Category: Crime Created on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 23:22 Published Date Written by GNA Hits: 474
Accra, May 22, GNA – The Supreme Court by six to three majority decision, on Tuesday dismissed an application filed against Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, National Chairman of New Patriotic Party (NPP) that he used cronyism, capricious, arbitrary, conflict of interest and gross discretionary power to obtain a government property.
The court said Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information, and Dr Edward Omane Boamah, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, based their claim on mere allegations and failed to proof beyond all reasonable doubt that the action of a public officer, was capricious, and amounted to corruption and conflict of interest.
The court in a two-and-a-half hour judgement delivered by Mr Justice Stephen Allan Brobbey, said in the absence of any concrete evidence, it has dismissed the application.
Other members of the panel were, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Ms Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Ms Justice Jones Dotse and Mr Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, who held the majority view.
The rest were Mr Justice William Attuguba, Acting Chief Justice, Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo, who held the minority view.
The entire panel agreed that the applicants did not use due process in their reliefs being sought.
Mr Justice Brobbey said the plaintiffs failed to prove their case in respect of cronyism and conflict of interest.
He said that the court was not condoning acts of cronyism, capricious, arbitrary powers or guise in any form and added that “We are only stating a position that the plaintiffs were not able to prove those facts, the applications remain baseless and therefore it had failed".
Mr Justice Brobbey said some of the documents or exhibits were not authenticated and not stamped as certified true copy.
He said: "It did not tell the source, if it was a Cabinet, the heading should not have been hand written, at least it could have been signed; no officer authenticated it. Neither the Attorney General nor the plaintiffs cited any Constitution to back the claim and therefore the exhibit cannot be relied on."
Mr Justice Brobbey said “It would be disastrous to rely on exhibit A1, since there are several aspects of which must be settled, all grants of government lands exhibit, AG dose not refer to the Ridge area at all the exhibits does not cover and that the plaintiff reliefs do not hold water."
He said the plot was to be used for the development of three blocks of flats at least four storey and that “if I have my way, I would say that the disputed land should be used to house doctors because our health comes first and that would serve the public much more.”
Mr Justice Brobbey said the plaintiffs had failed to prove their case in respect of that and relied on accusations relating to cronyism and conflict of interest, adding that anyone who make accusations against public officers should be able to substantiate it.
He said: “This is a court of law, which rules on equity, fairness and justice and mandates that people should be in a position to justify what they want the court to do, and, therefore, the plaintiff's application failed in its entirety and I will dismiss all of them”.
The judgement happened to be the last exercise for Mr Justice Brobbey who would retire from the Bench on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.
He expressed appreciation to the various governments he had worked with particularly, Dr Hilla Limman, President Jerry John Rawlings and President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Mr Justice Brobbey said he had never regretted serving Ghana, because he had paid his dues and would be remembered for various innovations such as the Alternative Dispute Resolution, the automated courts and the Fast Track Courts were all his initiatives.
This was received with a standing ovation and a round of applause, and asked for forgiveness if he had offended someone in the course of his duty.
The plaintiffs brought the application against the defendant over the purchase of a government bungalow in Accra.
In 2008, the plaintiffs brought the action against Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey, who was then Minister of Tourism and National Orientation, seeking a declaration from the court that he had no right to buy bungalow at No 2 Mungo Street in the Ridge residential area he was occupying at the time.
They argued that the action of the defendant contravened Articles 20 (5) and 20 (6), and smacked of cronyism and gross abuse of discretional powers of a public officer.
However, the defendant raised a preliminary objection, saying the court had no mandate to hear the case.
His argument was that the right procedure was for the plaintiffs to apply to the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, if they thought he was abusing his office by applying to purchase the bungalow.
In November 2011, the court dismissed Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey’s preliminary objection, which argued that the court had no mandate to hear a case brought before it by the applicants in respect of his right to purchase a government bungalow.
The nine-member court, in a unanimous decision, argued that, although, the case passed for a land case, which falls within the domain of the High Court, the plaintiffs were not laying claim to the property in question but rather seeking an interpretation of several provisions of the 1992 Constitution regarding the ownership of State property, including Articles 20 (5) and 20 (6) of the 1992 Constitution.
Presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba, the court agreed that it had jurisdiction by law and precedents to hear the case which bordered both on constitutionality and public interest.
However, the Supreme Court held otherwise and accordingly dismissed the case.
Mr Kwabla Senanu represented the plaintiffs; Mr R.O. Solomon represented the defendant while Mr Cecil Adadevor, Senior State Attorney and Mr Sylvester William, Principal State Attorney represented the State.
The plaintiffs and defendant were present in court during the ruling.
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