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04.12.2009 General News

Interdiction Of Ampong Illegal — Court

By Daily Graphic
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The Accra Fast High Court has ruled that the interdiction of the Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr Albert Anthony Ampong, is illegal.

The court also quashed an order directed at Mr Ampong to refund $20,000.

It also ordered that sanctions must not be applied against Mr Ampong based on the national security report which the court said was 'flawed'.

According to the court, presided over by Mr Justice S. K. Asiedu, due process was not followed and for that reason it was inappropriate for sanctions to be applied against Mr Ampong, who had neither been investigated nor charged for any offence.

Mr Ampong filed an application for judicial review challenging his interdiction, following investigations into allegations of financial impropriety levelled against Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, the former Minister of Youth and Sports.

In granting the applicant's motion, the court held that the Civil Service Council, and not National Security, had the power to investigate Mr Ampong, adding, 'The President was deceived into believing that National Security had powers to investigate the applicant.'

Touching on the President's directive to the Head of the Civil Service to interdict the applicant, the court held that the President was not the disciplinary authority and further pointed out that an Act of Parliament had vested that authority in the Head of the Civil Service.

The court held that the applicant had not been charged nor informed of any wrongdoing and due process was not followed before his interdiction and further ruled that 'procedure was seriously breached'.

It also stated that proceedings leading to the interdiction of Mr Ampong were unlawful and, therefore, violated the mandatory requirements of the law, adding, 'Findings made against the applicant cannot hold because he was not given a fair hearing. The applicant was not treated fairly and justly.'

It, accordingly, quashed the decision of the Head of the Civil Service to interdict the applicant but declined to grant an order of mandamus to order the Head of the Civil Service to recall the applicant.

The presiding judge said the court would not pre-empt the innocence or guilt of the applicant and further stated that the Civil Service Council could take appropriate action if it felt the applicant had questions to answer.

The court further held that Mr Ampong was only called as a witness at the National Security committee and not as an accused person and his interdiction was, therefore, 'a breach of natural justice'.

It earlier struck out the name of the Head of the Civil Service from the suit on the grounds that the Attorney-General was the proper body to be sued.

The court did not award costs against the state.


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