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Friday, July 25, 2008

Court Upholds Lotto Act

By Stephen K. Effah
Friday, 25 July 2008


The Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously declared that the National Lotto Act 722, in no way violates the 1992 Constitution, especially the fundamental human rights provisions and the directive principles of state policy.

The Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) in June filed a writ at the court challenging the constitutionality of Act 722, 2006, which was assented to on December 27, 2006 to establish the National Lottery Authority.

It claimed that Act 722, which outlawed the operations of lotto business by private operators, infringes the constitutionally guaranteed right of the private operator to free economic activity.

But the five-member panel, presided over by Justice Stephen A. Brobbey, which interpreted the Act disagreed, noting that (Act 722) does not contravene Articles 36 (5), 35 (1) and 36(2) of the constitution and that the GLOA in its statement of claim failed to demonstrate how it contravenes the constitution.

The court held that the lotto business is regulated in all jurisdictions, and that under Act 722, a person or a business can collaborate with the National Lottery Authority to conduct lotto.

Consequently, the Accra Fast Track High Court before which the substantive case is pending, is to fix a date to hear it.

The GLOA on August 13, last year, filed a suit at the court praying it to stop the NLA from monopolising lotto business in the country.

The GLOA is seeking "a declaration that the directive from the National Lottery Authority to private lotto operators to surrender machines or equipment used for the operation of lottery to the Director-General by August 14, 2007 is unconstitutional, illegal and unreasonable."

Further, it wants a declaration that Act 722 outlawed the operations of the lotto business by private lotto operators, infringes the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the private lotto operators to free economic activity.

It also requests for a pronouncement that "the creation of the National Lottery Authority to take over and monopolise the operation of the lotto business in Ghana infringes the constitutional injunction to the government to ensure a pronounced role of the private sector in the economy", as well as cost.

But due to the constitutional aspect of the case, the court presided over by Justice Anthony Abban on March 14, granted an interlocutory injunction filed by GLOA to restrain the NLA from interfering with the property rights of lotto operating businesses of those concerned, pending the determination of the constitutional matters by the Supreme Court.

Ruling On IFC Suspended

By Stephen K.Effah
Friday, 25 July 2008

The Supreme Court has suspended for the second time, its ruling on whether the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has immunity from the country’s courts or not, brought before it by the incarcerated former Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Chief Executive, Tsatsu Tsikata.

This is to await the outcome of relief’s being sought by Mr Tsikata at the Supreme Court to quash his five year jail sentence by an Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Henrietta Abban.

The court on June 25, suspended its ruling on the matter following Mr Tsikata’s decision to "arrest" the judgement by the High Court and asked the Supreme Court to invoke its supervisory jurisdiction to quash his conviction.

Wednesday’s hearing was to find out whether the purpose of which Mr Tsikata arrested the judgement has been achieved or not after the expiry of the period of the action.

But Mr Tsikata said the conditions that necessitated the arrest of the judgement have not yet been achieved and expressed surprise at the turn of events because he was served with the notice of hearing only about 30 minutes before it was called.

He said he had come for another case at the Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Abban, where he was seeking bail pending his appeal.

The Attorney General, Joe Ghartey, also told the five-member panel that he had no idea that the case was scheduled for hearing that morning and that he was at the Supreme Court for a different case.

The panel too said it was notified just that morning.
Nevertheless, when Justice Atuguba asked Mr Tsikata whether the intention for which the judgement on the case was arrested still persisted, he told the panel that those conditions have even not been heard.

He said that his application urging the court to quash his jail term has not yet been heard.
That case was to have been heard on July 16, but Mr Tsikata objected to the empanelling of Justice Stephen Alan Brobbey because Justice Brobbey was once a member of a committee of inquiry set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the conduct of Justice Abban.

He said Justice Brobbey thereby had an informed opinion of her, which could influence his case before the Supreme Court.

Mr Tsikata was on June 18, sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by an Accra Fast Track High Court after he was found guilty of three counts of causing financial loss of GH¢230,000 to the state and misapplying GH¢2,000 in public property.

At the time of his conviction, Mr Tsikata was expected to appear before the Supreme Court the following week for a ruling on whether the International Finance Corporation has immunity or not to testify in the case.

Immediately he was sentenced, Mr Tsikata asked the court for bail to allow him to appeal against the decision, but that request was refused by Justice Abban who presided over the court.

He later filed a notice of appeal seeking an order of the Court of Appeal to set aside the High Court’s decision because, he said, it was unreasonable and not supported by the evidence given.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Court Complex To Be Built

By Stephen K. Effah
Thursday, 24 July 2008

The Judicial Service of Ghana (JSG) is expected to begin construction of a modern five-storey 34-room court complex in March next year, in Accra at Victoriaborg, on a parcel of land adjoining the Cocoa Affairs Court.

The modern court complex will house two Courts of Appeal, High Courts, Circuit and two Magistrates Courts, a banking hall, press centre, clinic, offices for key players in administration of justice and waiting areas among others.

A memorandum of understanding to that effect, between JSG and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to release the Victoriaborg land to the former in exchange for the site housing the Cocoa Affairs Court, was signed on Monday.
SSNIT on the other hand, is expected to develop the Cocoa Affairs Courts site into a commercial facility.

The Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Wood, who signed on behalf of the JSG, said that SSNIT has indicated its intention to fund the construction of the modern court complex.

She said that although the importance of courts in the country cannot be overstated, the current state of the courts has seriously hampered the effective and efficient administration of justice.

Quoting US National Centre for State Courts 1991, she said that court facilities should not only be efficient and comfortable, but should also reflect the independence, dignity and importance in judicial system.

"It is difficult for our citizens to have respect for the courts and law, and for those who work in the court, if the community houses the court in facilities that detract from its stature," she added.

She therefore noted that the completion of the courts complex will therefore go a long way to provide lawyers and court users with a congenial atmosphere to do their work effectively.

Mrs. Wood said that SSNIT has agreed to the JSG’s use of the Cocoa Affairs Courts until the completion of the modern court complex at the Victoriaborg before it develops the area into a commercial facility.

She lauded her predecessors for initiating the deal, and commended the Lands Commission and SSNIT for their various roles in making the asset swap possible.

Mr.Kwasi Boaten, SSNIT general manager in charge of Finance, expressed optimism that the deal will improve the justice delivery system in the country, saying "we believe that rule of law is best ensured where the law recognises the economic and social needs of the people."

He indicated that the provision of adequate facilities for the conduct of judicial business would lead to avoidance of delays in our courts, create convenience for litigants and witnesses.

He said it would also create room for the appointment of adequate number of judges and judicial officers.

Mr Boaten noted that SSNIT has benefited tremendously from the weekend courts introduced this year, adding that between April and June it was able to recover 1,544,340 Ghana cedis.

He therefore urged the JSG to extend the weekend court to Kumasi, Takoradi and Tema.

Judge Steps Down In Abodakpi Case

By Stephen K.Effah
Thursday, 24 July 2008


The case involving Dan Abodakpi, Member of Parliament for Keta, in which an Accra-based lawyer is challenging his right to continue as an MP, took an unexpected turn yesterday at the Supreme Court when the Presiding Judge, Sophia Akuffo, announced that Justice Stephen Alan Brobbey would make a statement to recuse himself from the five-member panel.

But before recusing himself, Justice Brobbey took the opportunity to respond to the objection to his empanelling by Mr.Tsikata last week to hear his case before the Supreme Court, describing it as "illogical".

Mr.Tsikata had argued that Justice Brobbey was once a member of a committee of inquiry set up by the Chief Justice to investigate an alleged misconduct of Justice Henrietta Abban, thus giving him an informed opinion of her, which could influence his case before the Supreme Court.

However, yesterday, Justice Brobbey contended that the issue raised by Mr.Tsikata questions the competence of the judiciary and is likely to whip up public sentiments which should not be encouraged.

He said that Mr.Tsikata’s action implies that once he exonerated Justice Abban of any judicial misconduct after the investigation, Mr.Tsikata thinks that that is likely to cloud his findings his case before the Supreme Court, adding "I do not subscribe to that argument".

Justice Brobbey said that although Mr.Tsikata’s case was unrelated to that of Mr.Abodakpi through which a committee was set up to investigate Justice Abban, he voluntarily recused himself from the panel upon Mr.Tsikata’s request.

In view of this, he told the court that it was prudent to recuse himself from the panel hearing the case involving Mr.Abodakpi since it was through that case that the committee investigated Justice Abban’s alleged misconduct.

He told the court that his integrity and that of the judiciary will be on the line should he go ahead to hear Mr.Abodakpi’s case.

Justice Brobbey said he notified the Chief Justice who has accepted his recusal from the panel.
Just as he finished with his statement, Mr.Tsikata, who happened to be at the Supreme Court for his case on the IFCs immunity, and listened to Justice Brobbey, got up from his seat to respond to the statement but he was turned down by Justice Akuffo.

She told Mr.Tiskata that the case before them is not his case hence she will not allow him to respond to it adding "It has nothing to do with your case so Mr.Tsikata resume your seat".
She therefore adjourned the case sine dine (indefinitely) to allow for the panel to be reconstituted.

The facts of the Abodakpi case are that, a legal practitioner, Mr. Kwasi Danso-Acheampong has filed a writ at the Supreme Court invoking its supervisory jurisdiction to declare the removal of Mr. Abodakpi as a Member of Parliament following his conviction.

Article 97 clause (1) sub-clause (e) and Article 94 clause (2) sub-clause (e) together, state that a
convicted and imprisoned Member of Parliament ceases to be a Member of Parliament, or the seat he occupied before his imprisonment is declared vacant if he fails to vacate the seat voluntarily.

Mr. Danso- Acheampong is asking for, among other reliefs from the Supreme Court, a declaration that an MP on being convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment by any court mandatorily, vacates his or her seat.

Further, a declaration that an appeal filed by a convicted and imprisoned MP is not by itself a stay to suspend the vacation of seat by the imprisoned Member of Parliament as mandatorily required by Articles 97 and 94 read together.

Mr.Danso- Acheampong maintained in a statement of claim accompanying the writ, that the Accra Fast Track High Court, presided over by Justice F.T. Faakye, a justice of the Court of Appeal, convicted Mr Abodakpi for defrauding by false pretences and wilfully causing financial loss of $400,000 to the state and in consequence, sentenced him to a term of ten (10) years imprisonment in hard labour.

"Having been convicted and sentenced by a court of competent jurisdiction, plaintiff expected Mr Abodakpi to vacate his parliamentary seat voluntarily and mandatorily as required by the express provisions of Articles 97 Clause (1) Sub-Clause (e) and 94 Clause (2) Sub Clause (e) of the 1992 Constitution read together," Mr. Danso-Acheampong stated.

He had earlier pointed out that PNDCL 284 which was made on the July 24, 1992 and notified in gazette August 7, 1992 has to be construed to bring it into conformity with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution that came into force on January 7, 1993 as required by Article 11(6)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tsatsu Springs Fresh Surprise In Court

By Stephen K. Effah
Wednesday, 23 July 2008


The jailed former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Tsatsu Tsikata, caused yet another surprise at the Supreme Court yesterday when he expressed qualms about a new judge on the five-member panel hearing his motion to quash the five-year verdict handed him last month.

This comes barely a week after he raised an objection to the empanelling of Justice Stephen Alan Brobbey because Justice Brobbey investigated allegations of bias against Justice Henrietta Abban, the judge who convicted him.

His objection at last week’s sitting necessitated the reconstitution of the panel to include Justice Anin Yeboah, but when the case was called yesterday, Mr.Tsikata said: "It amazes me that Justice Anin Yeboah has replaced Justice Brobbey."

He contended that Justice Yeboah, who was an Appeal Court Judge, once sat on an aspect of his case on whether the International Finance Corporation has immunity over Ghanaian courts or not, which the Court of Appeal dismissed.

Mr. Tsikata told the court that Justice Yeboah should have known that when he was selected to replace Justice Brobbey, he should not have waited for him to draw his attention to it.

In spite of the misgivings expressed about Justice Yeboah, Mr. Tsikata urged the court to proceed hearing his case. However, after a snap consultation by the panel, the presiding Judge, Justice Sophia Akuffo announced that Justice Yeboah had agreed to "recuse" himself from the panel, meaning he has declared himself disqualified to participate in the case.

Although Mr. Tsikata maintained that the court should proceed with hearing his application, Justice Akuffo disagreed, noting that legally, once a misgiving has been expressed about a judge or issues of conflict of interest have been expressed, it is appropriate that the judge recuses himself.

In recusal, not even the Chief Justice can ask the judge to be part of the panel, Justice Akuffo indicated, and told Mr.Tsikata that she would inform the Chief Justice about the new development for the panel to be reconstituted for the second time.

Hearing was, thus adjourned sine dine.

Mr Tsikata on June 25, filed a motion at the Supreme Court to invoke its supervisory jurisdiction to quash the decision of Justice Abban, and had gone there yesterday for its ruling on whether to quash his conviction or not.

Mr Tsikata was convicted on June 18, after he was found guilty of three counts of causing financial loss of GH¢230,000 to the state and misapplying public property worth GH¢2,000.

According to Mr. Tsikata, Justice Abban’s guilty verdict and subsequent five-year sentence should be scrapped to enable the Supreme Court to rule on his appeal for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to be brought to court to give evidence in the case for which he was convicted.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tsikata is due this morning to appear before the Fast Track High Court which convicted him to move his application for bail.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Supreme Court Bans Use Of Pan Latrines

By Stephen K. Effah
Friday, 18 July 2008


The Supreme Court has banned the use of pan latrines in the Accra metropolis, and directed the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to phase them out within five years.

Consequently, it has requested the AMA to construct 1,500 water closet and KVIP public places of convenience in the metropolis within the period, effective July 8, as well as arrange subsidies for those who will convert their pan latrines.

The five-member panel, presided over by Justice Sophia Akuffo, further asked the AMA to publicise the abolition of pan latrines in the metropolis, and prosecute those who fail to convert theirs to water closet or KVIP within the five-year period.

The orders by the highest court on Wednesday, followed the success of a writ brought against the AMA by an Accra-based legal practitioner, Nana Adjei Ampofo, challenging the Assembly’s constitutional right to engage people to carry human excreta from pan latrines.

Adopting a settlement agreed upon by the AMA and Nana Ampofo, the court urged the assembly to enforce the prosecution of those who fail to convert their pan latrines in the metropolis.

Further, the court asked the AMA to stop granting permits to building plans "that do not have adequate provision for WC or KVIP," and directed the assembly to prosecute anyone who engages people to carry human waste after the period.

After reading the terms of the settlement, Justice Akuffo congratulated Nana Ampofo for embarking on such an initiative and for winning the case, adding "history will be very grateful to you".

Nana Ampofo, in February this year, commenced action on the matter, arguing that the act or practice of the AMA in engaging the services of some Ghanaians to carry faeces or toilet in pans on their heads is an affront to their dignity.

He thus prayed the court to restrain the AMA to abolish the practice, since in his view, it is not only cruel and inhuman, but degrading to the carriers as human beings.

According to Nana Ampofo, the practice is inconsistent with, and contravenes Article 15 of the national Constitution which states, among other things, that the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable, and that no person shall whether or not he is arrested, restricted or detained, be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments or punishment.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tsatsu Objects To Judge Brobbey Sitting

By Stephen K. Effah
Thursday, 17 July 2008


The convicted former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Tsatsu Tsikata, yesterday sprang another surprise at the Supreme Court when he requested Justice Stephen Alan Brobbey, to "recuse" himself from the five-member panel hearing his application to quash Justice Henrietta Abban’s June 18, decision.

He argued that Justice Brobbey was once a member of a committee of inquiry set up by the Chief Justice to investigate the conduct of Justice Henrietta Abban, thus giving him an informed opinion of her, which could influence his case before the Supreme Court.

He told the packed court presided over by Justice Sophia Akuffo, that at the last adjournment, the issue of Justice Brobbey’s involvement in the committee that investigated Justice Abban’s conduct had not come to his notice, noting he was informed recently.

Mr Tsikata on June 25, filed a motion at the highest court to invoke its supervisory jurisdiction to quash the decision of Justice Abban, and had gone there yesterday for its ruling on whether to quash his conviction or not.

Mr Tsikata was handed a five-year jail term by an Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Abban, on June 18, on three counts of causing financial loss to the state and misapplying state property.

According to Mr. Tsikata, Justice Abban’s guilty verdict and subsequent five-year sentence should be scrapped to enable the Supreme Court to rule on his appeal for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to be brought to court to give evidence in the case of which he was convicted of.

Although Mr Tsikata’s decision to get Justice Brobbey off the panel did not go down well with him, he expressed his readiness to step aside if Mr. Tsikata thinks his inclusion could have any effect in determining his case.

"On the basis of this undeniable fact, if you believe that will cloud your case, I will tell the Chief Justice to get another judge to replace me", he told Mr. Tsikata.

Justice Akuffo then told Mr Tsikata that the Chief Justice will be informed about his request to get a replacement for Justice Brobbey, and adjourned the case sine dine.

Mr Tsikata was convicted on June 18, after he was found guilty of three counts of causing financial loss of GH¢230,000 to the state and misapplying public property worth GH¢2,000.

At the time of his conviction, Mr Tsikata was expected to appear before the Supreme Court the following week for the highest court’s ruling on whether the International Finance Corporation has immunity or not to testify in the case.

Immediately he was sentenced, Mr. Tsikata asked the court for bail to allow him to appeal against the decision of the judge but that request was refused.

He later filed a notice of appeal seeking an order of the Court of Appeal to set aside the High Court’s decision because, he said, it was unreasonable and not supported by the evidence given.

On June 25, the Supreme Court suspended its ruling on the IFC’s immunity following Mr Tsikata’s decision to "arrest" the court’s judgement and request for it to invoke its supervisory jurisdiction to quash his conviction by the High Court.

Mr Tsikata said in the lower court’s verdict ahead of the Supreme Court’s pronouncement on IFC’s immunity amounted to undermining its authority and should not be allowed to stand.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

High Court Suspends Tsikata's Application

By Stephen K. Effah
Wednesday, 16 July 2008


A Fast Track High Court in Accra, yesterday suspended the mini trial requested by the jailed former Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Chief Executive, Tsatsu Tsikata, to prove allegations of bias against Justice Henrietta Abban, the High Court judge, who convicted him last month.

This followed the success of an application filed by the Attorney-General, Joe Ghartey, on July 10, for the court to stay proceedings of the mini trial since its hearing could lead to "absurdity."

The A-G argued that the essence of the application and another one filed by Mr. Tsikata at the Supreme Court sought to achieve one purpose of determining allegation of bias against Justice Abban in her judgement.

Mr. Tsikata filed a motion at the Fast Track High Court, presided over by Justice K.A Ofori Atta, to disqualify Justice Abban from hearing his application for bail pending the outcome of an appeal he has filed against his sentence.

Ruling in favour of the A-G, the trial judge, Justice Ofori Atta, held that the application filed at the Supreme Court and the one before him have the same objective of determining alleged bias exhibited by Justice Abban in her ruling of June 18.

Justice Ofori Atta pointed out that the element of alleged bias by Justice Abban runs through Mr.Tsikata’s grounds in his applications before him and the Supreme Court, hence the two are related.

Mr. Tsikata was on June 18, sentenced to five years imprisonment by an Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Abban, after he was found guilty of three counts of causing financial loss of GH¢230,000 to the state and misapplying GH¢2,000 in public property.

At the time of his conviction, Mr. Tsikata was expected to appear before the Supreme Court the following week for the highest court’s ruling on whether the International Finance Corporation has immunity or not to testify in the case.

Immediately he was sentenced, Mr. Tsikata asked the court for bail to allow him to appeal against the decision of the judge but that request was refused by the court.

He later filed a notice of appeal seeking an order of the Court of Appeal to set aside the High Court’s decision because, he said, it was unreasonable and not supported by the evidence given.

On June 25, the Supreme Court suspended its ruling on the IFC’s immunity following Mr. Tsikata’s decision to "arrest" the court’s judgement and request for it to invoke its supervisory jurisdiction to quash his conviction by the High Court.

Contempt Case Against AMA Boss Dismissed

By Stephen K. Effah
Tuesday, 15 July 2008


AN Accra Fast Track Court yesterday dismissed a contempt case brought against the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and its Chief Executive, Stanley Adjiri Blankson, for their failure to eject hawkers at the Knustford Avenue in Accra Central.

The court, presided over by Justice Victor Ofoe, awarded cost of GH¢700 fine against Mr Labib C. Seraphim, the complainant.

Mr Seraphim, owner of Seraphim Department Stores in Accra, had filed a motion of notice to impose a heavy fine on the assembly, and commit its boss to prison for the assembly’s refusal to evict hawkers from the Knustford Avenue.

He also asked the court to compel the assembly and its Chief Executive to discharge their obligation by evicting hawkers from the street to allow vehicular access to stores in the area.

Dismissing the case, the judge held that Mr Seraphim was not able to prove to the court that the AMA and its boss "wilfully disobeyed" the court order.

It said that the assembly and its Chief Executive in April 2006, did eject the hawkers from the Knustford Avenue, adding that the fact that the hawkers returned does not mean the AMA did not carry out the court orders.

"The order is not a continuing one which will call for a continuing policing of the place," the court said.

Earlier, counsel for Mr Seraphim, Godfred Yeboah Dame, contended that the AMA and Mr Adjiri Blankson have deliberately refused to eject the hawkers from the Knustford Avenue.

But counsel for AMA, Selina Fenteng, disagreed saying that the AMA did comply with the court directives by ejecting the hawkers from the street, which resulted in free pedestrian and vehicular movement.

She tendered in evidence some newspaper publications indicating that the assembly carried out the court orders to eject the hawkers, adding that a pedestrian shopping mall was constructed by the assembly for the ejected hawkers at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle after the exercise.

On February 28, 2005, Mr Seraphim commenced action against the AMA, at the Fast Track High Court which on April 10, 2006, granted him all the reliefs he sought.

These included an order to compel the assembly to provide vehicular access to Knustford Avenue and another order to restrain the defendants from converting Knustford Avenue into a market.

The court, in granting the reliefs, declared that the action of the assembly in converting the Knustford Avenue into a market for hawkers was unlawful and asked it to discharge its obligation of evicting the hawkers.

It further asked the assembly to provide vehicular access to Knustford Avenue and restrain it from ever converting the place into a market for hawkers.

But Mr Seraphim said in his motion that the AMA had for the past two years refused to carry out the court orders, as the hawkers continued to exercise "absolute dominion" at the place, which he indicated, is gravely hampering the lawful business activities in the area.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tsikata, A-G In 'Bible Contest'

By Stephen K. Effah
Friday, 11 July 2008


The jailed former Ghana National Petroleum Corporation Chief Executive, Tsatsu Tsikata, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Joe Ghartey, yesterday went beyond their legal prowess to surprise a packed Fast Track Court in Accra, when they used the Holy Bible to cast innuendos at each other to argue their case.

Mr. Tsikata who was handed a five-year jail term on June 18, by Justice Henrietta Abban, at a Fast Track High Court after he was found guilty of wilfully causing financial loss to the state, has applied to the court for a mini trial of Justice Abban to enable him prove alleged bias against her.

The exhibition of their grasp of the Holy Bible began after the two parties argued out their case in a heated exchange over a motion filed by Mr.Ghartey yesterday morning to stay proceedings of the mini trial, presided over by Justice Ofori Attah.

Ending his argument, Mr. Tsikata said: "My Lord, I want to end my case with a respectful authority; that is Jesus" as he quoted Luke chapter 12, which in verses 2,3 reads: "…But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known…

"Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light. What you have spoken in the ear in the inner chambers will be proclaimed on the housetops..."

The A-G got up and responded: "Amen" to Tsikata’s Bible quotation. Then he also ended his argument, by craving the indulgence of the court and quoting extensively from Mathew Chapter Five, verses 13 of which read: "…You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing anymore but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men..."

Although Mr. Tsikata, was not served with the motion to stay proceedings until he was in court yesterday, he waived the four days privilege within which to respond to the motion, and urged the judge to proceed with the matter after he was given about an hour to go through it.

The three-man prosecution team, led by Mr Ghartey argued that Mr. Tsikata had filed an application at the Supreme Court to quash the June 18 decision by Justice Abban, noting that the essence of that application and the one before the Fast Track Court sought to achieve one purpose.

He said all the reprieves being sought by Mr. Tsikata at the highest court of the land are the same he is seeking in the mini trial at the Fast Track Court, adding, "such a situation can lead to absurdity."

However, Mr. Tsikata, who has since his incarceration, been appearing without his counsel, told the court that Mr. Ghartey has "failed to appreciate the import of the application before you and that of the Supreme Court".

He said the one before the Supreme Court has "absolutely nothing to do with the judgement by Justice Abban" on June 18, as claimed by the A-G, adding, "this is a complete lack of candour. This lack of candour by the A-G should not be treated lightly.

"This is not only lacking in candour but also in legal merit because the impression being created before you is wrong," he argued, saying "my lord, the candour should be heard even before the substance of the issue."

His comment did not go down well with Mr. Ghartey who immediately interrupted and indicated that if Mr. Tsikata were to be a lawyer at the bar, he would have been made to apologise.

Continuing, Mr. Tsikata insisted that the A-G even failed to attach some important documents to the motion of stay of proceedings he filed.

But Mr. Ghartey said even if that was the case, Mr Tsikata cannot dwell on that to attack his integrity.

"My Lord, he can say what I have done is wrong in law but not to say that I have not been candid or truthful," the A-G responded.

But Mr. Tsikata repeatedly referred to the A-G as lacking "candour".

"You cannot do that because you are not a lawyer at the bar to be disciplined," he told Mr. Tsikata. But Mr. Tsikata maintained his position and quoted Article 296, saying that even a judge can be said to be lacking candour.

The judge, Justice Ofori Attah, then adjourned the case to July 15, to give his judgement on whether to put Justice Abban on a mini trial for alleged bias or not.

Mr. Tsikata has since his sentencing, accused the judge, Justice Abban of bias in the trial and opposed her hearing an application for bail pending appeal against his conviction.

He then petitioned the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Wood, to intervene, but, the CJ advised that the matter should be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction rather than administratively in order that the grave issues that had been raised be determined judicially for the appropriate orders to be made".

Dansoman Murder Case: 2 Remanded

By Stephen K. Effah
Thursday, 10 July 2008


TWO of the four people being tried for their complicity in the murder and robbery of the 72-year-old pensioner, Emmanuel Ayeh Asare, at his Dansoman Estate residence on February 29, were yesterday remanded in prison custody.

They are: Emmanuel Ayeh Asare, popularly known as K.B, a step grandson of the deceased and Jonas Kpakpo Allotey, a.k.a Saamoa.

The other two suspects, Abeiku Thomspon, a drinking bar operator and Ayisha Razak, a hair dresser were on June 17, granted bail by the Accra Magistrate Court presided over by Mrs. Mariama Mamosa.

K.B and Saamoa are facing charges of conspiracy, murder and stealing, while Thompson and Ayisha are charged with dishonestly receiving.

The case has been adjourned to July 23.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Contempt Case Against Minister Dropped

By Stephen K. Effah
Wednesday, 09 July 2008


A contempt case brought against the Central Regional Minister, Nana Ato Arthur, and three others by Obirifo Ahunako Ahor Ankobea II, Omanhene of Gomoa Akyempim, was yesterday withdrawn from an Accra High Court.

This followed a plea by the Regional House of Chiefs to settle the matter out of court to ensure peaceful co-existence in the area.

Nana Arthur, Joyce Aidoo, Gomoa District Chief Executive, its presiding member, Oscar Abban and the chief of Afransi Ogyedom, Nana Kwasi Atta, were cited for contempt for inaugurating the newly created Gomoa East District in spite of a court injunction on the function.

The court, presided over by Justice E.K Mensah, granted the appeal by the House of Chiefs, and gave them up to July 28 to report to the court the outcome of the settlement.

The facts of the case as heard by the court are that on May 29, Obirifo Ankobea filed a suit against the Attorney-General and the Electoral Commission over the naming of Afransi as the district capital for the newly created Gomoa East District.

On June 9, the chief filed an interlocutory application for an injunction, citing Parliament, the Attorney-General and the Electoral Commission. Hearing was fixed for June 18.

In an affidavit in support of the contempt case, Obirifo Ankobea noted that in spite of the injunction, Nana Arthur dissolved the former Gomoa District Assembly on June 18 and proceeded to inaugurate the Gomoa East District at Afransi.

Obirifo Ankobea had therefore prayed the court to imprison the four people saying their action amounted to contempt which brought the court into disrepute.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Supreme Court Hears Lotto Operators Suit

By Stephen K.Effah
Monday, 07 July 2008


The Supreme Court has directed counsel for the National Lottery Authority (NLA) and the Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) to furnish it with copies of the legal authorities they used to back their claims in their case before it but which are not found in the Ghana Law Reports.

The court explained that it was unable to secure some of the legal documents, especially those authorities in the Canadian and Indian law reports, noting that copies are not available in the court’s library.

The GLOA is challenging the constitutionality of the National Lotto Act 722, 2006, which was assented to on December 27, 2006 and established the National Lottery Authority.

In its suit filed at the Supreme Court, it claimed that Act 722, which outlawed the operations of lotto business by private operators, infringes the constitutionally guaranteed right of the private operators to free economic activity.

According to them, the creation of the National Lottery Authority by the Act to take over and monopolise the operation of the lotto business in Ghana infringes on the constitutional injunction to the government to ensure a pronounced role of the private sector in the economy.

It is, therefore, praying the highest court constituted by a five-member panel of judges presided over by Justice Allan Brobbey to declare Act 722 null and void, since it is inconsistent with and in contravention of the constitution.

When the case was called, lead counsel for GLOA, Aurelius Awuku, prayed the court to disregard the NLA’s statement of case which was filed on June 26, since due process was not followed.

He argued that the statement which is supposed to be filed within 14 days was filed out of time, hence should not be accepted by the court until the right thing was done.

But the court refused to grant the request after counsel for NLA, Kizito Bayuo, had explained to the court the circumstances that led to the delay and apologised accordingly.

"My Lords, I apologise and take personal blame for that, but it is my prayer that the statement is accepted."

The court, said its decision to accept the statement in spite of the fact that it was filed belatedly is based on the fact that the matter is of public interest.

The court then told the two counsels that some of the legal authorities quoted to back their respective claims, especially those outside the country’s law report, were not available in the court’s library, and therefore directed them to provide the court with copies of those documents.

The court, therefore, adjourned to July 23, to give its decision on the matter.

The GLOA was seeking a declaration at a high court in Accra that the directive from the NLA to private lotto operators to surrender their machines and equipment used for the operation of lottery to the Director-General by August 14, 2007 was unconstitutional, illegal and unreasonable.