EOCO Contempt Dismissed

Kweku Mortey Akpadzi
The Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court yesterday dismissed the contempt application brought against three high-ranking officials of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), including Kweku Mortey Akpadzi, its Executive Director, by Christopher Nimako, an Accra-based businessman.

The court, presided over by Justice John Ajet-Nasam, ruled that the anti-graft body had not erred in its action and had not violated any court order. He therefore dismissed the contempt application saying the action of EOCO did not violate any court order.

Christopher Nimako had brought the contempt proceeding against Kweku Mortey Akpadzi; Edward Cudjoe, acting Head of Legal Affairs and Charles Wilcox Ofori, after they had arrested him for withdrawing some money from his account at the Adabraka branch of the HFC Bank on the orders of the court.

Mr. Nimako had gone to the bank to withdraw money and suddenly the EOCO officials marshalled forces to effect his arrest and collected the GH¢68,000 from him.

The contempt proceeding against the three officials was prompted by a ruling by the Financial Division 2 Court on March 10, 2014 that EOCO should defreeze the accounts of Mr. Nimako at the Adabraka branch of the HFC Bank.

However, when he went to the bank on March 28, 2014 to withdraw money, Mr Ofori (3 rd respondent) in collaboration with Mr. Cudjoe (2 nd respondent) arranged with security officers of EOCO to arrest him.

According to Mr. Nimako, Mr. Ofori collected the money he had withdrawn from him without assigning any reason for the action and when he asked the security team for their identity cards, they shouted at him amidst intimidation.

The applicant further averred that the security officers took him to the office of EOCO and subjected him to an extensive interrogation after which he was granted bail without the money.

On March 31, 2014 when he went to EOCO with his lawyer to enquire of the reason for the seizure of the money, he was re-arrested and whisked to an Accra Circuit Court and prosecuted for money laundering where he was later granted bail.

Tussle Over Application
Eric Atieku, Counsel for EOCO, had at the last adjourned date prayed the court to dismiss the application before it, describing it as a move intended to prevent EOCO from performing its constitutionally mandated duties.

In his view, Vincent Aikins, counsel for the applicant, had failed to provide any evidence before the court to indicate that EOCO had set aside any court order.

He argued that the action of EOCO could not amount to contempt, adding that the court must dismiss the contempt application.

Mr. Aikins, counsel for the applicant, prayed the court not to allow EOCO go unpunished.

While describing the action of EOCO as one carried out in ‘Rambo-style,’ he said it had become a practice in the country for officialdom to flout the laws with impunity and scorn and yet go unpunished.

‘The court should take cognisance of the fact that nobody is above the lawit has become the style of officialdom to flout the law with impunity.’

Justice Ajet-Nasam, noting that both counsels had made ‘compelling arguments’ after the ‘legal scuffle,’ set yesterday, June 4 for ruling thus, the  dismissal of the application.

According to Justice Ajet-Nasam, as at the time of the action, there was no existing court order in place to violate, for which EOCO should be cited for contempt, and accordingly dismissed the application.

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By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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