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25.05.2007 General News

Hodare Okae’s case thrown out

By myjoyonline

An Accra Fast Track High Court has dismissed a contempt application filed against the Attorney-General, Mr Joe Ghartey and the Minister of Interior over their refusal to re-instate Mr. Kojo Hodare Okae, a former Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Immigration Service.

The court, presided over by Justice Baffoe Bonney, ruled that the application was unmeritorious adding, Mr. Okae refused to take procedural steps towards his reinstatement after two years that judgement was delivered.

The court wondered why Mr. Okae willfuly refused to take the necessary steps towards his re-instatement for the past two years and waited till his retiring age.

The court said contempt procedure was a quasi-criminal one and does not see why the A-G should be imprisoned by virtue of his position.

It said contempt application, among other things, should be directed to a particular person. It noted that although in an earlier judgement directing the President to re-instate him in any of the public service, Mr Okae did not take the necessary procedures to ensure the implementation of the court order.

According to the Court, Mr Okae only explained that he was taking steps to ensure an amicable settlement with the A-G. The applicant only filed the contempt application out of the abundance of caution.

It said the A-G in person could not be attached to a contempt application, adding, it was only the President who could direct that the A-G could implement the said orders.

The Court wondered whether cases of such nature should be directed to the office of A-G or the Officer in person.

"When the court gave orders, it was Mr Ayikoi Otoo, who was in office and not Mr. Ghartey, should Mr Otoo be dragged here to answer the contempt application?,” the court asked.

Ms Cynthia Lamptey from the A-Gs Department represented Mr Ghartey who was indisposed. No cost was awarded.

Mr. Okae, filed a contempt application against the A-G and Minister of the Interior for their refusal to reinstate him after the same court ordered for his reinstatement.

Mr. Okae on September 5, 2002 received a letter signed by the then Acting Interior Minister, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor informing him that the President had transferred him from GIS to the Ghana Free Zone Board (GFZB).

When Mr. Okae proceeded to GFZB, he realised that he had no role to play and was not accepted by the Board.

Mr Okae said after exhausting all available avenues, and in view of the frustrations, he sought redress from the court, which gave judgement in his favour in 2005. The court declared that Mr Okae be reinstated in the public service.

On January 27, this year, Mr Okae reached his compulsory retirement age.

In an affidavit in support of a motion, Mr Okae pointed out that he had made efforts to get the A-G to comply with the court order but he had refused to comply.

Mr. Akoto Ampaw who represented Mr Okae admitted that the Court order was directed to the President but said since it was the A-G who enforced the powers of the Executive it was relevant to attach him to the contempt application.

Source: GNA