26 June 2019

Ghana: Freddie Blay Says CHRAJ Contempt Case Flawed

The Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Mr Freddie Worsemao Blay has said that a contempt case at the Accra High Court, filed against him by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), is fatally flawed.

He argued that not only is the contempt motion flawed, but it is procedurally incompetent.

CHRAJ filed an application before the Commercial Division "Two" of the Accra High Court and urged it to commit the NPP Chairman for contempt.

The Commission is investigating a complaint brought to it by the Coalition for Social Justice, concerning Mr Blay's purchase of 275 buses for the NPP, in the build-up to the party's delegates conference, in the Eastern Region, in 2018.

The coalition stated that the purchase of the buses amounted to vote buying and a case of corruption, which should be probed by CHRAJ.

It said that the NPP Chairman was refusing to cooperate with the administrative body to enable it to complete its investigation.

In his affidavit in opposition to the contempt application, counsel for the respondent, Nana Obiri Buahen, told the court presided by Mr Justice George Koomson that his client was not served with documents filed by the applicant.

He said there is no direct evidence; directly or remotedly, that, he had personally been served with any process by CHRAJ.

Mr Buahen contended that his client had not looked down on CHRAJ, neither had he maligned or disobeyed any directives from the Commission and, therefore, the application does not meet the standard of any proper application for attachment for contempt.

Consequently, the court had given both the applicant and respondent two weeks to file written submissions for judgement to be delivered on July 24.

On June 7, 2019, Mr Justice Koomson, the presiding judge, urged Bete Duku, lawyer for CHRAJ, to locate the residence of Mr Blay and serve him with the process, after the latter told the court attempts to serve him (Mr Blay) were unsuccessful.

Mr Blay has refuted claims that the buses were procured to influence delegates ahead of the NPP's conference that took place in the Eastern regional capital, Koforidua.

He said the party secured a bank facility to purchase the buses, which he claims will be managed by State Transport Company (STC).

CHRAJ in investigating the matter, wrote to Mr Blay two months ago, requesting his response to the petition, and also asked him to produce the custom declaration forms and other forms covering duties paid for the vehicles.

This information, according to CHRAJ, was needed so that it could proceed with the probe.

CHRAJ said neither Mr Blay nor his lawyers responded to their request, compelling it to file an application seeking to commit the NPP Chairman for contempt.

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