24 January 2013

Ghana: Okudzeto Flops at Supreme Court

Lawyers for the two former deputy ministers, who sought a change in the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) in pronouncing Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, a former Minister of State and current Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as owner of state bungalow No. 2, Mungo Street, at Ridge, a prime area in Accra, has hit the rock in the Ghanaian judicial system.

Mr. Kwabla Senanu, who is handling the human interest case since 2008, noted that he was not going to give up on the issue, but will vigorously pursue it before the African Commission on Human Rights for justice.

According to counsel, he has exhausted all the Ghanaian judicial system without success and that it was about time he advanced his case at the African Commission on Human Rights for redress.

"I will take the case to the African Commission on Human Rights. They cannot take state bungalows to themselves. I will not let it go", Mr. Senanu fumed, shortly after an-eleven-member SC panel yesterday, unanimous dismissed an application seeking to review its earlier decision made on May 22, last year.

According to the court, the applicants, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, former deputy minister of Information, and Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, former deputy minister of Youth & Sports failed to show exceptional circumstances as required by the rules to warrant it to change from its previous decision.

The court further noted that the application was without merit as applicants had failed to prove fundamental error in its earlier decision, adding that a review application is not an appeal and therefore do not need to be argued. "There cannot be an appeal against the SC even if its decision is erroneous", the court noted.

The applicants in their request for review expressed their dissatisfaction in the majority decision dismissing their case as baseless.

The applicants are invoked the powers of the SC under Article 133 (1) of the Constitution, requesting it to grant their application for review on the basis that the court had fundamentally erred in interpreting and enforcing Article 20 (5) and 20 (6) of the Constitution in relation to the state or public property in the center of the case as a result of which had amounted to miscarriage of justice.

Additionally, the applicants noted that they had made new and important discoveries, which after due diligence was not within their knowledge and therefore could not produce them at the time when the court gave its decision on May 22, 2012.

In his response filed before the court dated July 30, this year, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey noted that the applicants have failed to make out a case for review of the decision of the court and should therefore be dismissed.

According to the respondent, the application, filed by the applicants, does not disclose any exceptional circumstances to warrant a review of the court's earlier decision as he challenged the assertion of the applicant that there had been fundamental errors and an issue of exceptional circumstances for the decision of the court to be reviewed.

The Supreme Court on May 22, last year, dismissed a suit filed against Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, challenging the allocation of a government bungalow located at a prime area of the capital to him when he was then a Minister of State in the Kufuor Administration.

It would be recalled that the SC on May 22, last year, by a majority decision, ruled that the allocation of bungalow, located at St Mungo Street, Ridge, Accra to Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey was at the discretion of the Lands Commission and therefore the allegations levelled against the allocation were baseless and does not hold water.

The court had further indicated that Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, who instituted the action when they were then members of the Pressure Group, Committee for Joint Action (CJA), citing Constitutional breaches against the Attorney General and Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey in the allocation of the disputed property, failed to prove their allegations of cronyism, arbitrariness, capricious, discriminatory, and a gross abuse of the discretionary power vested in a public officer under the 1992 Constitution.

The court, therefore, noted that Okudzeto Ablakwa and Dr. Omane Boamah based their accusations on mere allegations without justification, adding that they were in the wrong forum on the allegation of conflict of interest made against Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, since the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is the only institution authorized by the 1992 Constitution to handle issues on allegations of Conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2013 Ghanaian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.