High Court dismisses ICU writ

An Accra High Court has dismissed an application filed by the Interim Management Committee of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) to set aside a writ filed by Mr Dave Agbenu and Mr Foster Amanor, both members of the union. The writ the two filed on December 4, 2008, sought a declaration that a resolution dated August 2, 2007 purported to have been passed by and issued for and on behalf of the National Executive Council of the ICU is false, fraudulent and in flagrant breach of ICU's constitution. The court awarded 1,000 Ghana cedis cost against the Interim Management Committee. A date will therefore set for the substantive case to be heard. The writ sought an order of the court to annul and strike out as unlawful the resolution and the Interim Management Committee together with all acts and decisions taken by or emanating from the defendants in the name of the ICU. The writ wants the court's declaration that all the constitutionally elected national officers of the ICU, notably the National Chairman, Mr A.Y.B. Salifu, the National Vice Chairperson, Mr Dorothy Mensah, the General Secretary, Mr Napoleon Kpoh and the National 1st Trustee Madam Christiana Baidoo should continue in office in the position held prior to the August 2, 2007 until the Eighth Quadrennial Delegates Congress of the ICU is duly held. But the Interim Management Committee filed an application that the writ was premature since the plaintiffs who are members of the ICU had failed to comply with the provision of the constitution of the ICU requiring them to exhaust the detailed internal dispute resolution procedures before mounting any court action. It said the plaintiffs failed to comply with the provisions of ICU's constitution by pursuing the internal procedures before coming to court. The writ must, therefore, be set aside for the plaintiffs to go back and exhaust the internal procedures before coming to court. But Mr Justice Kwabena Asuman-Adu ruled that the Interim Management Committee's application to set aside the Writ was not only improper but also incompetent. The court said granted that even if the plaintiffs were even amenable to the grievance process, the proper order applicable in these circumstances would be a stay of proceedings and not a setting aside of the Writ. The court ruled that evidence before the court showed that an Interim Management Committee had been appointed in place of the Management Committee and by the constitution it is this committee that will have to appoint the panel members of the committee that will have to sit on the complaint. It said the complaint is supposed to be lodged with the Acting Secretary General, who is a party to the suit, and the members of the Interim Management Committee being the Sixth Defendant in the suit. The court said this would mean the defendants who are supposed to be members of the Interim Management Committee are going to be judges in their own cause and this would amount to a breach of natural justice. A date will therefore set for the substantive case to be heard.