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Ghana Bar Association Cautions Gov't   
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The Ghana Bar Association has cautioned the government against the potential legal ramifications in the controversial sale of a state land to the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Obetsebi Lamptey.

The government says it is no longer interested in leasing the property to the former Chief of Staff under the erstwhile Kufuor administration even though Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey has paid for the property.

The Bar Association is therefore warning that in view of the “rising cost to the Republic in what has become known as ‘Judgment Debts’ arising from Government’s actions and inactions that the courts have found to have breached the law,” the government must do well to settle the matter in the best way possible.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information and Dr. Omane Boamah, Deputy Sports Minister, dragged the NPP chairman to court accusing him of abusing his office in his purchase of a government building - No 2 Mungo Street - in the Ridge residential area.

But the Supreme Court presided over by Justice William Atuguba last month ruled that Mr Obetsebi Lamptey did not abuse any law of the land by purchasing the house.

The Supreme Court also stated that the suit against Jake Obetsebi Lamptey does not border on conflict of interest and should have been taken to the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for proper interpretation.

Subsequently, the Mills-led administration decided not to sell the No. 2 Mungo Street Ridge property to Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey on moral grounds and in the “supreme interest of the Ghanaian people”.

But according to the Bar Association, the Supreme Court cannot be faulted for the failure of the plaintiffs in the matter to produce incontrovertible evidence against the NPP Chairman.

A statement released by the Association and signed by National President, Frank W.K. Beechem, said even though it respects people’s right to comment on the morality of the matter, it is important government does not disregard its contractual obligations in the lease documents “executed between the government (as lessor) and Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey (as Lessee).”

The statement further indicated that the Bar “recognises the power of the Government to compulsorily take possession of or acquire any property in the public interest or for a public purpose, in accordance with Article 20 of the Constitution and the State Lands Act, 1962 (Act 125),” advising that “we respectfully urge the Government to be very mindful of the obligations that the law imposes on it, in this matter.”

The Bar however hopes that “more and more public-spirited persons would be willing and prepared to raise before our courts, such issues of national importance, which would not only enrich our constitutional jurisprudence and land law, but contribute to a debate that should result in establishing more transparent standards in the acquisition of State properties and in our effort to build a rich and prosperous democratic country.”
Source: radioxyzonline.com

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