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11.11.2008 Business & Finance

Lotto operators press on with legal tussle

By Ghanaian Times
Lotto operators press on with legal tussle

The Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) appears to be unrelenting in its legal struggle to ensure that it remains in business in spite of the ban on private lotto business operation in the country.

It has initiated yet another action at the Court of Appeal to restrain the National Lottery Authority from implementing the Fast Track High Court's ruling of August 20, which outlawed the operation of private lotto business.

The application, expected to be moved on December 3, is in view of a pending determination of an appeal against the Fast Track High Court's ruling.

An initial application filed on August 21 to stay the execution of the court's decision, was thrown out last Tuesday by another Fast Track High Court, presided over by Justice K.A. Ofori-Atta, for lack of proper assertion of their right to law of equity.

The legal tussle between the NLA and the GLOA resulted from the passage of the National Lotto Act 722, which received presidential assent on December 27, 2006, and established the NLA.

In an affidavit in support of the application, the GLOA described the dismissal of their earlier application for injunction pending an appeal, as “wrong, improper and ultra vires”.

It is praying the Court of Appeal to restrain the NLA from interfering in their work or property rights while they await the determination of the appeal.

The GLOA said the appeal has good grounds and has a great chance of succeeding, given the serious errors that culminated in the August 20 ruling of Justice Asante.

“The refusal of the instant application would render over 500,000 people jobless when no compensation has been available to cater for their redundancy,” it stated.

The GLOA said a decision of the appellate court reversing the ruling of the Fast Track Court would be rendered nulled if the enforcement of the said ruling is not injuncted pending the determination of their instant appeal.

The GLOA on August 13, 2007, began the action at the High Court and applied for an interlocutory injunction against the NLA, which was granted, until the determination of the matter.

However, since the NLA raised the issue of constitutionality, the matter went to the Supreme Court because the law required that proceedings concerning such matters should be stayed for determination by the Superior Court to serve as a guide to the trial court.

On March 14, 2008, the Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Anthony Abada, granted an interlocutory injunction filed by the GLOA to restrain the NLA from interfering with the property rights of lotto operating businesses of the plaintiffs.

According to the court, the outcome of the case at the Supreme Court would guide it in its decision in the case because the issue of constitutionality had been raised by the NLA.

On July 23, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that the National Lotto Act 722, in no way violates the Constitution, especially the fundamental human rights provisions and the Directive Principles of State Policy, as stated by the GLOA.

It said that the GLOA is not at the mercy of the state in seeking to participate in the state's regulatory lottery industry and directed that the licensing regime required to participate in the business has to conform to the standards in Article 296 of the Constitution.

Source: Ghanaian Times