General News of Saturday, 15 September 2012

Source: The Herald

CJ’s Friends Take Over AFAG Case

By Cecil Mensah

Ex-Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Joe Ghartey, has taken over the case involving a member of the Alliance for Accountable Government (AFAG) at the Supreme Court in which an interlocutory injunction is been sought to prevent the Electoral Commission (EC) from increasing parliamentary seats from 230 to 275.

Mr. Ghartey, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Essikado Katan Constituency in the Western Region, was accompanied by Mr. Alexander Osei Owusu and Miss Eva Otchere, a one-time sports presenter on “Joy FM”, an Accra-based radio station, seeking a relief that the EC has described as a “novelty” in Ghanaian laws.

Godfred Yeboah Dame of Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co., who filed the case and was present in court, but played a second fiddle to Mr. Ghartey together with his wife Lawyer Efua Ghartey, is a good friend to Chief Justice Georgina Wood.

Other lawyers who supported Mr. Ghartey, were Ace Ankomah, Nkrabia Effah Dartey, an ex-Deputy Minister of Interior and one- time MP for Berekum Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region and Atta Kyea, the sitting Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa South Constituency in the Eastern Region and an in-law of the Chief Justice.

The NPP team was in court on behalf of Mr. Ransford France of AFAG, seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the EC from passing the Constitutional Instrument (C.I) laid by the Electoral Commission (EC) seeking to create 45 new constituencies in the run -up to the December 7, polls.

Mr. Ghartey, told Justice Julius Ansah, the only judge sitting on the case to restraint Parliament from creating the 45 new constituencies, and also demanded from the court to cite the EC for contempt of court for laying a new C.I 78 in Parliament, when it was aware of a pending suit against the earlier C.I. 73.

Justice Julius Ansah, drew some laughter and murmuring from the court, when he asked the ex-Minister of Justice, ”you want this court to restraint Parliament?” but Mr. Ghartey, did not respond to the question which looked more rhetorical.

The Supreme Court judge, later sought the views of Mr. Quarshie Idun, Counsel for the EC, who said Mr. France’s ”action is a novelty in Ghanaian law”.

Mr. Idun argued that granting the injunction will be the first time that the Supreme Court would order Parliament to halt in the performance of its mandate.

Counsel for the EC shot down Opremele and JH Mensah versus the Attorney-General case cited by Mr. Ghartey, saying it does not support the grounds for an interlocutory injunction, adding “my learned friend has not cited any precedent that warrant his claims being sought” he added.

Mr. Idun, told the court that granting the reliefs being sought by the AFAG guru would amount to “forcing a moving train to halt”.

On his part, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Benjamin Kumbour said the three basic principles for granting an injunction over the years must be upheld in the case before the court.

He noted that the EC had satisfied all the Constitutional requirements for laying an instrument; the court cannot restraint Parliament from considering the C.I 78.

”The court can only restraint Parliament if its proceedings are unconstitutional or illegal’ he said

The case has been adjourned to next week Wednesday, September 19, 2012 for ruling.

The Herald last Wednesday revealed how the NPP was fooling the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Presby Church and the court by pushing them into a fight with the EC over the creation of the 45 new constituencies while spreading T-shirts, posters and campaigning in the yet-to-be legalized constituencies in the Northern, Greater Accra, Ashanti and Eastern Regions.

Notable among them is the General Overseer of the Victory Bible Church, Rev. Fred Nii Adjetey Larbie of Ngleshie-Amanfro, Kasoa, in the Ga-South Municipality of the Greater Accra Region, who has opted for the yet- to-be created Bortianor, Ngleshie-Amanfro Constituency as the Parliamentary aspirant on the ticket of the NPP.

Already, Rev. Nii Adjetey’s posters and paraphernalia have hit the walls and streets of the town while his campaign men, largely landguards, were vigorously seen campaigning in the Constituency.

Pastor, as Rev. Nii Adjetey is otherwise called in the Amanfro and Tuba vicinity, has two of his campaign posters all over the place; one with him alone, while on the other one he is with the NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo. The posters were spotted at each and every corner of the yet-to be created constituency, particularly on school and church buildings in the area.

At his Amanfro residence in Kasoa, the entire fence wall and the building was wrapped with his campaign posters. A Sprinter van, being used by his campaign team, is covered with the posters.

Rev. Nii Adjetey previously contested the Weija Constituency seat in the 2008 parliamentary election as an independent candidate but lost to his party member, Ms. Shierly Ayorkor Botchwey.

The Herald has gathered that Rev. Nii Adjetey was previously a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) but later defected to the NPP when the NDC lost the 2000 election to NPP.

In 2008, Pastor stood as an independent candidate when his demands for joining the NPP were not met.

The Herald gathered that Rev. Nii Adjetey’s Victory Bible Church branch at Amanfro was closed down following sexual scandals involving him and some female members of the church, including married ones.

Currently, a new branch of the church is said to have mushroomed at the Kasoa Liberia refugee camp called Budumburam Camp, in the Central Region.