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20.02.2007 General News

Govt To Appeal Against Ruling

The government has served notice of its intention to appeal against the ruling of an Accra Fast Track High Court ordering the immediate release of a number of movable and immovable property which were wrongfully confiscated by the state in 1997.

The property was confiscated on the assumption that it belonged to Mr George Adu Bonsu, alias Benjilo who was jailed for ten years for drug related offences in April 1997.

Consfication of the property was done under the Narcotics Law on siezure and forfeiture.

The Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh, gave the hint while responding to questions from journalists at a press conference organised by the back benchers of the Majority in Parliament to respond to issues raised by the National Democratic Congress (NDC ) last week.

The court, in its ruling on Monday, February 13, ordered the release of property, including a stock of goods in the shops of Benjilo Fabrics Company Limited which got destroyed because they were locked.

Others are leasehold interests in House Number C618/2, Salaga Market, House Number 521/1, Selwyn Street, House Number C850/4, Abele Road, Kokomlemle, House Number J85, Nungua and an unnumbered warehouse/hospital premises opposite ABC Junction, Alogboshie (now Fourth Street or C297/30 Achimota), Accra.

The rest of the property are an unnumbered property at Number 1 Tantra Hill, TH 59, Tantra Hill in Accra, a GCM Typhoon vehicle with registration number GR 4833 J, a Mercedes Benz 300 with registration number GR 7474 J and a Nissan Pathfinder with registration number GR 4835 J.

The court further ordered the payment of ¢1.111 billion with interest, since 1997, at the prevailing commercial rate for the stock of goods destroyed as a result of the unlawful closure of Benjilo Fabrics Company Limited.

In addition, the state is to pay ¢450 million per year as loss of use of three vehicles which were also seized.

An award of ¢90 million is also to be paid for the rehabilitation of the three vehicles which have been left to the vagaries of the weather since May 2001.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Victor Ofoe, also awarded ¢80 million in damages and costs of ¢50 million against the state.

Asked when the appeal would be filed, Mr Osei-Prempeh indicated that the government had three months from the time the judgement was passed to do so.

“We believe the judge erred by ordering the release of the property,” he stated, adding that it was on that premise that the appeal would be filed.

Story by Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah