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Crime & Punishment of Monday, 15 May 2006

Source: GNA

Minister in court for contempt

Accra, May 15, GNA - Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines and 11 officials of the Forestry Commission (FC) on Monday appeared before an Accra Fast Track High Court to answer a contempt suit against them.

Ghana Association of Forest Plantation Wood Millers and Exporters (GATEX) had filed a contempt suit against Professor Fobih and the others for conducting a competitive bidding despite a notice of interlocutory injunction on the bidding process.

GATEX had earlier filed a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction restraining the respondents from conducting competitive bidding for the Plantation Timber on Friday April 21. The respondents/defendants include Mr Augustine Arthur, Director of Timber Rights and Adjudicating Unit of the FC, Mr Nobel Biney, Director in Charge of Finance and Administration, FC, and Mr Peter Boateng, Acting Executive Director FC.

Arguing the contempt suit, Mr Adjei Lartey, counsel for GATEX said the respondents were aware of the interlocutory injunction but went ahead with the bidding.

According to Mr Lartey, there were several publications in the newspapers, which the respondents/defendants could have read. He referred to an interview granted by Professor Fobih in the Daily Graphic, in which he described the bidding process as being transparent and the best.

Mr Lartey contended that the Minister's excuse that he was not aware of any court process should not be accepted. He prayed the court to allow him to bring his witnesses to support his claims since the onus lay on him to prove his case before respondents argued their case. The court obliged and adjourned the matter to May 19. 15 May 06