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Indian businessman petitions Akufo-Addo over "harassment" by Interior Minister

Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery

An Indian businessman, Mr Ashok Kumar Sivaram, who was deported in June 2017, has petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over what he claims to be a calculated attempt to destroy his business interests in the country.

He alleged that the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery; the Comptroller-General of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Mr Kwame Takyi, as well as the Deputy Comptroller-General in charge of Operations, Mr Laud Afrifa, hatched up a plot to deport him.

That, he claimed, was to aid his business partner, Sachin Nambeear, to take over his interests in his company in Ghana, Jai Mai Communications.

He, therefore, called on President Akufo-Addo to intervene for his residential permit to be restored to enable him to protect his business interests in the country.

The petition, dated August 15, 2017, was copied to the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice, the Attorney-General, among other government officials.

GIS rebuttal

But, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Takyi dismissed Mr Sivaram’s assertions, describing them as unfortunate.

According to him, the GIS was not interested in and would not attempt to destroy anybody’s business.

Mr Sivaram, he said, had rather refused to avail himself to the GIS per an Accra High Court ruling on August 4, 2017 to kick-start the process of his regularisation in the country.

Mr Takyi explained that the Indian and his lawyer did report to him on August 7, 2017, but at that time he had just returned from a trip outside the country and was yet to be briefed on the ruling of the court.

He added that he, therefore, told them to come back in a week’s time, but both Mr Sivaram and his counsel were yet to show up after many notices from the GIS.

“We have written to his lawyer to produce his client to be examined by us, in accordance with the decision of the court, but he has refused, so in effect he is an illegal immigrant under the immigration laws of the country,” he said.

Mr Kwame Takyi — Comptroller-General of the Ghana Immigration Service Mr Kwame Takyi — Comptroller-General of the Ghana Immigration Service

Deportation quashed

On May 15, 2017, Mr Dery signed an order for Mr Sivaram to be deported on the basis that the businessman had used a forged marriage certificate to support his application for citizenship to continue to reside in the country.

The order by the Interior Minister was carried out by the GIS on June 1, 2017 and Mr Sivaram was subsequently deported on that day.

Read also: Court quashes Indian man's deportation by Interior Minister

Not happy with the deportation, lawyers for Mr Sivaram filed an application for judicial review by way of certiorari for the order to be nullified by the Accra High Court.

In the said application, which named Mr Dery and Mr Takyi as respondents, the businessman argued that the Interior Minister had exceeded his jurisdiction in issuing the deportation order.

Also, he argued that the order was a breach of natural justice, as he was not given any hearing after he had been accused of submitting a fake marriage certificate.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Kweku T. Ackah-Boafo, on July 31, 2017 upheld Mr Sivaram’s application and quashed the deportation order.

It was the court’s view that the Interior Minister exceeded his jurisdiction when he determined that the businessman had engaged in fraud and subsequently deported him.

According to the court, the lawful procedure was for Mr Sivaram to have been put before a court of lawful jurisdiction for the case of fraud to be determined against him.

Detention

As a result of the court ruling, Mr Sivaram returned to the country on August 2, 2017, but he was detained by officials of the GIS at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

Once again, lawyers for the businessman went to the High Court and the court, on August 4, 2017, ordered Mr Sivaram’s immediate release, describing his detention as unlawful, a violation of his rights and an affront to justice.

The court, however, ordered the GIS to seize the businessman’s passport until August 8, 2017 and also ordered Mr Sivaram to report himself to the GIS before or on August 8, 2017.

The court further ordered that after August 8, the GIS should give the businessman’s passport back to him if it found no ground for him to continuously report himself to the service and also allow Mr Sivaram to apply for a regularisation of his stay, in accordance with laid down procedure.

 

Read the full petition here