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19.04.2007 General News

A-G responds to contempt case


The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Mr Joe Ghartey, was in court on Wednesday to answer a contempt suit filed against him and the Minister of the Interior, saying the application sought to attack his image.

According to him the application was flawed and misplaced, adding that the court's earlier order to reinstate Mr Kojo Hodare Okae, former deputy director of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), was not directed to the A-G.

He was responding to a contempt suit filed against him and the Minister of the Interior for failing to re-instate Mr Okae.

Mr Okae on September 5, 2002 received a letter signed by the then Acting Interior Minister Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor informing him that the President had transferred him from GIS to the Ghana Free Zone Board (GFZB).

When Mr Okae proceeded to GFZB he realised that he had no role to play and was not accepted by the Board.

Mr Okae said after exhausting all available avenues, and in view of the frustrations, he sought redress from the court, which gave judgement in his favour in 2005. The court declared that Mr Okae be reinstated in the public service.

On January 27, this year Mr Okae reached his compulsory retirement age.

Responding to the affidavit and motion filed by Mr Okae, Mr Ghartey noted that issues relating to reinstatement should have been done by the President and not the Attorney General.

"The president does not pay entitlements. All that the applicant ought to do was to notify the Controller and Accountant General of his entitlements," he argued.

He said the judgement of the court did not put him out of public service, and instead of him going to the right place for reinstatement he rather went to wrong places.

Mr Ghartey said the Controller and Accountant General was to work Mr Okae's entitlements and not the Attorney General adding that the certificate of judgement was not served on the A-G.

He said as at the time the applicant had reached 60, he had not served the certificate of judgment on the A-G, adding that the attachment of the A-G in the contempt suit was directly misplaced.

In an affidavit in support of a motion, Mr Okae pointed out that he had made efforts to get the A-G to comply with the court order but he had refused to comply.

He said he had reached his retiring age in January this year, without being posted anywhere in the public service.

"The attitude of the A-G clearly shows a determination on his part to use state power arbitrarily to trample upon my rights," he said.

Mr Akoto Apaw who represented Mr Okae admitted that the Court order was directed to the President but said since it was the A-G who enforced the powers of the Executive it was relevant to attach him to the contempt application.

The Court after listening to both applications adjourned the matter to April 26 to rule on the matter.

Source: GNA