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28.03.2007 General News

Court orders Minister's arrest

By myjoyonline

The Fast Track High Court in Accra has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Deputy Minister of the Interior, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu.

The Chronicle newspaper says the arrest order issued on Tuesday by Justice Victor Offoe followed the Deputy Minister's persistent refusal to honour court sittings over a contempt of court case brought against him by three auctioneers.

The contempt case against the deputy minister who is also the Chairman of the Auctioneers Registration Board followed his failure to comply with an earlier judgment ordering him to renew the Auctioneer Licenses of the three to enable them operate in the country.

For the third time since February 21, 2007 when the motion for contempt was served on him, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu has failed to attend court sittings.

The motion, initially moved by the counsel for the applicant on February 19 this year with subsequent hearing dates on March 13 as well as March 27 saw neither the Deputy Minister of Interior nor his lawyer, the Attorney General in court to answer for the case.

An order issued by the court on March 13, this year indicated that the Attorney General who has the responsibility of defending "such persons" be served with the court documents and if the respondent and his counsel fail to appear in court the case will proceed.

An affidavit signed by Alhaji Abdullah K.S. Williams on behalf of his two other co-applicants, Ben Wojogbe and Calvis Okine in support of their application to commit the Deputy Minister for contempt of court, noted that the court's judgment dated November 15, 2005 pronounced them as qualified auctioneers.

Applicants indicated further that the court made an order directing the Board to renew their licenses which the latter blatantly refused to comply with and on the contrary warned them by a letter dated January 31, 2006 not to practice as auctioneers for as long as their licenses had not been renewed.

According to the applicants, the refusal of the board to renew their licenses was a deliberate attempt in "response to what Board members considered to be an affront to their power" for being hauled before the court.

In furtherance of their arguments, the applicants were of the view that members of the Auctioneer Registration Board seem to be of the opinion that if the licenses were renewed, they (applicants) would have monopoly over the auction sale business in the country to the disadvantage of "quack auctioneers who were in the good books of the board".

Source: The Chronicle

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