrancis Wiredu Attah, Tornu Mark Dickson, Morris Awuregya, Nana Osei Asiamah, Gideon Agyei Ayiridaga, Gabriel Aboyadana Amobila, Godfred Afeatse, Evans Addai Boateng and Obed Banini, Alexander Aryee, Benedicta Boamah Brohen and Jason Bomah Amponsah. Counsel for the students, Mr. Rockson Defiamekpor, prayed the court at its sitting in Accra Tuesday to grant his clients their freedom because according to him, the case had been pending in the court for the past 16 months and the prosecution had not shown any indication of prosecuting it. The presiding judge, Ms Sedinam Agbemava, subsequently discharged the students and indicated that the prosecution reserved the right to re-arrest and prosecute the students anytime. The prosecutor in the case, Mr. Kofi Blagodzi, who arrived in court after the students had been set free informed the court that the docket on the case had been forwarded to the Attorney-General’s office for advice. According to him his outfit was yet to receive the advice from the A-G’s office but the court stated that the prosecution was at liberty to re-arrest the students when it was ready to prosecute them. The facts of the case were that early last year some students of the university were captured on video manhandling a lady they accused of stealing a laptop and a mobile phone. They allegedly stripped her naked and inserted their fingers into her private parts as she tried in vain to stop the assault. The lady named only as Amina was rescued by one security officer at the university.
July 10, 2012 (Page 20) A BUSINESSMAN, Mr. Ransford France, has dragged the Electoral Commission (EC) to the Supreme Court over its intention to create new constituencies. He is challenging the power of the E. C. to go ahead with the creation of new constituencies without first laying before Parliament, a constitutional instrument indicating clearly the mechanism, formula or modalities by which it intended to undertake that exercise. The Attorney-General has been joined to the suit, which was filed on behalf of the plaintiff by his lawyer, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame on July 6, 2012. The reliefs being sought by the Supreme Court include a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Articles 23, 51 and 296 (c), the EC, in the exercise of its functions and discretionary power in creating new constituencies, was required to make by Constitutional Instrument, regulations not inconsistent with the Constitution or any other law to govern the exercise of its discretionary power. The plaintiff is praying for an order to compel the EC to adhere to rules set out in the 1992 Constitution in its bid to create new constituencies. He is also pleading with the court to uphold that failure by on the part of the EC to make the Constitutional Instrument referred to was a breach of the fundamental human rights of all eligible voters. The court is also being invited to perpetually restrain the EC from laying before Parliament any Constitutional Instrument creating new constituencies and or revoking the Representation of the People (Parliamentary Constituencies) Instrument, 2004 [C.I. 46], until it lays before Parliament a Constitutional Instrument which clearly sets out the processes to be adopted by the EC. The plaintiff also prayed the court to restrain the EC from carrying out its intention of creating new districts until the hearing and final determination of the matter. A date is yet to be fixed for hearing of the matter.
July 10, 2012 (Page 20) A BUSINESSMAN, Baffour Osei-Akoto, is challenging the creation and inauguration of 48 new districts across the country at the Supreme Court. The plaintiff is praying the court to declare as unconstitutional the creation of about 48 districts and 16 municipalities by His Excellency the President. He is entreating the court to declare that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 11 (7) and Article 241 of the 1992 Constitution, thePresident acted in excess of the powers conferred on him by the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) by making the Creation of Districts Instrument, 2011 (E. I. 80), the Creation of Municipalities Instrument, 2011 (E. I. 81) as well as the Declaration of Municipalities Instrument, 2011 (E. I. 82) and subsequently gazetting same without laying same before Parliament; Mr. Osei-Akoto is further requesting the court to rule that the inauguration of the new districts and municipalities was inconsistent with and in contravention of Article 11 (7) of the 1992 Constitution. The suit which was filed on behalf of the plaintiff by his lawyer, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, is urging the Supreme Court affirm as null, void and of no effect the districts and municipalities created and declared by the Creation of Districts Instrument, 2011 (E. I. 80), the Creation of Municipalities Instrument, 2011 (E. I. 81) as well as the Declaration of Municipalities Instrument, 2011 (E. I. 82), as having been made in contravention of Article 11 (7) of the Constitution, 1992 The plaintiff is also pleading with the court to restrain the Minister for Local Government any other organ of state from recognizing the existence of districts and municipalities created by E. I. 82 as well as order other relief the court might deem fit. According to the plaintiff, the facts underpinning the invocation of the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court were borne out of enactment of E. I. 82. The statement of claim accompanying the writ said on November 22, 2011 the President purportedly acted in accordance with the powers conferred on him by Section 1 (2) of the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462), made three (3) instruments: the Creation of Districts Instrument, 2011 (E. I. 80), the Creation of Municipalities Instrument, 2011 (E. I. 81) as well as the Declaration of Municipalities Instrument, 2011 (E. I. 82). It said all the instruments were gazetted on the November 25, 2011 and various districts and municipalities created were in existence now and have been inaugurated, although, none of the instruments was laid before Parliament. The contention of the plaintiff was that the gazetting of the instruments in question without the laying of same before Parliament, was in flagrant contravention of Article 11 (7) of the 1992 Constitution. The plaintiff further submitted that the coming into force of those districts and municipalities and their subsequent inauguration, was also unconstitutional and accordingly invoked the original jurisdiction of the court for the grant of the reliefs prayed for.
July 7, 2012 (Page 3 Lead) The Accra Fast Track High Court Friday adjourned the dual citizenship trial of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Adamu Dramani Sakande, to July 13, 2012. The court adjourned it to enable the defence team to study an address filed by the prosecution in the case. It is expected to fix a date for judgement on the next adjourned date. The prosecution called four witnesses, while the MP called a witness to testify on his behalf. He also testified, denied any wrongdoing and produced documents to prove his claim that he had denounced his British citizenship. At the court’s sitting in Accra Friday, a Principal State Attorney, Mr Rexford Wiredu, announced that the prosecution had filed its response to the defence team’s address, but counsel for the MP, Mr Egbert Faibille, prayed the court to give the defence a week to study the prosecution’s address. He also indicated the preparedness of the defence to file a response to the prosecution’s address should the need arise. The court, presided over by Mr Justice Charles Quist, obliged and directed the defence to file its response before the next hearing. The court had, on May 11, 2012, given the prosecution two weeks to file its address following the submission of a written address on behalf of Sakande by his lawyer. 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. The Supreme Court, on May 23, 2012, dismissed the MP’s submission of ‘no case’ in a civil matter brought against him by a cattle farmer. He is expected to open his defence on July 16, 2012. The 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. 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. But the Supreme Court held otherwise. Mr Biebel is also the complainant in the criminal action against the MP at the Fast Track High Court.
July 7, 2012 (Front page) It emerged at the Commercial Court's sitting in Accra on Thursday that Parliament acted in contravention of the 1992 Constitution in July 2008 when it ratified a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) on the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone without the President's signature. According to an inter-ministerial committee which was set up in May 2009 to review the sale of Ghana’s 70 per cent shares in Ghana Telecom to Vodafone, then President J. A. Kufuor appended his signature to an agreement between Vodafone UK and Ghana Telecom, while Parliament ratified an agreement between Vodafone International of Holland and Ghana Telecom. The Director of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Communications, Mr Issah Yahaya, read out the committee’s findings, dated September 2009, to the Commercial Court, presided over by Mrs Justice Gertrude Torkonoo, and further stated that Parliament was answerable to the Constitution, not vice versa. The committee also recommended that the numerous lapses encountered in the SPA rendered the agreement null and void. Led by counsel for the six plaintiffs who are challenging the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone, Mr Bright Akwetey, the witness said the committee found the SPA inimical to national interest and, therefore, made a number of recommendations aimed at protecting the national interest. Hearing continues on July 9, 2012. The Commercial Court is taking evidence for onward delivery to the Supreme Court to enable the Supreme Court to determine whether or not the sale of GT to Vodafone was constitutional. 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. 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 in GT to Vodafone or any other foreign company without first exploring avenues for funding and better management in Ghana, among others. In the substantive suit, 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.