General News of Saturday, 10 May 2014
Source: Daily Guide
Eric Atieku, counsel for the respondents in the contempt application brought against three high-ranking officials of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has said the charge was misconceived.
He stated the application brought against the anti-graft body was intended to prevent it from performing its constitutionally mandated duties.
According to Mr. Atieku, Mr. Vincent Aikins, counsel for the applicant, had failed to provide any evidence before the court to indicate that EOCO had set aside the court order.
He argued that the action of EOCO could not amount to contempt, adding that the court must dismiss the contempt application.
Mr. Vincent Aikins responding, prayed the court not to allow EOCO go unpunished.
While describing the action as one carried out in “Rambo-style,” counsel for the applicant said it had become a practice in the country for officialdom to flout the laws of the country with impunity and scorn and yet go unpunished.
“The court should take cognisance of the fact that nobody is above the law…it has become the style of officialdom to flout the law with impunity,” he stated.
The presiding judge, Justice John Ajet-Nasam, noting that both counsels, in his words, had made “compelling arguments” after the ‘legal scuffle,’ set June 4 to take a decision on the matter.
Christopher Nimako, an Accra-based businessman, had brought the contempt proceeding against Kweku Mortey Akpadzi, Executive Director, Edward Cudjoe, Acting Head of Legal Affairs and Charles Wilcox Ofori, after the respondents had arrested him for withdrawing some money from his account at the Adabraka branch of the HFC Bank on the orders of the court.
The trio recently rushed to the Financial Division 2 of the Fast Track High Court to purge themselves of the contempt charge by filing a joint affidavit – a move Justice Ajet-Nasam had said was “procedurally wrong and incorrect in opposition in a contempt application.”
He had wondered how EOCO officials got to know that Mr. Nimako had gone to the bank to withdraw money and suddenly marshaled forces to effect his arrest and collect the Ghc68,000 from him.
The contempt proceeding against the three officials was prompted by a ruling by the Financial Division 2 Court on March 10, 2014 that EOCO should defreeze the accounts of Mr. Nimako at the Adabraka branch of the HFC Bank.
When Mr. Nimako went to the bank on March 28, 2014 to withdraw money, Mr. Ofori (3rd respondent), in collaboration with Mr. Cudjoe (2nd respondent) arranged with security officers of EOCO to arrest him.
According to Mr. Nimako, Mr. Ofori collected the money he had withdrawn from him without assigning any reason for it and when he (Nimako) asked the security team for their identity cards, they shouted at him amidst intimidation.
The applicant further averred that the security officers took him to the office of EOCO and subjected him to an extensive interrogation after which he was granted bail without the money.
On March 31, 2014 when he went to EOCO with his lawyer to enquire of the reason for the seizure of the money, he was re-arrested and whisked to an Accra Circuit Court and prosecuted for money laundering where he was later granted bail.