Martin Kpebu gives evidence in Afoko case
By Hafsa Obeng, GNA
Accra, June 13, GNA - Mr Martin Kpebu, a Legal Practitioner, has appeared before the Accra Human Rights Court hearing the suit filed by Mr Paul Afoko, challenging his suspension by the party, as the first prosecution witness.
The counsel for Mr Afoko presented Mr Kpebu as his first prosecution witness to give his evidence.
Mr Kpebu told the court that he knew both the plaintiff Mr Paul Afoko and the defendants in the case, the NPP and Mr Freddy Blay.
He said he filed a witness statement in the suit on March 21, and would wish to tender same as his evidence in chief, subject to the parts that have been expunged earlier by the court on April 13, concluding his evidence.
During cross examination, Counsel for the Defendants, Mr Godwin Odame, asked whether Mr Kpebu was still the Counsel for the plaintiff in the matter but he said no, indicating that he seized to be his counsel when it became clear to him that he would be giving evidence in the case.
He said he was part of the plaintiff's counsel when he filed the instant action and as such described himself as the plaintiff's counsel at the time he filed his witness statement, adding that he was also aware that the plaintiff appealed to the National Council (NC) on his suspension by the National Executive Council (NEC).
When asked whether the action in court was an appeal against the NC's orders, Mr Kpebu answered that the plaintiff was exercising his right in the action as a citizen and member of the first defendant, adding that prior to exercising his right; the plaintiff exhausted all local remedies in the first defendant.
He explained that he was aware of the provision that indicates that the findings of the NC are indicated to be final, but in law that provision does not prevent the plaintiff from going to court, and so advised him accordingly.
He said he was the one who attended the disciplinary Committee (DC) meeting for the plaintiff, but disagreed that the plaintiff had no personal knowledge of proceedings because he personally briefed him about the proceedings after every sitting.
Mr Odame asked why, the witness in his witness statement say that the DC was not accurate when it heard the case, Mr Kpebu explained that when he attended the first sitting, on October 6, 2015, he found that the committee was composed of Rev. Dr Asanti Antwi, Prof. Mike Ocquaye, Dr Addo Kuffour, Madam Ama Bussia and Madam Gifty Kusi.
'Madam Gifty Kusi, as far as I am aware is not a duly appointed member of the DC, and in the circumstance the DC did not have the necessary quorum. And that was the same compositions for the sitting on October 12, 2015.'
He further explained that on October 21, 2015, another person, Alhaji Abdul Rahman also attended, but he had already raised an objection against his sitting on the case. To that extent he could not sit on the matter until the objection had been determined.
Mr Kpebu said when he appeared before the five member committee, he took the position that they were not five because he did not recognize Madam Kusi as an appointed member.
He noted that he did not ascertain how each of the members was appointed, because he had earlier been briefed by the plaintiff about the membership of the committee.
However I did not raise an objection to her membership when I appeared on October 6, because that was the first time I appeared before the committee, and was not aware until I briefed the plaintiff.
He said on the October 21, 2015, again Madam Kusi sat on the committee, but he did not raise any objection because, he was waiting for the ruling on his first objection.
Mr Kpebu explained that the first time he raised an objection to her membership was when they appealed to the NC because that was the first opportunity they had to raise that objection, and the earlier objections had not been determined to pave the way for more objections.
He said the essence of their objection to Madam Kusi's membership of the DC was that she was not appointed by the NC, per the records and the constitution of the first defendants showed to him by the plaintiff.
He told the court that even though he saw the appointment letter of Madam Kusi to the committee, it could not be recognized as such since that letter had not gone through the due processes as required by the first defendant.
He said per the constitution of the first defendant, when a person is nominated by the persons who have the power to do so, he or she is subject to approval by the NC and also sworn in by the National Chairman.
'The plaintiff showed me the records which did not have her name and he also confirmed that he had not convened any NC meeting to approve her or swear her in as a member of the committee.'
The case was adjourned to June 15, for further cross examination.
At the last sitting, the defence counsel ended cross examination, and the Counsel for Mr Afoko told the court that he had two more witnesses to present.
The presiding Judge Justice Anthony Yeboah gave both parties one week to file their legal submissions, while the two witnesses would be brought to be cross- examined on their evidence.
Mr Afoko is challenging his indefinite suspension from the party, arguing it was illegal. The NPP's National Executive Committee suspended him in October 2015 for 'misconduct.'
According to him, the action and processes leading to his suspension by some members of the party were unconstitutional and a breach of natural justice.
The decision was adopted by the party's National Council which is the second highest decision making body of the party after congress but he maintained the party erred in the decision