Jake’s Government-Bungalow Saga Supreme Court Review Set For Jan 23
By Ivy Benson
A revised Supreme Court (SC) panel will on January 23, 2013, give a ruling in a judicial review application filed before it by two deputy ministers, who lost a case in which they had challenged the allocation of a government bungalow to Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, a former Minister of State and current Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2008, when he was then a Minister of state in the Kufuor Administration.
The court, presided over by Justice William Attuguba, yesterday, fixed the date after hearing arguments from all parties in the suit.
The applicants hauled the Attorney General and Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey before the review panel, after they lost their case before the original Supreme Court some six months ago.
The rest of the panel includes Justices (Dr.) Date-Bah, Mrs. Sophia Adinyira, Julius Ansah, Jones Dotse, Rose Owusu, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Annin Yeboah, Mrs. Vida Akoto Bamfoe, Sule Gbadegbe and Joseph Bawah Akamba.
Counsel for the applicants, Mr. Kwabla Senanu argued and indicated that the trial court had committed errors in deciding the case against his clients.
He further questioned how a government bungalow soled to a private individual could serve the interest of Ghanaians as the original judgment had espoused.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General had sided with the arguments made by Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, whose counsel had indicated his reliance of his statement of case, filed by the court without making any further arguments.
In a motion filed on notice to the respondents, the Attorney General and Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey dated June 21, this year, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, deputy minister of Information and Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, deputy minister of Science and Evironment have expressed their dissatisfaction in the majority decision dismissing their case as baseless.
The applicants are, therefore, invoking the powers of the SC under Article 133 (1) of the Constitution, requesting it to grant their application for review on the basis that the court had fundamentally erred in interpreting and enforcing Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution in relation to the state or public property, resulting in a miscarriage of justice.
Additionally, the applicants says they have made new and important discoveries, which after due diligence was not within their knowledge and therefore could not produce them at the time when the court gave its decision on May 22, this year.
In his response filed before the court and dated July 30, this year, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey noted that the applicants have failed to make out a case for review of the decision of the court and should, therefore, be dismissed.
According to the respondent, the application filed by the applicants, does not disclose any exceptional circumstances to warrant a review of the court’s earlier decision, as he challenged the assertion of the applicant that there had been fundamental errors and an issue of exceptional circumstances for the decision of the court to be reviewed.
The Supreme Court on May 22, this year, dismissed a suit filed against Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, challenging the allocation of a government bungalow located at a prime area of the capital to him, when he was then a Minister of state in the Kufuor Administration
The court, by a majority decision, had ruled that the allocation of the bungalow, located at St Mungo Street, Ridge, Accra, to Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, was at the discretion of the Lands Commission and, therefore, the allegations raised against the allocation were baseless and does not hold water.
On the other hand, the court unanimously ruled that the two plaintiffs, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Dr. Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, who instituted the action when they were then members of the Pressure Group, Committee for Joint Action (CJA), citing Constitutional breaches against the Attorney General and Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey in the allocation of the disputed property, failed to prove their allegations of cronyism, arbitrariness, capriciousness, discrimination, and gross abuse of the discretionary power vested in a public officer under the 1992 Constitution.
The court had further noted that the plaintiffs based their accusations on mere allegations without justification, adding that they were in the wrong forum on the allegation of conflict of interest made against Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, since the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is the only institution authorized by the 1992 Constitution to handle issues on allegations of conflict of interest.
The plaintiffs had argued that the lease granted to Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey in 2008 was improper and that nobody including the president had the right to lease any public land to any body and that any such action is unconstitutional.
Additionally, the plaintiffs claimed that the acquisitions of the disputed property and the Lands Commission granting land certificate to the then Minister of State was unconstitutional and therefore void.
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