17.07.2006 Social News

Court Dismisses Contempt Suit Against Minister, Forestry Commission Officials

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An Accra Fast Track High Court on Monday dismissed an application for contempt filed against Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines and 11 officials of the Forestry Commission (FC).

In its ruling, the Court said the capacity of the applicant was in doubt, noting that Mr Richard Asante Bediako, who claimed to be the Vice Chairman, GATEX, had no authority to bring the case against the Forestry Commission.

According to the Court, the Applicant did not hold any executive position within the Association.

It noted that when the respondents raised issue on the Applicants position in the Association he did not dispute it.

On the writ of service, the Court noted that the Commissions Lawyers were not served, adding the FC Chief Executive Officer received his writ of summons on midday of the day of bidding.

Ghana Association of Forest Plantation Wood Millers and Exporters (GATEX) had filed a contempt suit against Professor Fobih and the others for conducting a competitive bidding despite a notice of interlocutory injunction on the bidding process.

Mr Asante Bediako filed on behalf of the Association.

GATEX had earlier filed a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction restraining the respondents from conducting competitive bidding for the Plantation Timber on Friday, April 21.

The respondents/defendants included Mr Augustine Arthur, Director of Timber Rights and Adjudicating Unit of the FC; Mr Nobel Biney, Director in Charge of Finance and Administration, FC and Mr Peter Boateng, Acting Executive Director FC.

Arguing the contempt suit, Mr Adjei Lartey, counsel for GATEX, said the respondents were aware of the interlocutory injunction but went ahead with the bidding.

According to Mr Lartey there were several publications in the newspapers, which the respondents/defendants could have read. He referred to an interview granted by Professor Fobih in the Daily Graphic in which he described the bidding process as being transparent and the best.

Mr Lartey contended that the Minister's excuse that he was not aware of any court process should not be accepted.

He prayed the Court to allow him to bring his witnesses to support his claims since the onus lay on him to prove his case before the respondents argued their case.

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