Obengfo Pleads With Court To Halt Proceedings At Lower Court
An Accra High Court will on September 7, rule on an application, whether or not to stay proceedings against Dr. Dominic Obeng-Andoh, Chief Executive Officer of Obengfo Hospital in Weija at an Accra Circuit Court.
The court presided over by Mr. Justice Abdullah Iddirsu, fixed the date for the ruling after the lawyer for Dr. Obeng-Andoh aka Obengfo moved a motion on notice to stay proceedings at the Circuit Court against his client, on Thursday.
The State led by Mr. Ashong Okine, a Senior Attorney with the Attorney General's Department, opposed the motion in his response.
Dr. Obeng-Andoh is before an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly practicing without a license and operating an unlicensed health facility without lawful authority. He has pleaded not guilty and is on bail.
He is also being held at a District Court over the murder of Ms. Stacy Offei Darko, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of National Youth Entrepreneurial Innovation Programme at the Presidency, who allegedly died at his health facility following cosmetic surgery.
Moving the motion on notice for stay of proceedings, Nana Kofi Berkoe, who held the brief of Dr Maurice Ankrah, argued that, the Ghana Medical and Dental Council (GMDC) was not mandated under the law to close the facility on the basis that a medical doctor in charge of a facility was operating without a license.
Nana Berkoe said the body mandated lawfully to shut down a facility is the Health Facility Regulatory Agency, under Section 2 of Act 829 of the Health Institution and Facilities Act, 2009.
According to counsel for Obengfo, GMDC could only close down a health facility on the suspicion that a medical doctor was storing hazardous material in a facility.
Counsel further argued that the case pending at the Circuit Court was in “Bad faith” because the complainant in the matter is the GMDC and the council was aware of the suit at the High Court yet it went ahead to lodge a complaint against Obengfo at the Circuit Court.
“My Lord, the outcome of the suit before the Circuit Court, would be gravely prejudicial to the proceedings at the High court. This is because the standard of proof in the civil trial at the High Court is on the preponderance of probabilities. We will have to point to the judgment of the Circuit Court in case the applicant (Dr. Obeng-Andoh) is found guilty,” he said.
Nana Berkoe contended that the Council has only engaged in “foreign Shopping” and it sought to use the coercive powers of the state against Obengfo.
“We pray the court to stop the unlawful prosecution of the applicant in the interest of justice and fairness,” counsel stressed.
Mr. Ashong Okine, a Senior Attorney with the Attorney General Department, vehemently opposed to the motion saying that it was “frivolous, baseless and unmeritorious.”
Mr. Okine held that the two suits before the court were mutually exclusive with distinct suit numbers, adding that, in instances where the matters were the same, both suits could go concurrently.
According to him, the motion to stay proceeding was also without any legal basis, and any principle of law did not support the same.
“It is clear that the case before the Circuit Court is criminal whiles the other one before the High Court is a civil litigation,” Mr. Okine explained.
The Senior Attorney recounted that the matter before the High Court was about the capacity of the GMDC and the one before the Circuit Court was about the conduct of the accused person.
Obengfo has filed another motion praying for the release of his passport. That motion is expected to be heard later.