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Alfred Woyome and O B Amoah
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Two separate legal actions instituted against the Economic and Organised Crime Organization (EOCO) over its investigations into the payment of GH¢51.2 million to Alfred Agbesi Woyome as judgement debt, were yesterday dismissed by the Accra High Court.

The actions by Ex-Education, Youth and Sports Minister, Mr.Yaw Osafo-Maafo and his deputy Mr. O.B Amoah who were challenging the legality of EOCO’s investigations on grounds of bias and prejudice.

The two were seeking an interlocutory injunction to restrain the EOCO from compelling them to appear before it to assist in investigations into the matter.

In dismissing the two actions the court held that they failed to establish the evidence of abuse or improper use of discretion by the EOCO in the matter. They also failed to show their right under the law which ought to be protected.

“When the plaintiff has not appeared before the defendant (EOCO) it cannot conclude that it (EOCO) has improperly exercised its discretion,” Justice Dennis Adjei, Appeal court judge said.

Justice Adjei, who sat as additional high court judge said the EOCO was only exercising its statutory powers as prescribed by Act 804 to investigate any suspected fraud inherent in the Office.

He said the court would be acting in excess of its jurisdiction if it restrained the EOCO from exercising its powers under the law when there was no evidence that it was improperly exercising its discretion.

In exercising its powers, Justice Adjei asked the EOCO to make sure it informs the two former ministers in writing that they are the proper persons to be invited and to assist in the investigations, indicate to them their right to counsel and the time, venue and date of the investigations.

Further, it ordered the EOCO to ensure that it does not violate their human dignity as per Article 15(1) of the constitution, as well as to be fair and candid in the exercise of the discretionary powers vested in it by Act 804 as per Article 296 of the constitution.

The court did not award cost against the two plaintiffs in the interest of developing the law.

Mr. Osafo-Maafo claimed in his action that public utterances by the President, the Deputy Attorney-General and the EOCO clearly indicated bias and the likelihood that the investigations would be prejudiced against him.

He accordingly asked the court to declare that the purported investigations being undertaken by EOCO into what he termed suspected serious offences, including fraud in the award and execution of contract for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008, and an invitation to him to assist in investigations were unlawful because they were issues raised in a report of the Auditor-General duly laid before Parliament.

He also argued that the circumstances surrounding the payment of the colossal sum of GH¢58,095,974.13 to Mr Woyome and the acts and utterances of the President, the Deputy Attorney-General and the EOCO disabled EOCO from acting in a fair and reasonable manner and pleaded with the court to declare that the purported investigations were actuated by bias and prejudice and, therefore, unlawful under the 1992 Constitution.

Additionally, he sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from proceeding with the investigations into the suspected serious offences, including fraud in the award and execution of contract for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008, as well as other reliefs the court might deem fit.

Mr. Amoah in his substantive action, sought among other things, a declaration that the EOCO has no statutory mandate to investigate civil and commercial matters, as well as a declaration that the action to investigate the matter is calculated to undermine and prejudice the outcome of the matter between the Attorney General and Mr.Woyome at the Commercial Court.
Source: newtimes

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