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19.11.2008 General News

GBA files defence over Osah Mills' 'dismissal'

GBA files defence over Osah Mills' 'dismissal'

The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) on Tuesday prayed an Accra Fast Track High Court (Human Rights Division) to dismiss an application instituted by three of its members over the association's presidential election because it had no basis in law.

“The present application and the legal action on which it is based are mischievous, have no basis in law or at equity, are wholly misconceived and completely erroneous and ought to be dismissed,” it said.

These were contained in the association's statement of defence accompanying an affidavit in opposition to an application for interlocutory injunction filed by Nana Ato Dadzie, Mr Chris Arcmann-Ackummey and Mr James Abiaduka.

The three lawyers had restrained the GBA from going to the polls on November 15 or any other date to elect a national president.

The association noted that the application was filed in extremely bad faith with obvious intention of stultifying the proceedings of the GBA to adjourn its Annual General Conference which was slated for Kumasi on November 15.

“The first and third applicants were not members in good standing as at the date their alleged cause of action accrued, having only paid their dues for the period 2000 to 2008, 2007 to 2008 respectively on November 4, 2008, the day they filed this action.”

The association said it was untrue that the National Executive Committee convened a meeting between September 29 and October 1.

It said during the 249th meeting of the association's General Council held on September 28, at the Golden Tulip, Kumasi City Hotel, members of the council expressed concern over the statements made by National President Nii Osah Mills on Joy FM, an Accra-based radio station.

According to the association, the transcript which touched on matters pending before the Supreme Court, was pasted on the radio station's website had caused embarrassment to members.

“Nii Osah Mills was given the opportunity to respond to those concerns, and after recounting the circumstances leading to the interview, he claimed that his comments were not categorical statements, as had been ascribed to him by the media.

“Nii Osah Mills was then confronted with a copy of the transcript of the interview he granted, and he then admitted that he had made of the statements attributed to him.”

It said on the basis of Nii Osah Mills' admissions, the General Council requested him to resign from his position as the national president of the association because his statements in the interview were in part untrue, wholly unauthorised since the matter was pending before the Supreme Court.

The association noted that Nii Osah Mills' resignation and withdrawal was put to vote and unanimously accepted a the meeting noting that Nii Osah Mills on his own volition read out a written statement to the conference where he thanked member for working with him.

When the case was called before the court presided over Mr Justice U.P. Dery, Mr Kwablah Senanu, counsel for the three lawyers informed the court that he had just been served with the GBA's statement of defence and their affidavit in opposition in court and this had disabled him and therefore asked for cost.

The court therefore adjourned the matter to November 27.

The court presided over by Mr Justice U.P Dery, would also rule on arguments raised by parties bordering on licences of solicitors and lack of provision of addresses of the plaintiff

Mr Senanu in his bid to buttress his point that Nana Ato Dadzie could not represent himself said he had filed notice of the appointment of solicitors.

Mr Ace Ankomah, one of the lawyers who represented the GBA, said the writ was fundamentally defective and should be thrown out.

He noted that apart from Nana Ato Dadzie who had his residential address, the rest of the plaintiffs used that of their chambers.

“Plaintiff ought to be represented in court by his counsel not himself he ought to be represented by his solicitor,” he said.

Mr C. B. K. Zwennes Senior, a member of the GBA legal team, prayed the court struck out the motion.

In the plaintiff's affidavit in support of their action, Mr. Arcmann-Ackumey said they were seeking a declaration that the demand by and request of the National Executive Committee of the GBA on its national president Nii Osah Mills to resign his position was illegal and contrary to law since it was founded on a misconception of the law.

They are also seeking a declaration that the purported endorsement by the GBA of the said decision of its national executive committee was “illegal and contrary to law”.

The lawyers want the court to declare that the nomination of Nii Osah Mills as the sole candidate for the position of national president for 2009, “not having been formally withdrawn, revoked or struck down on any legitimate ground, constitutes him as the sole and valid nominee for the position for 2009.”

They want a declaration that the purported nullification of Nii Osah Mills' nomination for the office was illegal and the call for fresh nominations after the close of nomination was also illegal and contrary to the constitution, rules and regulations of the GBA.

The affidavit said the lawyers wanted a declaration that the media comments made by Nii Osah Mills were lawful comments made in his legitimate position as national president of the GBA and that the position of the association with respect to the legality or otherwise of the comments in the Tsatsu Tsakata case was an infringement on the constitutional rights of the individual and the media.

The lawyers said Nii Osah Mills was “compelled and coerced by reason of the intense and unreasonable pressure mounted on him by certain members of the national executive committee to announce his intention to resign from office.”

They said they believed that in the face of the said “verbal harassment, threats and duress, the national president Nii Osah Mills, out of frustration and irritation, uttered words to the effect that he had resigned or threatened to resign from his position as national president of the GBA”.

The lawyers said the national executive committee did not have the power or authority to demand or compel the duly elected national president to resign or vacate his post as national president.

The General Council of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) late September stated that it demanded the resignation of Nii Osah Mills as President of the association for causing embarrassment to the legal profession.

It said it is of the view that a statement allegedly made by Mr Osah Mills on an Accra radio station concerning Tsatsu Tsikata's case has brought the Bar and the administration of justice into disrepute and further caused embarrassment to the legal profession.