Josiah Aryeh’s Capacity As Solicitor Questioned …

A KUMASI High Court has dismissed an application for mandamus brought against the National House of Chiefs without going into the merits of the case, having been confronted with non-compliance of the provisions of the law.

The court, presided over by Mr. Justice Jacob B. Boon, last Friday explained its decision to dismiss the suit in the fact that the application before the court was invalid. By the ruling, the court had upheld a legal objection raised by Mujeeb Rahman Ahmed, the defence counsel, regarding the competence and propriety of the application in the face of the affidavit and exhibits.

The court noted that counsel for the respondent had cited the authority appropriately in his written submissions, hence the obvious and mandatory decision to dismiss the “invalid application without necessity of determining its merits”.

In April last year, Samuel Nii Arku Danso, the plaintiff, per his lawyer, Dr. Nii Josiah Aryeh, had filed a motion on notice against the National House of Chiefs to compel it to delete the name of one Marty Nii Arku Danso, alias Nii Kojo Danso II, from the National Registrar and replace it with the name of the applicant, as the lawfully enstooled chief of Dansoman in Accra.

But the court upheld that the application was invalid and void as submitted by defence counsel, because Dr. Aryeh, who filed the application was by then not competent to file any process in a law court in Ghana for non-compliance with Section 8 (1) of Act 32 of 1960.

It was explained that Dr. Josiah Aryeh failed to endorse a valid solicitor’s licence number for 2013 on the process filed on behalf of the applicant contrary to the provisions of Section 8 (1) of Act 32 of 1960 which provided that:

“A person, other than the Attorney-General, or an officer of Attorney-General’s Department, shall not practice as a solicitor unless that person has, in respect of that practice, a valid annual solicitor’s licence issued by the General Legal Council, duly stamped and in the form set out in the second schedule”. Section 8 (6) of Act 32 also indicated that it is an offence for any person to practice without a valid solicitor’s licence.

The court contended that even though there was a change of solicitor in the course of proceedings, the motion and affidavit filed on behalf of the applicant by Dr. Josiah Aryeh, who provided no evidence of a valid solicitor’s licence, remained the same.

The trial judge dwelling on Order 55 Rules 4 (1) and (2) which bordered on the mode of filing an application for judicial review said the writ of mandamus must be supported by an affidavit stressing that the foundation of every such application must be supported by an affidavit, both of which, in the case under review, were filed by a person without capacity.

In dismissing the suit, Justice Boon said he was more concerned with the propriety of the application brought by a lawyer who did not satisfy the court that he possessed a valid solicitor’s licence to practice for the year in question.

By the decision of the court, the status quo of the Marty Nii Arku Danso as chief of Dansoman under the stool of Nii Kojo Danso II is thus maintained.

Meanwhile, Nii Kojo Danso II, who has been traditionally nominated and installed chief of Dansoman and subsequently gazetted by the National House of Chiefs, has called for calm in the face of the court ruling as he and his elders work to bring sanity in the community.

He cautioned members of the public against any unauthorized sale of lands by unscrupulous persons and that those who deal with any other person besides him do so at their own risk. He had advised the public to seek proper advice and regularize any land allocations or acquisitions.