Court Dismisses Petition Over Oti Region
An Accra high court has dismissed an application for judicial review brought against the Minister for Regional Reintegration, the Attorney General and the Commission of Inquiry for the Creation of New Regions by Togbi Patamia IV, Chief of Srogboe in the Keta municipality of the Volta Region, as being incompetent.
Counsel for Togbi Patamia and some six other petitioners filed the application for judicial review of the meetings of the commission held in the Volta Region between January 16 and 20, 2018, which they have described as discriminating.
The state raised a preliminary legal objection, saying the application was moot, given the fact that the applicants served the respondents with the suit two days after the commission had ended its work in the region.
In his objection, Jonathan Acquah, a principal state attorney who represented the Attorney General, stated that per Article 279 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, the chairman of the commission could not be sued in the performance of his duties, just as a member of a commission of enquiry.
Ruling, the court, presided over by Justice Gifty Agyei Addo, held that although the suit was filed on January 18, 2018, the Attorney General and the other parties were served on January 22 – two clear days after the commission's work in the Volta Region had ended.
This, she said, makes the application moot as granting their request would amount to nothing.
Justice Agyei however, noted that although she had dismissed the application for lacking merit, she would not go into the merits of the matter.
The commission of enquiry into the creation of new regions was in the Volta Region from January 16 to 20, 2018 to listen to the ordinary people as to whether they indeed supported the creation of the Oti Region, having met chiefs and petitioners from the northern Volta at the Osu Castle.
The commission held public hearings at the Ho Technical University, Kete-Krachi Senior High School, Nkwanta South Municipal Assembly Hall, Kpassa Senior High Secondary Technical School Hall and the Nsuta-Buem Catholic Diocese Centre.
The apparent neglect of some (mostly southern) parts of the region has generated divided opinion among Voltarians – both home and abroad.
Togbi Patamia and some six other plaintiffs went to the court arguing that the commission concentrated its meetings only in the northern parts of the Volta Region, neglecting those in the south, although all Voltarians would partake in the referendum.
They are therefore, praying the court to direct the commission to extend its sittings in the regions to provide those in the south an equal opportunity to make their input into the commission's report.