National Security Services and others saved in contempt proceedings

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The National Security Co-ordinator (1st Respondent), the Bureau of National Investigation (2nd Respondent), the Inspector General of Police (3rd Respondent), the Chief of Defence Staff (4th Respondent), the Attorney General (5th Respondent), Professor Ernest Aryeetey (6th Respondent and President of Old Achimotans Association), and Rodaline Joyce Addo (7th Respondent and Headmistress of Achimota School) have been served in witha contempt appkication by Nii Ako Nortei IV, the Osu ‘Mankralo’.

Contempt is punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

It was the case of the Applicant that on 16th June, 2016, he issued through his lawyer, a writ of summons and statement of claim against the first to fifth Respondents for certain reliefs which was accompanied by an application for interlocutory injunction against the 1st to 5th Respondents from interfering with the Applicants enjoyment of a land situated at Achimota, the subject matter of a suit.

On 27th June, 2017, the application was granted in the absence of the 1st to 5th Respondents, but the Applicants failed to serve the Respondents, claiming that the Respondents ought to have known that their absence in court implied a ruling against them.

Prior to the suit in which application for injunction was anchored, the Board of Governors of Achimota School, had commenced an action against the Applicant and two others at the Court of Appeal in respect of the land in dispute, to overturn an earlier judgment of the High Court.

It was the case of the Applicant that in November 2017, the Court of Appeal dismissed the said suit but the 6th and 7th Respondents re-entered the land and commissioned security personnel to be stationed in the land and dig out trenches for a fence wall to be constructed on the land to ward him and his subjects off the land.

The Applicant claimed that the re-entry of the Respondents unto the land and their actions undermined the authority of the Court; the order for interlocutory injunction granted by the High Court and the judgement of the Court of Appeal.

The Respondents also argued that they were not aware of the injunction.

They argued further that since they were not present in court when the ruling was made, the Applicant ought to have served them with the ruling.

The Court dismissed the application against the Respondents saying that the failure of the Applicant to serve the 1st to 5th Respondents with the injunction also affirmed the Respondents claim that they were not aware of the injunction.

In respect of the 6th and 7th Respondents, the Court found that the application failed on jurisdictional grounds and also dismissed it.

Counsel for the 6th and 7th Respondents asked for cost of GH¢10,000 for each of his clients. Counsel for the 1st to 5th Respondents associated himself with Mr. Kwesi Fynn, counsel for the 6th and 7th Respondents.

Counsel for the Applicant, Mr. Frank Davies on the other hand said cost ought to be waived because contempt is against the Court and therefore the Applicant had no personal interest bringing the application.

Whilst the Court agreed in principle with the submission of Mr. Davies, it held the view that the 6th and 7th were entitled to some cost albeit nominal and therefore awarded the 6th and 7th Respondents cost of GH¢3,000 but waived costs against the 1st to 5th Respondents.

Source: GhanaJustice/F.Kyeremateng