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17.07.2009 Social News

Ex-Minister’s case adjourned

By gna
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Accra, July 16, GNA - The case in which Mr. Akwasi Osei-Adjei, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, has sued the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Attorney-General (A-G) over the seizure of his passport was on Thursday adjourned to July 24 by the Fast Track High Court (Human Rights Division).

The adjournment was at the instance of the Attorney General.

When the case was called, Mr. Justice U.P. Dery, the trial judge, drew the attention of Mr. Osei-Adjei's lawyer, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, to a letter written by the Deputy Attorney-General Ebo Barton-Odro, indicating to the court that he was indisposed.

The court said the deputy A-G who is also the Member of Parliament for Cape Coast, had attached his medical report and an excuse duty to the letter indicating that he would rather be available on either July 24 or 27.

But Mr. Yeboah Dame said the sickness of the Deputy A-G could not be used as an excuse, adding that, it was an attempt to frustrate his client.

According counsel, the A-G's office had the biggest staff and disagreed with the court that the deputy A-G was the one in charge of the matter.

He pointed out to the court that the courts would soon go for the legal recess and it was likely the matter could not be heard before the vacation.

He therefore prayed the court to abridge the time, preferably to July 20, adding “The more they delay the more the breach on the right of the applicant.”

The court, however, adjourned the matter to July 24 to deliver its ruling on the preliminary objection raised by the A-G in the matter.

Mr. Osei-Adjei dragged the BNI and A-G to court when the BNI seized his passport on the basis that investigations were being conducted into the importation of huge quantities of rice from India.

He contended that the seizure and detention of his passport by officials of the BNI was “flagrantly unlawful and palpable violation of his rights.”

The A-G, however, contended that he was suspected of causing financial loss to the state through the importation of huge quantities of rice and was likely to abscond if he had his passport.

According to the A-G the writ was aimed at detracting the BNI from investigating the unlawful importation of rice and inflating the price.

In an affidavit in opposition, the A-G contended that the detention of the applicant's passport was perfectly “legal and constitutional.”

It said the BNI was permitted under the law, to restrict one's movement in the instances of criminal investigations.

A-G contended that it would raise a preliminary objection that the applicant was not a proper party to the action on the grounds that under the law he was not a legal entity to be sued or to sue.

GNA

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