Dismissed Pharmacy Director cites Korle-Bu for contempt

Dismissed Director of Pharmacy has dragged management of the Korle- Bu Teaching Hospital to court for contempt after sacking her while a court hearing was ongoing to challenge her interdiction.

In a suit filed at the Human Rights Court in Accra, Elizabeth Bruce stated that her dismissal at a time when hearing is pending is only “calculated at interfering with and obstructing the due administration of justice and in the event, bring the authority of a court of competent jurisdiction into disrepute”.

The Board Chairman of the hospital, Prof. Anthony Mawuli Sallar and CEO Dr. Gilbert Buckle have been cited as respondents.

Korle Bu Teaching Hospital announced that following a forensic audit into the operations of the Pharmacy Department of the Hospital it has sacked with immediate effect four top officials including the Director of Pharmacy.

In a statement issued by the Board, the Director of the Pharmacy Elizabeth Bruce, the Manager, Eric Kwaku Kyei, its Accountant, Augustina Dankyi and a Stores Assistant were all sacked.

They had been on interdiction since January.
Shortly after her interdiction, Elizabeth Bruce proceeded to court to challenge the decision.

Describing her interdiction as “unlawful”, Bruce instituted civil action on 10th April, 2015 against the management of the hospital. It was to get the court to direct that she resumes her official duties.

The hospital responded on 22 May 2015 explaining that the administrative enquiry over a missing 900,000 cedis was not “meant to punish any of the staff including the Applicant” and that the “Board has no intention to punish any of the staff as a result of the Administrative Enquiry”.

Whilst the court was yet to rule on the matter, the hospital decided to sack the four employees, an action which has gotten Elizabeth Bruce even more angry.

She has filed an application for an order for committal for contempt of court.

Recounting her shock at news of her dismissal, the suit stated:

“That just before the action would be set down for hearing in accordance with Rule 67 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, C. I. 47, I heard that a copy of a letter purporting to dismiss me as Director of Pharmacy of the 3rd respondent was being read on Radio Gold , an Accra-based radio station.

Read full suit below
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
HUMAN RIGHTS DIVISION
ACCRA- A. D. 2015
SUIT NO. HRCM/263/15
IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION FOR ENFORCEMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS:

MRS. ELIZABETH BRUCE Applicant
Vrs.
KORLE BU TEACHING HOSPITAL Respondent
AND
IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER OF COMMITTAL FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT

THE REPUBLIC
VRS.

  1. PROF. ANTHONY MAWULI SALLAR
  2. DR. GILBERT BUCKLE
  3. KORLE BU TEACHING HOSPITAL RESPONDENTS

EX PARTE MRS. ELIZABETH BRUCE APPLICANT
NOTICE OF MOTION
APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER FOR COMMITTAL FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT: ARTICLE 126 OF THE CONSTITUTION, 1992; SECTION 36 OF THE COURTS ACT, 1993 (ACT 459)

TAKE NOTICE that this Honourable Court will be moved on the day of December, 2009 at 9 O’clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter as Counsel for Applicant may be heard on an application for an order for committal for contempt of court directed against the Respondents:

  1. By committing the 1stand 2nd respondents, Prof. Anthony Mawuli Sallar and Dr. Gilbert Buckle to prison and imposing a very heavy fine on the 3rd respondent herein for contempt by the purported dismissal of the applicant herein as Director of Pharmacy of the respondent contained in a press statement attached to the affidavit in support;
  1. For any further order(s) as to this Court may seem meet upon the grounds contained in the accompanying affidavit.

DATED AT KWAKWADUAM CHAMBERS, ACCRA THIS 22ND DAY OF JUNE, 2015

Akufo-Addo, Prempeh& Co.
Lawyers for Applicant
The Registrar,
High Court,
Human Rights Division,
Accra.
AND TO: (1) THE RESPONDENTS HEREIN ON WHOM APPLICANT WILL DIRECT SERVICE

(2) THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPARTMENT
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
HUMAN RIGHTS DIVISION
ACCRA- A. D. 2015
SUIT NO. HRCM/263/15
IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION FOR ENFORCEMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS:

MRS. ELIZABETH BRUCE Applicant
Vrs.
KORLE BU TEACHING HOSPITAL Respondent
AND
IN THE MATTER OF AN APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER OF COMMITTAL FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT

THE REPUBLIC
VRS.

  1. PROF. ANTHONY MAWULI SALLAR
  2. DR. GILBERT BUCKLE
  3. KORLE BU TEACHING HOSPITAL RESPONDENTS

EX PARTE MRS. ELIZABETH BRUCE APPLICANT
AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT
I, MRS. ELIZABETH BRUCE , of H/No. 57 Planners Avenue, OkpoiGonno, Spintex Road, Accra, make oath and say as follows:

  1. That I am the deponent hereto, applicant herein and the applicant in an application for the enforcement of fundamental human rights entitled Mrs. Elizabeth Bruce vrs. Korle Bu Teaching Hospitals (HRCM/263/15).
  1. That following an unlawful “forensic audit” exercise by a private firm of chartered accountants pursuant to an unlawful appointment by the Minister of Health, I was unlawfully interdicted on 29th January, 2015 by the respondent herein, without recourse to the mandatory provisions of the Ghana Health Service and Teaching Hospitals Act, 1996 (Act 525) and the Civil Service Regulations, 1960 (L. I. 47).
  1. That after my interdiction, an Administrative Enquiry Committee was unlawfully set up by the respondent “to establish my culpability if any”in the findings of the “forensic audit” exercise.
  1. That on 10th April, 2015, I instituted a civil action in this Honourable Court for a number of reliefs endorsed on the motion paper (HRCM/263/15). Attached herewith and marked as Exhibit “A” is a copy of the said action.
  1. That the said action was duly served on the 3rd respondent the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital where the 1st and 2nd respondents are Chairman and Chief Executive Officer respectively, as well as the Attorney-General’s Department in accordance with the rules of Court. Attached herewith and marked as Exhibit “B” is a copy of the proofs of service.
  1. That the action specifically sought reliefs in the nature ofa prohibition of the institution of disciplinary measures against me by the 3rd respondent herein on the strength of the unlawful interdiction, an order of mandamus to compel the Board of the 3rd respondent to allow me to resume normal duties as the Director of Pharmacy of 3rd respondent, as well as a prohibition of disciplinary proceedings on the basis of the purported “forensic audit” and the so-called Administrative Enquiry- reliefs (iii), (iv), (v), and (vi).
  1. That the respondents were fully aware of the pendency of the said action and in point of fact, the 2nd respondent herein, with the consent of the Board of 3rd respondent of which the 1st respondent is the Chairman, filed an affidavit in opposition to my action on 22nd May, 2015. Attached herewith and marked as Exhibit “C” is a copy of the said affidavit in opposition.
  1. That it is remarkable that at paragraphs 32 and 37 of Exhibit “C”, the 2nd respondent swore on oath that the so-called Administrative Enquiry being undertaken by the 3rd respondent was not “meant to punish any of the staff including the Applicant” and that the “Board has no intention to punish any of the staff as a result of the Administrative Enquiry”.
  1. That just before the action would be set down for hearing in accordance with Rule 67 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, C. I. 47, I heard that a copy of a letter purporting to dismiss me as Director of Pharmacy of the 3rd respondent was being read on Radio Gold, an Accra-based radio station.
  1. That subsequently, I discovered that a press statement by the Board and Management of the 3rd respondent of whom the 1st and 2nd respondents are respective heads, dated 17th June, 2015, released to all press houses had purported to dismiss me following the forensic audit exercise and the administrative enquiry committee’s proceedings. Attached herewith and marked as Exhibit “D” is a copy of the said press release.
  1. That contents of the said press statements were published in some national newspapers. Attached herewith and marked as Exhibits “E” and “F’ are copies of extracts from the Daily Graphic and Daily Guide newspapers.
  1. That I am advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true that the press statement purporting to dismiss me issued by the Board and Management of the 3rd respondent herein of whom the 2nd and 3rd respondent herein are their respective heads, in the pendency of the instant action, was calculated at interfering with and obstructing the due administration of justice and in the event, bring the authority of a court of competent jurisdiction into disrepute.
  1. That it is noteworthy that the validity of the basis of my purported dismissal was the very subject matter of the action which is currently pending before this Honourable Court, a fact all the respondents were undoubtedly aware of.
  1. That I am further advised by counsel and verily believe same to be true that the act of the respondents in dismissing me whilst the substantive suit seeking to question the validity of every aspect of the purported disciplinary measures being taken by 3rd respondent was pending, was intended to frustrate me from a pursuit of the action, and also, to prejudice the hearing and fair determination of the suit.
  1. That I am advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true that the conduct of the respondents was wilful and clearly intended to subvert or overreach any judgment to be rendered by this Honourable Court and, same was out of disrespect for the Court’s authority in this suit.
  1. That I am advised by counsel that, viewed in its proper context, the deposition by the 2nd respondent in paragraphs 32 and 37 of Exhibit “C” that,the Administrative Enquiry was not “meant to punish any of the staff including the Applicant” and that the “Board has no intention to punish any of the staff as a result of the Administrative Enquiry”, was intended to deceive this Honourable Court. This shows the disregard and contempt with which the respondents hold the Court and its processes.
  1. That I am again advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true that the 2nd and 3rd respondents’ wilful disregard of the authority of this Court makes them inexcusably liable to be committed to prison, whilst a hefty fine ought to be imposed on the 3rd respondent in order to vindicate the undoubted authority of the Court.
  1. That in the premises I humbly swear to this affidavit in support praying for an order committing the respondents for contempt in the manner prayed on the motion paper.

SWORN at Accra this ) DEPONENT
This day of June, 2015 )
BEFORE ME
COMMISSIONER FOR OATHS
The Registry,
High Court,
Human Rights Division,
Accra.
AND TO: (1) THE ABOVE-NAMED RESPONDENTS
(2) THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL.


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