Court Throws Out Valerie Sawyerr

Valerie Sawyer

An Accra High Court has
dismissed an application for Judicial Review in the  form of certiorari filed by a former Board
member of Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), Dr. Valerie Sawyerr seeking to
quash the findings of Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) into the
accounts of the state-owned company.

According to the court,
EOCO had given her an opportunity to be heard via a letter of invitation hence
cannot complain that she was denied her natural justice.

Her suit against EOCO
and the Attorney General was borne out of a government sanctioned forensic
audit last year which revealed that the acquisition of helicopters worth over
$100 million by Ghana Gas Company caused financial loss to the state because the
choppers were never utilized.

The four Z-9EH
helicopters bought from China for surveillance by Ghana Gas during the Mahama
NDC administration at the total cost of $100 million ($25m each) was
commissioned by then President John Mahama in September 2015.

According to the
forensic audit report, “The helicopters purchased from China National Aero
Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) have never been used for the
purpose of its purchase, causing the state to lose $54,800,000”.

Suit

Dr. Sawyerr who was a
former Deputy Chief of Staff under the Mahama administration then applied to an
Accra High Court for a “a declaration that the audit report which implicated
me, as a former board member of Ghana National Gas Company Limited, was done in
breach of my right to administrative justice and my right to a fair hearing”.

Her suit was also
seeking an order of Certiorari for the forensic audit report by EOCO which
implicated her and the other board members to be brought before the court for
it to be quashed.

Dr. Sawyerr also wanted
the court to stop the security agencies from inviting her for questioning
since, in her opinion, such invitations are a form of “harassment.”

AG Response

But the Attorney General
in a response to the suit on behalf of EOCO described the application as
“completely frivolous and borne out of an improper appreciation of the law
regarding the various subject matters.”

The response signed by
Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, Dr. Sawyerr’s application could
not pinpoint any adverse decision taken by EOCO or the AG’s Office which she is
seeking the court to quash.

Again, the Deputy AG
avers that Valerie Sawyerr in her application kept referring to an audit
reports throughout, yet was unable to provide the court with that audit report.

“The court, without
seeing the Audit Report in question, cannot quash same. The duty to file same
is placed by the rules on the applicant before filing his application”, Deputy
Attorney General averred.

Ruling

The court in its ruling
held that the audit report prepared by Morrison & Associates was part of
the process of investigations and it was submitted to EOCO for further
investigations.

The court held that EOCO
ought to accord her a hearing and indeed did so by sending her an invitation
which the plaintiff exhibited in her application.

It was the opinion of the court that had EOCO proceeded to impose sanctions on her without giving her a hearing, she could then have complained about denial of natural justice.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak

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