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16.04.2008 Crime & Punishment

Jail Adjiri-Blankson! For failing to eject hawkers, businessman pleads with court

By The Statesman

The Mayor of Accra, Stanley Adjiri Blankson and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly have jointly been cited for contempt for failing or refusing to carry out the judgment of an Accra Fast Track Court given on April 10, 2006.

On the said date, the court had ordered among other things the eviction of hawkers on the Knutsford Avenue and ordered the Accra Metropolitan Authority to provide vehicular access to the Knutsford Avenue. The court also restrained the AMA from ever converting the Knustford Avenue into a market for hawkers.The contempt of court application was brought by Labib Seraphim, owner of the Seraphim Department Store and Seraphim House, a six storey commercial building located at Knutsford Avenue. The application would be moved on April 22. The contempt application also seeks an order from the court to impose a very heavy fine on AMA and commit Adjiri Blankson to prison. Yesterday when the case was called, Adjiri Blankson and the AMA were not in court neither was anyone in court to represent them. Godfred Yeboah Dame, Counsel for Labib Seraphim informed the court that the parties has been served but the judge held that although there is proof of service on AMA the same does no apply to Adjiri Blankson.

The case of the plaintiff is that notwithstanding the clear and mandatory orders of the court contained in the judgment of April 10, 2006, Adjiri Blankson and AMA have for the past two years refused to carry out same. They argued that the hawkers continue to exercise absolute dominion over the Knutsford Avenue with the active connivance and complicity of AMA.

It is the view of the Labib Seraphim that AMA's willful violation of the orders of the court is infringing on his constitutionally guaranteed property rights and other property owners of the Knutsford Avenue. They held that the situation is also gravely hampering his lawful business activities and other property owners.

They further argued that in spite of the clear order by the court for provision of vehicular accessibility to Labib Seraphim and other property owners on the Knutsford Avenue, there are still in place certain pillars created by AMA which should have been removed as part of the process of executing the court's order.

The plaintiff pointed out to the court that a huge and deep ditch has also been dug in front of Labib Seraphim and has been uncovered for over one year now, noting, "The foregoing hugely contravenes the explicit orders of the court and seriously inhibits vehicular and human accessibility to the property of the plaintiff's store."

According to Labib Seraphim, the situation on numerous occasions has been brought to the attention of Adjiri Blankson and AMA but they have refused to remedy it. They said the refusal of Adjiri Blankson and AMA to carry out the orders of the court is calculated at interfering with and obstructing the due administration of justice and in the event, undermine the authority of a court of competent jurisdiction.

By slarge

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