The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal directing the Association of Seventh Day Pentecostal Assemblies to elect a new President.
A unanimous decision of the Supreme Court, presided over by Justice V.J.MDotse on May 16, 2023 has thus dismissed an application of stay of execution of a judgment of the Court of Appeal of April 28, 2022 by the defendant/respondent, Michaiah Addai.
Other members of the panel were Justices A. Lovelace-Johnson (Mrs), I.O Tanko Amadu, Prof. H.J.A.N Mensah-Bonsu (Mrs) and E. Yonny Kulendi.
The Apex Court in dismissing the application contended that a proper case had not been made to provoke action in favour of the applicant.
It explained its position that it did not see any irreparable damage in conducting an election pursuant to the dictates of the Assemblies’ own constitution and then parties own consent judgment.
The Court also noted that the applicant had not demonstrated good faith because since the adoption of the said consent judgment by the High Court, the applicant had faithfully held unto the position of a leader or President, but consistently refused to hold elections in accordance with the same consent judgment.
The Court said honouring part of the consent judgment and neglecting the other part of the same consent judgement smacked of bad faith, hence the dismissal of the application, since the consent judgment is a subsisting and valid judgment, which has not been appealed since 2009.
As a result, a cost of GHc5,000.00 was awarded against the applicant to the respondent.
Charles Agbanu Esquire represented Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr and three others as respondents, while Kwame AsieduBasoah represented the applicant.
On July 17, 2020 the Court of Appeal upheld an appeal against a judgment of by a Kumasi High Court which dismissed claims by the plaintiffs on the grounds that they had broken away from the church and formed their own church.
But the Court of Appeal on April 28, 2022 in a unanimous judgment read by the Presiding Judge ordered the Association of Seventh Day Pentecostal Assemblies to elect a new President to end the impasse.
A consequential order by the Court of Appeal, presided over by Justice A. M. Domakyaareh (Mrs.) with Justices Alex B. Poku Acheampong and S.K.A Asiedu in a unanimous decision directed Michaiah Addai, defendant/respondent in the suit, to convene a general meeting of all the constituent Assemblies of the Association in Ghana to elect a new president, in line with the Constitution of the Church, within six months from the date of the order.
The order followed the claim by the appellants that upon the demise of Elder Enoch Ofori, the founder of the Association of Seventh Day Pentecostal Assemblies, who was the father of Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr., the first plaintiff/appellant, the respondent/defendant, Michaiah Addae, (nephew of the deceased founder) and pastor of the Krofrom branch of the church claimed to be the leader of the church having been appointed as the customary successor of the founder.
As a result of the ensuing differences, a court action was instituted to ascertain who the leader of the church was.
The appellants stated that the court action was settled and terms of settlement were filed and adopted as Consent judgment, but the defendant reportedly organised a meeting at which he was purportedly appointed the President of the Association of Seventh Day Pentecostal Assemblies.
This claim by the defendant provoked the appeal at the Appellate Court before which the Defendant/respondent also contended that the plaintiff/appellant had never ever been elected or appointed by the church as President.
The respondent further explained that the terms of settlement of May 15, 2009 referred to by the appellant, evolved from the association’s Constitution which allegedly provides that the most senior pastor becomes the Acting President upon the death of a substantive President.
The Court of Appeal, therefore, upheld the appeal in part and directed that the Association of Seventh Day Pentecostal Assemblies elects a new President by October 2022 to resolve the impasse.
The court also awarded cost of GHc15, 000 against the defendant/respondent.
It, however, denied other reliefs sought by the plaintiffs/appellants and thus refused to grant the declaration for the nullity of all appointments, elections, proclamations, sales and transfers and the return of some listed properties including vehicles by the defendant respondent.