Jake's Bungalow Case - Ruling Deferred To May 23
5/11/2012 7:31:17 AM -
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.