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11.06.2008 Politics

High Court Judge tells MinisterI WILL CAUSE YOUR ARREST... If you dare disobey my order

By Bismark Bebli - Ghanaian Chronicle
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THE SWEDRU High Court, presided over by His Lordship, Justice Senyo Dzamefe has issued a stern warning to the Minister of Public Sector Reforms, Hon. Samuel Owusu-Agyei to appear in court on M nday to defend himself against the contempt charge that has been filed against him or face an order of arrest.

According to the Judge, since the Minister was served personally with the court order preventing him from carrying himself as the Parliamentary candidate for Effutu Constituency for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), he should have appeared before the court to defend himself, instead of designating people to represent him.

“Go and tell him to come to court on Monday or I will order for his arrest. This is not a civil case, it is a criminal case,” he told one Mr. Kwabena Baidoo, who represented the Minister without a legal counsel in the court yesterday.

The High Court was to give a ruling on the confusion that surrounded the NPP primary at Effutu, of which one of the contestants had gone to court. “It is a favour that I have done you. Next time, tell your lawyers to appear in court,” Justice Dzamefe warned.

His comment came when the constituency Chairman, Mr. Kofi Taylor told the court that the party's legal counsel was on his way to the court, which was rebuffed by the plaintiff's lawyer, Mr. Komla Onny.

Giving a brief of the contempt case, Lawyer Onny told the court that contrary to the order of injunction by the court, preventing the Minister from carrying himself as the Parliamentary candidate, he has gone ahead to erect bill boards and posted his pictures on walls, depicting him as the parliamentary candidate.

To this end, he believes that the Minister has violated the order and must be committed for contempt of court.

Three party members in the constituency have dragged the leadership of the party to court, challenging the constitutionality of some aspects of the party's guidelines and regulations with regards to the NPP primaries.

At the sitting yesterday, the national chairman, Mr. Mac Manu, Nana Ohene-Ntow, the General Secretary and the Minister himself, Hon. Samuel Owusu-Agyei were all absent but were represented in court by some party members without their legal representative.

It would be recalled that a couple of weeks ago, the Swedru High Court presided over by Justice Senyo Dzamefe placed an interlocutory injunction on the Minister of Public Sector Reforms and the sitting Member of Parliament for the Effutu Constituency, Mr. Samuel Owusu-Agyei.

This means that the minister has been restrained from carrying himself as the NPP Parliamentary candidate in the constituency for the upcoming 2008 general elections.

The Judge also ordered that the injunction order be valid for 10 days.

“It is hereby ordered that an order for interlocutory injunction be and hereby granted, restraining the 5th defendant (Hon. Samuel Owusu-Agyei) from holding himself as the Parliamentary Candidate of the New Patriotic Party in the Effutu Constituency.”

'It is further ordered that the 1st (the national chairman), 2nd (General Secretary), 3rd (Central Regional Chairman) and 4th (Constituency Chairman) are hereby refrained from recognizing the 5th (Owusu-Agyei) as the Parliamentary candidate of the New Patriotic Party in the Effutu constituency.”

Three concerned NPP members; Mr. Decent Rockson, former Effutu Constituency chairman, Mad. Agnes Beatrice Mensah, former Constituency women organizer and Mr. Nelson Bortsi dragged the leadership of the party and the incumbent MP to court, challenging the constitutionality of point 10 of the party's guidelines governing the primaries.

In a statement of claim by the plaintiffs filed at court by their solicitor, Lawyer Komla Onny, the plaintiffs in a seven point statement demanded perpetual injunction restraining the 5th defendant from holding himself out as the party's candidate for the upcoming elections.

According to them the elections which was conducted on 1st of May, this year, must be declared null and void and noted that taking the votes of the sitting MP out of the total votes cast, the results must be set aside for a re-run of the primary in the constitution.

The plaintiffs contended that it was therefore a sin against the NPP constitution, rules and regulations governing the conduct of the constituency primaries, with the sitting Member of Parliament, Mr. Owusu Agyei, being allowed to contest and vote in the Effutu Constituency primary without having first resigned as the constituency executive committee member was wrong.

To this end they demanded that, “A declaration that the true meaning of Article 6(2) of the New Patriotic Party constitution with regard to the Effutu Constituency and any other constituency is that the sitting Member of Parliament for Effutu constituency is a full member of the constituency executive committee and is therefore an officer of the party.”
The statement of claim further indicated that, “A declaration that the sitting Member of Parliament for Effutu constituency, by paragraph 10 of the New Patriotic Party Rules and Regulations guiding the conduct of constituency primaries, a sitting Member of Parliament and also the 5th defendant, ought to have resigned his position as member of the Effutu Constituency Executive Committee prior to the holding of the constituency primary on 1st May, 2008.

According to the plaintiffs, it must be declared that the sitting MP, just like any other officers of the constituency executive and in deed all the party officers, derives his voting rights in the Effutu Constituency primary and from his membership of the Effutu Constituency executive committee and as an officer of the party.

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