The Supreme Court has dismissed the preliminary objection raised by Martin Amidu, former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, in the case in which he is seeking to orally examine businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome over the GH¢51.2 million judgement debt paid to him by the state.
The seven-member panel of judges presided over by Justice Sophia Akuffo, stated that private legal practitioner, David Kwadzo Ametefe, has the capacity to mount the action before the court.
The judges opined that apart from the bringing of the case to court, the plaintiff has no other avenue to address his grievances as a citizen who believes that there had been a violation of the Constitution.
Justice Akuffo stated that David is not a party to the case before the court and that it’s the duty of the court to determine the case on its merit, insisting that the private legal practitioner has the capacity or the locus standi to bring the case to court.
Touching on the respondents, the judges held that it was wrong for the lawyer to attach Amidu aka Citizen Vigilante, as the second respondent to the case.
The court said Amidu is not a proper party to the suit, indicating that David had not shown any act of omission on the part of Amidu.
According to the court, despite the fact that David had appropriately invoked the jurisdiction of the court, he should not have added the Citizen Vigilante as a defendant.
Jutice Akuffo said the AG is a proper party because the Constitution has stated that the AG shall be party to all civil proceeding.
The judges as a result, struck out Amidu as a respondent to the action and awarded a GH¢5,000 cost in favour of the former AG.
This was after he had told the court that he had incurred some cost because he was drawn into the matter.
Amidu said his preliminary objection to the case as filed by David Kwadzo Ametefe was that decisions, orders or directions of a justice of the Supreme Court – whether sitting alone or not in exercising judicial power – cannot be questioned directly or by any means of camouflage by invoking the original jurisdiction of the court.
He stated that the subject matter for which the writ was issued was by a decision of a single judge pursuant to Article 134 of the Constitution.
Mr. Amidu, quoting Article 127 (3) of the Constitution, maintained that no suit could be against a judge who is exercising judicial power.
The former AG said the case by David also does not show cause and that the defendants have just been used as conduits to attack the judge.
Citizen Vigilante stated that the writ had made it clear that steps had been taken to seek possible review of the decision of the judge in a motion filed to review the decision of the single judge.
He said David has no locus standi even under Article 21 to commence the action.
The court however, adjourned ruling on the matter until February 1, 2017, ordering Osafo to file his response on or before January 17.
Woyome, through his counsel – Ametefe – is seeking to discharge or reverse the ruling by Justice Anin-Yeboah paving the way for Mr. Amidu to question him over the GH¢51.2 million judgement debt paid to him by the state.
Woyome is also seeking to stay proceedings at the court pending the determination of the instant action.
In the latest action, Ametefe is seeking a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Articles 2 (1), 128, 130 and 134 of the 1992 Constitution, a single justice of the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to determine matters involving the interpretation of the Constitution, among others.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson