Kumasi High Court strikes out contempt against City Mayor

A Kumasi High Court has dismissed a contempt case brought against the Mayor of Kumasi by some aggrieved traders.

The court described the action as “ill-motivated” and and “selfish” with the potential of plunging the Kumasi metropolis into an ungovernable state.

The ruling further stated the country’s courts should not encourage attempts by citizens to use the judiciary to circumvent due process and delay public projects and other lawful developmental initiatives by State institutions.

“By our Constitution we operate a government based on separation of powers between the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary. Judicial powers are vested in the courts, but the courts are not to superintend and be like policemen over the other organs. I have noticed in this country an attempt by citizens to take our young democracy too far. This if encouraged will make the country ungovernable and result in lawlessness,” Justice Gibson K. Adzagli noted in his ruling.

The Kejetia Traders led by Kwabena Obeng and Eric Akwasi Bempeh prayed the court to cite Mayor of Kumasi, Kojo Bonsu for contempt for failing to heed to an injunction to forcefully evacuate the traders for work to proceed on the Central Market –Kejetia Redevelopment project.

The Plaintiffs say they served Kojo Bonsu and the KMA with an injunction preventing them from barricading entrance to the Kejetia on 25th June 2015.

But city authorities proceeded to carry out the action and prevented business at the Kejetia Terminal.

They sued the Mayor and the assembly for contempt.
But the High Court in its ruling last Friday said the application was brought at a time when there was no service of any process on the Mayor and the KMA.

It also justified the use of security forces to eject the traders.

It said “If the authorities had not resorted to the security forces, the applicants would have taken the law into their own hands just in an attempt to sabotage the project.”

“This application is ill-motivated, brought in bad faith, selfish and has the potential of plunging the metropolis into an ungovernable state. Selfish because these same applicants pleaded that they should be reinstated into their shops after completion of the said project by these same respondents. The courts would not lend its hand of blessings to such acts which could cause lawlessness and indiscipline in the metropolis or in the country in general,” Justice Adzagli stated.

Meanwhile, the Kejetia traders tell Luv News though they accept the court ruling, they disagree with statements by the judge that their action sought to sabotage the project.

“We don’t see our action as trying to sabotage the government. We only wanted the court to do what we deserve. We felt Kojo Bonsu was just being disrespectful to the court and we brought him before to be punished. But if you have left him you don’t have to comment on the main case which is not before you,” Public Relations Officer for the Kejetia Traders Association told Luv News.

He however says the traders are expecting the Supreme Court to grant them their claim for compensations and an order to compel the KMA to give them a written assurance on their returned to the terminal when the project is completed.

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