The Comptroller-General of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Mr Kwame Takyi, has been given a seven-day ultimatum by the Accra High Court to restore the residence and work permits of an Indian businessman, Mr Ashok Kumar Sivaram.
In a judgement delivered on Monday, the court, presided over by Mrs Justice Naa Adoley Azu, also ordered the GIS boss or any person working under his authority not to make any attempt to deport the businessman or “harass him in whatever shape or form’’ prior to the issuance of the permits.
The court’s decision followed an application for mandamus filed by Mr Sivaram, which named Mr Takyi and the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, as respondents
In the said application, the businessman wanted the court to compel the respondents to restore his residence and work permits, which were cancelled by the service following his deportation on June 1, 2017, on the basis that his deportation was quashed by the High Court on July 31, 2017.
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The said permits, valid for two years, were issued by the GIS to the businessman on November 24, 2016.
GIS must be compelled
The court held that Mr Sivaram had business interests in the country and must, therefore, be given the opportunity to protect those interests.
It was the court‘s view that the GIS had failed to restore the businessman’s permits, in spite of the fact that his deportation order was quashed by the High Court, and, therefore, the court must compel it to do so.
“Since the deportation order has been quashed by the High Court, there was a duty incumbent on the respondents to reinstate the applicant to his former status prior to the issuance of the deportation order,’’ the presiding judge held.
It was the argument of the respondents that the businessman was deported because he allegedly presented a fake marriage certificate in support of his application for a Ghanaian citizenship.
Counsel for the respondents, Ms Jasmine Armah, a State Attorney, argued that the supposed marriage between the businessman and a Ghanaian was not recognised because he was already married to an Indian woman.
She averred that Mr Sivaram, however, failed to disclose that information to the GIS when he applied for a Ghanaian citizenship.
But the court rejected that argument on the basis that it was irrelevant to the mandamus application and was introduced by the respondents to “simply muddy the waters’’.
According to the court, the GIS issued the residence and work permits to the businessman as a result of his business in the country and not because of his marital status.
It was of the view that the same issue was raised by the respondents when the businessman applied for a certiorari order for his deportation to be quashed but the court quashed the deportation.
“The residence and work permits granted had no connection to the purported fake marriage. The said permits were issued for business reasons and had nothing to do with marriage or the applicant’s connection or relation to a Ghanaian or Indian female,’’ Mrs Justice Azu held.
Mr Sivaram, Mr Takyi and Mr Dery have been embroiled in a legal battle following Mr Sivaram’s deportation from the country by the GIS on June 1, 2017, in compliance with a deportation order signed by the Interior Minister on May 15, 2017.
Mr Sivaram has since petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over what he claimed to be a deliberate attempt by Mr Dery and Mr Takyi to deport him to aid his business partner to take over his (Mr Sivaram’s) company in the country.
The GIS has, however, refuted Mr Sivaram’s claims, explaining that neither the service nor Mr Dery had any interest in Mr Sivaram’s feud with his business partner.