An Accra Human Rights Court has upheld the decision by five Ghanaians protesting against moves by the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration to privatize the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
The court, presided over by Justice Anthony K. Yeboah, said citizenship is a sufficient legal basis to commence and prosecute the action before the court.
He said the ECG as a government business enterprise, is a legitimate subject matter of the plaintiffs’ action brought in the public interest.
Justice Yeboah indicated that the Constitution and the law are sufficient to legitimize the plaintiff’s action.
In the view of the judge, the action of the plaintiffs could not be said to be vexatious, scandalous or frivolous, stressing that “some but not all of the plaintiffs’ claims may be pregnant with the political question.”
The ruling follows a motion filed by Tony Lithur, counsel for ECG, urging the court to strike out the case in which Prof. Agyeman Badu Akorsah, Kinsley Kwasitsu Esq, Naa Kordai Assimeh, Dr. Adolf Lutterodt and Dede Amanor Wilks – all CPP members – have sued the state over its plan to privatize the company through the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA).
The other parties are the Attorney General, the Minister of Power and the ECG.
Mr Lithur had claimed among other things that the plaintiffs, whether individually or collectively, have no legally recognized interest that entitles them to institute the action.
He said that the averments that form the basis of the suit lacked factual accuracy and clarity, are argumentative, speculative and full of conjecture.
The ECG’s lawyer believes that the “suit is frivolous, vexatious, hopeless, unmeritorious and a complete abuse of the processes of the court and the third defendant (ECG) will at the appropriate time apply to the court for the writ of summons and the statement of claim to be struck out.”
Statement Of Claim
The five have dragged the government to court arguing among other things that MiDA intends to conduct an international competitive tender to select a company with the expertise in investment, management and distribution of electricity with the objective of selecting a suitable company to run the ECG before the end of 2016.
According to Bright Akwetey, lawyer for the plaintiffs, his clients were of the view that the government’s action in putting up the ECG for prioritization is inimical to the interest of Ghana and Ghanaians.
He said it is risky to entrust the administration of ECG to a private company, especially when electricity is a security asset of grave national importance and value.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer stated that ECG’s control by any foreign or other private company is likely to jeopardize the security of the country.
The plaintiffs contend that it is public knowledge that the government owes ECG $400 million which has been withheld from the ECG apparently, deliberately in order to weaken its administration and prepare it for take-over by a private company to the detriment of the economy of Ghana.
The plaintiffs, aside any orders the court may deem fit in the interest of the people of Ghana, want the court to order the defendants to cease from undertaking or continuing any process of any kind whatsoever to privatize ECG.
Lawyer for the plaintiffs also wants the court to take effective steps to ensure the payment of the $400 million to the ECG and issue a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from privatizing the company.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson