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11.04.2007 General News

Hodare Okae seeks A-G’s incarceration

By myjoyonline

An Accra Fast Track High Court would next week Tuesday hear a contempt motion filed by lawyers for Mr. Kojo Hodare Okae, former Deputy Director of Operations of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), that would see two cabinet Ministers in the dock.

Veteran human rights Lawyer, Mr. Akoto Ampaw, would be heard on the day as counsel for the applicant, on the contempt motion seeking the High Court to commit the Attorney General and Minister of Justice (A-G), Mr. Joe Ghartey to prison for, 'blatant refusal to comply with an earlier judgment of the High Court delivered on May 27,2005.'

Interior Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, has also been attached in the contempt case together with the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for any other order or orders that the High Court may decide.

Mr. Hodare-Okae's affidavit attached in support of the motion filed on March 26, states that on September 5, 2002, he received a letter signed by the then Acting Interior Minister, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, informing him that the President had transferred him from the GIS to the Free Zones Board (FZB).

He indicates in the sworn affidavit that he later realized that his transfer to the FZB was a complete hoax, as the FZB had no role for him to play and refused to accept him in that establishment.

The plaintiff contends that in view of the fact that the FZB was not ready to accept him and the frustration he was going through, he petitioned, as he put it in his affidavit, “every senior official of government whose functions may have bearing on this case," but to no avail, including letters written to the Minister of Interior, Chief of Staff and Senior Minister, Mr. J.H. Mensah.

The affidavit continues that in view of the frustrations, solicitors of the plaintiff filed a writ and a statement of claim against the A-G, the Interior Minister and the GIS.

In the said writ, the reliefs sought by Mr. Hodare-Okae included a declaration that his transfer was tantamount to dismissal and for that matter wrongful, the restoration of all his salaries and entitlements from the time of his transfer to the time of the writ, an order for his reinstatement as Deputy Director of the GIS and aggravated damages for wrongful dismissal.

"After a full trial, the High Court gave judgment in my favour against defendants directing that: Plaintiff be reinstated in the public service where the President so directs, provided plaintiff suffers no loss of salary or allowances he was receiving as Deputy Director of GIS, including utility bills inuring to his position in the public service, from September 2003 to date when he is restored to government payroll."

The affidavit states that the judgment that was delivered by His Lordship, Justice Baffoe Bonnie in 2005, also awarded nominal damages of 30 million cedis and costs of 30 million cedis.

The affidavit for the contempt motion avers that the A-G is the proper person to be served with judgment process where the defendant in a case is the government and adds that although the A-G was served with entry of judgment on the matter since April 4, 2006, 'he has failed and refused in contemptuous disregard of the Court's judgment to comply with same.'

Mr. Hodare-Okae also points out in his affidavit, efforts he had made to get the A-G to comply with the Court's ruling without employing the coercive powers of the Court, indicating that he had had his solicitor write letters to, as well as have meetings with, the Minister, which have still not gotten the Minister to comply.

He said he reached his retiring age on January 22,2007 without having been posted anywhere in the public service, a situation he traces to the refusal of the defendants to comply with the ruling of the Court.

"The attitude of A-G, clearly evinces a determination on his part to use state power arbitrarily to trample upon my rights in complete contempt of the judgment of this Court unless forced by the coercive powers of the Court to comply thereto," he concludes.

Culled from The Chronicle