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30.04.2007 General News

Court rules on A-G’s contempt case May 15

By myjoyonline

The Fast-Track High Court has adjourned to May 15, 2007 its ruling on the contempt motion against the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joe Ghartey.

Mr. Kojo Hodare-Okae, former Deputy Director Operations of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), is seeking the court to commit the minister for contempt for failing to comply with orders of the High Court of May 27, 2005.

Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie set the new date for ruling on Thursday after indicating that the decision was not ready and also cited power outage due to the load shedding exercise.

At the last hearing, Mr. Akoto Ampaw, counsel for Hodare-Okae submitted that following the judgment of the court two years ago, he had had several discussions on the matter with the Attorney General for a resolution of the matter.

He noted that the Attorney General had up to date refused to ensure that the judgment of the court was complied with.

The Attorney General, Mr. Akoto Ampaw noted, kept assuring the applicant that he would comply with the court order but failed to do so.

He submitted further that it was the Attorney General who should carry the burden of the executive, indicating that his client ought to have a place to access his retirement benefit.

In his response, the Attorney General, Mr. Joe Ghartey, noted that the application before the court was flawed.

He stated that the order of reinstatement was never made against him, adding that the applicant had not been able to show that the order made by the High Court in May, 2005 had been disobeyed by him.

He said since a contempt suit was a quasi-criminal matter, there should have been a prima facie case against him before the applicant filed the processes.

He noted that as of January 27, 2007 when applicant reached his compulsory retiring age, he had never made any attempt at filing for a certificate of judgment to get him reinstated and the President was not in the capacity to reinstate him now.

The Attorney General submitted further that applicant's counsel filed a certificate of judgment when he knew he had retired, adding that the President did not have the power to reinstate him after he had attained his retirement age of 60 years.

Continuing with his submissions, Mr. Ghartey held that the court order did not indicate that the applicant be reinstated even after his retirement age of 60 years.

He further noted that attaching him to the contempt case was misconceived.

Additionally, he noted that if the purpose of the application was to seek entitlement then Mr. Hodare-Okae should see the Controller and Accountant General and not the Attorney General.

He further stated that the President did not pay entitlements, but rather that was done by a central body manned by the Controller and Accountant General.

The Attorney General noted that the application was made to embarrass him and emphasized that it was misconceived and misdirected.

In June 2004, Mr. Hodare-Okae issued a writ against the Attorney General, as the chief legal advisor of the Government of Ghana, the Minister for the Interior and the GIS, seeking a declaration that his purported transfer from GIS to the Ghana Free Zones Board was tantamount to dismissal and was therefore wrong and in contravention of the 1992 Constitution.

He further sought for the restoration of all his salary and entitlements that went with his rank as Deputy Director of GIS from the time of his purported transfer to date of final judgment.

Also he sought for an order of reinstatement as Deputy Director of GIS as well as damages for wrongful dismissal.

The court, on May 27, 2005, granted Hodare-Okae his reliefs with nominal damages and cost of 30 million cedis after a full trial.