Why the IGP is guilty of contempt of court

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Mr David Asante Apeatu
Mr David Asante Apeatu

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr David Asante Apeatu, has been committed for contempt by the Accra High Court for disobeying a court order.

The presiding judge, Mr Justice Daniel Mensah, took serious 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 wilful. 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.

Contempt case

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, 2017 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.

Sell the flats

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 were 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 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 wilfully 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.
The applicants, the A-G argued, could not sell the properties if they had won a case against the Ghana Police Service, which the A-G argued was the rightful owner.

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