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Nkrabeah Effah Dartey Writes: Holala! IGP Guilty Of Contempt   
 
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20-Oct-2018  
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Reader, the unthinkable has happened. The unbelievable has occurred. The impossible has become a reality. The Head of the Ghana Police Service, the Almighty Inspector General of Police, who travels in a police convoy of at least 4 armoured cars – the very embodiment of the law, has been declared Guilty of Contempt by an Accra High Court, presided over by Mr. Justice Daniel Mensah, aka Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyeman Badu, Dormaahene.

The derivatives are many and profound.

But, it all began in a very small almost imperceptible manner.

You know, reader, at the Law School, law students are repeatedly told that “THERE IS NO SMALL CASE IN COURT”.

I remember one morning at Cocoa Affairs Complex courts, I had six cases to go through, then I met a Law faculty mate of mine, now a Justice of the Supreme Court – he threw a file into my hands and said: “Effah, I am extremely very tight – just enter this Court and take a date for me – I am for the Defendant:.

“Take a date? No problem”.

I entered the court, manouvred and got the case called – “My Lord, I want a date – I am holding the brief of……………”

Mrs. Agyeman Bempah, the Circuit Court Judge was furious. “Counsel, this case has delayed too much. I am NOT giving you a date. Yes, PW1 enter the box…….” I ended up spending TWO HOURS in the courtroom.

In the year 1988, I am sure Mr David Asante Apeatu was either a young university graduate just enlisted into the Police Service or some ASP somewhere in Hohoe District or Asankragua. A simple case of title to land over Redco flats began at the High Court.

This suit travelled during the years up to the Supreme Court and Redco Flats kept losing and took a brilliant step of installing police officers in the flats as a kind of barracks.

Then the Court gave orders that the Redco flats should be sold, by public auction, of course, under the supervision of the police. Now, hold on, reader, how can you surpervise the auction sale of your “own property”? Ho la! la!

Then NPP came to power and David Asante Apeatu became the Inspector General of Police, and one of the first problems confronting him on his desk was a specific court order that he should release police officers to supervise the public auction sale of Redco Flats, occupied in part, by Police Officers!

I worked briefly as a soldier as Aide de Camp to the Army Commander, and I observed that commander, like the IGP, has a minimum of THREE senior officers to advise him on ANY decision that needs to be taken.

So the IGP wobbled around the problem and eventually he was cited for contempt. Reader, what is contempt?

“Contempt” is a creature of the courts. It is a special power invented by the courts to protect the power that they wield to enforce justice. No contempt case is the same, because it is ONLY the sitting Judge hearing the merits of the case who can determine whether or not this act complained of is contempt.

I remember 2011. I decided that in order to thank God for making me a lawyer for 25 years, I had to build a clinic in a village where no member of my family will ever go. I was led to sink two billion cedis to build a clinic in Ashalaja, and on late Friday afternoon at about 4 pm, I received a writ of summons and an application for Interim Injunction that I should NOT commission the Clinic on 3rd October 2011, a Monday.

I went ahead and commissioned the Clinic and I was cited for contempt. The Court, presided over by Her Lordship Mrs. Justice Elizabeth Ankama ruled that as a practicing lawyer, I ought to have I known that doing the very act that the injunction application was seeking to prevent amounted to contempt of court, so I was guilty of contempt. My Lord sentenced me to a fine of 1000 GH cedis or imprisonment for 14 days.

The people of the village, led by their chief, Nii Akwannor IV, immediately brought out the cash, one thousand cedis, and paid off the fine.

“Contempt “is any act that brings the administration of justice into disrepute. It is quasi criminal, and must be proved strictly.

The case of the Republic versus David Asante Apeatu, IGP was brought before General Jurisdiction 2, presided over by Justice Daniel Mensah. He is one Judge who makes you wish you were also a Judge – when he enters, he will bow correctly to lawyers, when a case is called he will clearly openly tolerate ALL sides, at times openly showing you where his mind is working, at times he will look blankly up, wondering, at times he will openly consult senior counsel in the courtroom – honestly, reader, it is a delight to practice law in GJ2. The other day my case was called: Regina Kenya vrs Ekow Brown – then my Lord said:

“Madam, what is your name? Regina Kenya?

“Yes, my Lord”

“Very well. I am Daniel Ghana!!”

And you know, Justice Daniel Mensah, then a Circuit Court Judge in Tema, wearing the robes of Dormaahene, Osagyefo Osaadeeyo Agyeman Badu, was cited for contempt of court over some queenmother case pending at the Judicial Committee of Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs. According to newspaper reports, Nana Dormaahene told the Wenchi High Court that he works with the Judicial Service so he will never do anything to bring the administration of justice into disrepute

For a man like this to convict you of contempt – then your case must be really very bad.

And so the reality is that for the records, in the history of Ghana, a High Court Judge has declared that the IGP is guilty of contempt. Whether the team of lawyers who defended him were inexperienced or did not have a very serious approach to the issue is neither here nor there; what is materially significant is that the law has proved that it is no respecter of persons. Period.

My very first comment is that the IGP has nobody but himself to blame. He must have thought that “oh, this is a small matter – no problem”. A terrible miscalculation. In law, no case is small. I have no doubt that if he had taken top notch legal practitioners like Dr Sory, Ace Ankomah, Sam Okudzeto and others to defend him, this disastrous calamity could have been avoided.

The second comment is that if our Judges can be that bold and enforce the law in such rigid a manner, Ghana will be a safer, better and more prosperous place.

I have said it time without number that the white man is no better than us in any way, except that in their countries, The Law Works! Dare to go wrong and the law will fleece you. Tony Blair, British Prime Minister was arrested and fined for talking on phone while driving. Spiro T Agnew, Richard Nixon’s Vice President, was arrested and jailed for 6 months for tax evasion. Purely on historical basis, I predict that Donald Trump will not finish his term – he will be impeached. Over there, THE LAW WORKS!

Here in our land, appoint somebody as Minister of State and he becomes untouchable. His party is in power so in the name of VIGILANTE he can storm a courtroom to liberate an accused person – you serve a party with injunction application and he toys with it…….no, THE LAW MUST WORK.

You think the white man is not corrupt? Of course they are – in fact WORSE, except that their corruption is in their homes, in their private companies, strictly private contracts, but when it comes to the STATE – man, you are dead. Any wonder you see a whole Prime Minister going to work riding a bicycle?

I offer no comment on the consequences of the conviction, safe to say that to God be the Glory, Ghana is on course. Kudos to our Judges.

Our elders say it is only a fool who says that they are after my neighbour and not me. If you see someone’s beard on fire, you better keep water around.

Long live Ghana


 
 
Source: Nkrabeah Effah Dartey/Daily Guide
 
 

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