PNC Calls for Review of Supreme Court Ruling
THE PEOPLE'S National Convention (PNC) has called for a review of the majority decision of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of conflict of interest brought against New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey by two members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
The PNC says the last two conclusions of the five-fold judgment given by the Supreme Court in the case are problematic and need to be addressed through a review.
The Supreme Court had earlier ruled in favour of the respondent by a 6 – 3 majority decision arguing that the plaintiffs, Deputy Information Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah and Deputy Sports Minister, Dr Omane Boamah failed to prove the conflict of interest allegation against the respondent.
The judges ruled against the claim of the plaintiffs that the decision of the Government of Ghana to sell the disputed land to Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey is unconstitutional and smacks of cronyism, arbitrariness, capriciousness and discrimination, saying this had not been proven by the plaintiffs.
They also ruled that Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey may keep the disputed property, since his title to it has not been successfully impugned by the plaintiffs.
However, a statement read by Bernard Mornah, PNC General Secretary at a press briefing in Accra noted that the court's decision was based on a strict constructionist and narrow interpretation of the constitution.
'It is worrying that the majority of the judges in this case were dead set on ensuring that the transactions leading up to the allocation of the disputed house to Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey were rationalized in the face of clear evidence that the transaction breached clear and unambiguous provisions of the 1992 constitution in particular Article 258,' he said.
He noted that the 1992 constitution requires that public lands be held in trust for the people of Ghana and used in the interest of the public.
He said Article 36' (8) states 'the state shall recognize that ownership and possession of land carry a social obligation to serve the larger community.'
Further, Mornah said Article 34 enjoins the judiciary to be guided by the directive principles of state policy contained in chapter six of the constitution.
He said what the majority of the Supreme Court did in the case was to use technicalities to ensure regress in good governance and plunder the spirit of the constitution.
'This is contrary to the clear terms of the interpretation act which provides in its Section 10(4) that, 'a court shall construe or interpret a provision of the constitution or any other law in a manner… that promotes the rule of law and the values of good governance… that advances human rights and fundamental freedoms… that permits the creative development of the provisions of the constitution and the laws of Ghana, and … that avoids technicalities and recourse to niceties of form and language which defeat the purpose and the spirit of the constitution and of the laws of Ghana,'' he said.
Mornah noted that by arriving at the fourth and fifth conclusions, the majority of the Supreme Court ignored the clear, patent and easy to understand provisions of the 1992 Constitution on the matter.
He therefore called on the plaintiffs and the state attorney to apply for a review of the Supreme Court decision.
The PNC also called on government to adopt the Accra Redevelopment Policy and any other policy of similar nature to serve the larger public.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri