An Accra High Court has set November 19, 2018 to decide whether the Inspector General of Police, David Asante-Apeatu is liable for conviction in a contempt case brought against him.
Another High Court (General Jurisdiction Division) convicted and was about to sentence the IGP for allegedly failing to provide security for the execution of a court order for the sale of 12-block flat apartment occupied by police officers.
It took the timely intervention of the Office of the Attorney General to prevent the IGP from being given a custodial or a fine sentence.
Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame told the court that the state had filed an application for stay of suspension of the sale order as well as a notice of appeal of the conviction.
Mr. Dame also informed the court that the state also filed an inter-pleader to lay claim to the ownership of the flat which has been in contention for the past 30 years.
Appearing before a relieving court yesterday, the Deputy AG moved a motion to set aside the conviction of the IGP, essentially preventing the court from going ahead to sentence him.
He told the court that the trial judge committed an 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, CI 7 for enforcement of judgment or order for recovery of possession of immovable property had been complied with by the applicants.
He said the applicants did not apply for a writ of possession and were hence unable to serve the defendants; the police administration with a notice of possession which would clearly state that failure to comply would result in contempt of court.
Mr. Dame argued that the essential pre-conditions for the institution of an application for contempt were not satisfied.
He also told the court that counsel for the applicants at the time of filing the application was not in good standing as his license had expired.
He therefore prayed the court to set aside the judgment that found the IGP to be in contempt of court.
Lawyer for the plaintiffs, Oduro Osei Odame, who opposed the application told the court that the lawyer at the time of filing the application had applied for the renewal of his license and administrative lapses on the part of the General Legal Council to release the licence in time should not render the application for contempt null.
He clarified that the lawyer had acquired his renewed licence at the time he moved the motion.
On the substantive application by the AG to set aside the conviction of the IGP, he said he will rely on the documents filed.
The court subsequently set November 19, 2018 to rule on the application.
The IGP was on September 25, 2018 found guilty of contempt of court for disobeying a court order to provide security for the execution of an order for the sale of a 12-block apartment at Madina in Accra.
The court presided over by Justice Daniel Mensah’s ruling followed an application for contempt filed against the IGP by two private citizens; Samuel Aggrey and Augustina Gyekye.
The two went to court claiming 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 flat, which they claim belongs to them.
Part of their claim was that the failure of the IGP to obey the orders of the court had brought the administration of justice into disrepute.
The court presided over by Justice Mensah in its ruling held that “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”.
The contempt case resulted from a case that has been in court for the past 30 years between one Mrs. Aggrey (now deceased), and REDCO Company Limited.
The woman had averred from the commencement of the case in 1988 that the company had failed to pay an amount of money owed her.
The case was decided in her favour and the court in its judgment, attached the uncompleted 12-block flat at Madina in Accra as security in case the company fails to pay the money to the late Mrs. Aggrey.
REDCO subsequently appealed the judgment of the High Court but before the appeal was decided upon, which the company lost, it gave out the property to the Ghana Police Service to house some of its officers.
The applicants then went back to court to seek an order for the police to vacate the property and rather help execute the High Court’s order to sell the facility.
But the police failed to comply with the court order and claimed ownership of the property.