Court to decide fate of IGP in contempt case
The High Court in Accra will on Monday decide whether or not to stay of a contempt conviction against the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr David Asante Apeatu
state is praying the court to stay of its conviction of the IGP until the final determination of an appeal challenging the processes leading up to the conviction.
A Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, at the court’s sitting in Accra, moved a motion for stay of execution of the conviction of the IGP.
The state is arguing that the trial judge committed a serious error of law when he failed to take account of the fact that none of the mandatory procedures required by the High Court (Civil Procedure, Rules, 2004, C.I.47) for enforcement of judgment or order for recovery of possession of immovable property had been complied with in the case in question.
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The IGP was on September 25, 2018, committed for contempt for disobeying a court order.
The presiding judge, Mr Justice Daniel Mensah, took view of the conduct of the police chief and said he must be “sanctioned appropriately”.
He said the IGP wilfully disobeyed two court orders that directed him to provide security for the execution of another court order that gave the green light for the sale of a 12-block uncompleted flat at Redco in Madina.
“The act of the IGP can appropriately be said to be willful. The respondent (IGP) has failed to discharge the burden required to avoid a conviction and must, therefore, be committed for contempt of court and sanctioned appropriately,’’ Mr Justice Mensah held.
The ruling of the court followed an application for contempt filed against the IGP by two individuals — Mr Samuel Aggrey and Mrs Augustina Gyekye.
The two had gone to court with a case that the IGP disobeyed two court orders, dated October 23, and February 20, 2018, for him to provide security for an auctioneer to sell the flats, which were legally theirs.
They argued that the failure of the IGP to obey the orders had brought the administration of justice into disrepute.
The state’s appeal against the IGP’s conviction argues that Order 43 rule 3 (1) of C. I. 47 requires a judgment or order for recovery of possession to be enforced by a writ of possession issued with leave of the Court.
The rule further states that leave for the issue of a writ of possession shall not be granted without notice to the persons in actual possession of the property – the personnel of the Ghana Police Service in this case.
According to Mr Dame, none of the above was done in the said case.
He said the judge committed a grave error of law when he failed to note that the essential conditions required for using contempt as a process for enforcing an order had not been satisfied.
The state is further arguing that the contempt application and all that followed from it were void for having been issued by a lawyer, who did not have a valid solicitor’s licence as of the date of the filing of the application for contempt.
Mr Dame accordingly prayed the court to reverse and set aside the ruling of the High Court dated September 25, 2018, convicting the IGP of contempt of court.
The contempt case against the IGP is the result of a legal dispute that started in 1988 between Redco Ghana Limited, the former owners of the flats, and one Mrs Isabella Odi Aggrey (now deceased).
In 1988, Mrs Aggrey sued Redco Limited for failing to pay an amount owed her.
On February 23, 1993, she won the case at the High Court and the court ordered Redco to pay her the money.
On March 15, 1993, the block of flats attached, which meant that if Redco failed to pay the money, the court would sell the property to enable Mrs Aggrey to retrieve her money.
Redco filed an application for a stay of execution of the High Court’s judgement at the Court of Appeal and subsequently the Supreme Court, but both actions were dismissed.
Instead of giving the property back to Mrs Aggrey or her family, Redco, the applicants, gave it to the Ghana Police Service to house some officers.
Dissatisfied with the situation, Mr Aggrey and Mrs Gyekye, representing Mrs Aggrey, filed an application at the High Court to seek an order for the police to vacate the flats, and also help execute the High Court order for the flats to be sold by providing security.
The High Court, on two different occasions, ordered the IGP to provide security to enable the auctioneer to sell the block of flats.
Lawyers for the two applicants later filed another case, citing the IGP for contempt with the case that the IGP failed to perform his statutory duty and disobeyed the orders of the court to provide security for the execution of the court order.
Case of IGP
In response, the Attorney-General (A-G), representing the Ghana Police and the IGP, argued that the property in contention was for the Ghana Police Service and not Redco.