26 April 2012

Ghana: A-G Seeks Review in Woyome Case

A review application filed by the state before the Commercial Court in the case of the controversial GH¢51 million consent judgment paid to businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome, in respect of an agreement reached in executing some government contracts, was a subject of intense debate in court yesterday.

While the state, led by Chief State Attorney Dorothy Ansah, had applied for the court to review costs awarded against the state following some infractions the state committed in handling the case, lawyers for the defendant, led by Mr. Safo Buabeng, vigorously objected to it being heard by the trial court.

According to the defense, the trial court had no jurisdiction over the application filed in the case, since his client had filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, paving the way for the state to file amendments contemplated to challenge the defendant on allegations of fraud.

The court, presided over by Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, therefore, fixed April 30, 2012 to give its ruling on the issue.

The defense counsel, Mr. Buaben, had challenged the status of the High Court in hearing the application seeking a review of costs awarded the state on March 26, 2012, indicating that following his appeal against the ruling of the court, it had no jurisdiction to hear the present application.

According to the defense, by court procedures rules in civil cases, once an appeal had been filed against a ruling delivered by the trial court, any application that comes up later in the case should be handled at the Court of Appeal.

However, the Chief State Attorney opposed the assertion made by the defense, as she cited a rule of court that gives jurisdiction to the trial court to hear applications filed, even if there has been an appeal filed in the case.

According to the Chief State Attorney, once there was no agreeable grounds of appeal in the caste, the state could make any application before the trial court, adding that the application filed on March 5, 2012, falls within the required 14 days from the date of awarding the cost against the state, in accordance with the civil procedure rules of the court.

With the appeal of the defense filed at the Court of Appeal, and which had been adjourned indefinitely, following the inability of defense to be served with the response of the state, the trial court fixed May 15, 2012 to enable the defense pursue its case.

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