Appeal Court Gives Former Minister 21 Days To File Submission

The Court of Appeal has given a former Minister of State, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, 21 days to file written submissions on his appeal challenging the refusal of the Fast Track High Court to refer a matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation. A second contestant to the decision of the Fast Track High Court, Dr Richard Anane, however, filed his written submission Wednesday morning. His lawyers have since served the submission on the court and the state. Dr Akoto Osei and Dr Anane, together with three others, have been accused of causing financial loss to the state regarding the sale of Ghana Airways and the operations of the defunct Ghana International Airlines (GIA). The accused persons had requested for relevant documents to aid their defence, under Article 19 (2e) of the 1992 Constitution, which states that “a person charged with criminal offence shall be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence”. But the state opposed the application on the grounds that sections 163 and 181 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1960 (Act 30) do not allow accused persons who are standing trial summarily to have access to such documents before they are tendered in evidence as exhibits. Giving its ruling on July 16, 2010, the Fast Track High Court upheld the state’s submissions and, consequently ordered the accused persons to present themselves for trial. The court had held that the issue raised by the appellants did not border on the Constitution and, therefore, refused to refer the matter to the Supreme Court. Following the court's ruling, lawyers for Dr Anane, a former Minister of Transport, and Dr Osei filed the appeal against the court's decision. The appeal has been adjourned indefinitely.