Afoko Crashes Again

An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Anthony Yeboah yesterday dismissed contempt proceedings brought against some five leading members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) by Oppong Kyekyeku.

Mr Kyekyeku had filed a motion on notice for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the respondents—Prof Mike Oquaye, Dr Asante Antwi, Chairman of the NPP Disciplinary Committee, Hon Addo Kufour, Madam Ama Busia and Hon Gifty Kusi—from hearing a complaint against the party’s embattled National Chairman, Paul Afoko, without following the laid down procedure.

Last week a High Court in Accra dismissed another suit filed by Mr Kyekyeku in relation to the suspension of Mr Afoko as National Chairman of the NPP.

In the case in question, the court presided over by Justice Arkaah – Boafo upheld the contention of the defendants that Mr Kyekyeku had no capacity to mount the action, indicating that the plaintiff had not stated that he was an agent of Mr Afoko, the suspended Chairman of the NPP.

The judge had argued that a busy-body was not clothed with the capacity to sue in respect of a violation or the threat of a violation of fundamental human rights.

In the latest suit, lawyers of the plaintiff, who is also a member of the NPP, in their affidavit in support of the motion for contempt, alleged that the processes were served on the respondents who duly entered appearance.

According to the plaintiff, at the Disciplinary Committee hearing, lawyers for Mr Afoko drew the committee’s attention to the pendency of the writ of sermons and a motion for injunction concerning the issues to be discussed by the committee and requested a stay of proceedings until the court heard the case and determined the motion for injunction.

But Mr Kyekyeku claimed that the respondents in a blatant disregard for the authority of the court and in an effort to bring the administration of justice into disrepute boasted that the court could do whatever it pleases.

Contempt
He said the deliberate action of the respondents squarely brings the administration of justice, the judicial process and the authority and mandate of the court to a very serious, gross, and naked disrepute.

‘The deliberate action of the Contemnors on the 21st of October, 2015 squarely amounts to contempt of court and same is a direct affront to the court’s authority and mandate and the respondents ought to be cited for contempt and as such be punished sufficiently and be ordered to purge themselves completely of the contumacious conduct,’ Mr Kyekyeku argued.

The lawyers contended that the acts of the respondents were a wanton disregard and disrespect for the authority of the court and that unless they were punished by the court, they would think it was honourable to disrespect the orders of the court in Ghana and bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

Opposition
Godfred Yeboah Dame, lawyer for the respondents, in a response to the affidavit, said the action was unmeritorious and one filed in crass ignorance of the relevant facts and circumstances surrounding the decision of the National Disciplinary Committee of the NPP to suspend Mr Afoko.

He said the fulcrum of Mr Kyekyeku’s action filed in the court was to challenge the lawfulness of the petition by the National Council of Elders for disciplinary actions to be taken against Mr Afoko by the Disciplinary Committee.

Mr Yeboah Dame said no determination had been made of the National Council of Elders’ petition, stressing that the only decision taken by the committee was in relation to a different petition filed against Mr Afoko by Alhaji Abubakar Yeremiah and Alhaji Aminu Amadu, based on which Mr Afoko was suspended.

Justice Yeboah in a judgement said the application was incompetent.

He said an application for an interlocutory injunction was not the same as an order of a court.

The judge explained that in certain cases, a respondent to an interim injunction may proceed to engage in the act sought to be restrained if no court of competent jurisdiction would reasonably grant the injunction which had been applied for.

Justice Yeboah said a different high court had dismissed the applicant’s suit and for that matter there was no reason to punish the respondents for contempt.

He contended that the application contained too many defects and flaws and as a result, dismissed the request to convict the respondents for contempt and slapped a GH¢5,000 cost against Mr Kyekyeku.

By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson


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