Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 November 2017
The decision of a five-member panel of Justices of the Supreme Court of Ghana is that “there’s no real factual and legal basis for Ghana’s Supreme Court to share its powers and jurisdiction with any other court”.
The Ghanaian Supreme Court’s rejection of the African Court on Human Rights, came in the wake of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) order to Ghana, suspending all efforts to retrieve GH₵51.2 million paid by the Ghanaian government to a businessman – Woyome , until the Court determines an appeal filed by Woyome , who argued that his human rights are being abused by Ghana’s Supreme Court.
Similarly, the Sierra Leone Government has rejected the Ecowas Court Judgment in the Sam Sumana case on the grounds of lack of competent jurisdiction; and equally noted that “there’s no real factual and legal basis for Sierra Leone’s Supreme Court to share its powers and jurisdiction with any other court”.
And it seems clear that the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara’s (Photo) legal analysis is validated and supported by the sister jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana.
Legal experts are now proposing that the mandate and jurisdiction of these regional organization Courts be revisited and repositioned to the original roles they were designed to achieve. In the case of the Ecowas Court, “to resolve economic and Commerce disputes with the Ecowas community”.
You can read more on the Ghanaian case here:
Ghana’s Supreme Court rejects African Court ruling on Woyome
According to the decision by a five-member panel of justices, there’s no real factual and legal basis for Ghana’s Supreme Court to share its powers and jurisdiction with any other court, and so it cannot be compelled to halt the ongoing proceedings.
The African Court on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) ordered Ghana to suspend all efforts to retrieve the GH₵51.2 million, until the Court determines an appeal filed by the businessman, who argued that his human rights are being abused by Ghana’s Supreme Court.
In a unanimous ruling, the 11-member panel of the African Court, ordered Ghana to suspend the seizure of any property belonging to the businessman and “take all appropriate measures to maintain the status quo and avoid the property being sold’’ until the case was determined.
But the Ghanaian justices, after rejecting the African Court’s order, further went on to dismiss Mr. Woyome’s application for stay of proceedings pending the final outcome of the case before the African Court, describing it as one without merit.
Mr. Woyome was paid GHc 51 million after claiming he helped Ghana raise funds to construct stadia for the hosting of the 2008 African Cup of Nations. However, an Auditor General’s report released in 2010, held that the amount was paid illegally to him.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court in 2014 ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the money, after Martin Amidu, a private legal practitioner challenged the legality of the payments.
Following delays in retrieving the money, Supreme Court judges unanimously granted the Attorney General clearance to execute the court’s judgment, ordering Mr. Woyome to refund the cash to the state.
There had been previous attempts to orally examine Mr. Woyome, with Mr. Amidu himself, in 2016, filing an application at the Supreme Court to find out how the businessman was going to pay back the money.
This came after the Attorney General’s office under the Mahama Administration, led by the former Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, discontinued a similar application.
In February 2017 however, Mr. Amidu withdrew his suit seeking an oral examination, explaining that the change of government and the assurance by the new Attorney General to retrieve all judgment debts wrongfully paid to individuals, had given him renewed confidence in the system.
Woyome runs to the African court
After ICC rejection, Alfred Agbesie Woyome proceeded to the African Human Rights Court in August 2017, when the government began a valuation of his properties in an attempt to retrieve Ghc51 million wrongfully paid to him in a judgement debt.
The application at the ACHPR in August 2017, was in response to the Supreme Court’s judgement on July 29, 2014 that ordered him to pay the GH₵51.2 million on the grounds that he got the money out of unconstitutional and invalid contracts between the state and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008.
This was after a similar case he filed at the International Chamber of Commerce had been dismissed.
He alleged in his application that Ghana did not respect the terms of the agreement that governed the financial engineering role he played in the transaction, and as such his rights and freedoms recognized under the ACHPR Charter had been violated.
He prayed the ACHPR to halt all processes seeking to execute the Supreme Court’s July 29, 2014 judgement, until his case was determined by the ACHPR.
Story by: Fred Djabanor & Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/citifmonline.com/Ghana
Because of these practices, no leader is accused of harmfully doing things to individuals, be it political leaders, business people and the rest. The ECOWAS judiciary mandate has not given any judgement to thoroughly define the individuals whose actions or accused of doing nothing to be ejected from politics and power he once had to nothing.
I am sure the West African leaders will have to do more to put light on the judgements of their citizens. If they cannot solve any problems that are worrying the people in the regions, they should be dismissed and choose a new panel.
The Attorney General am afraid has exposed Sierra Leone to ridicule with his letter and interviews as one who is not up to the job of advising government on legal matters. The Ecowas court did not rule that the former Vice President be reinstated but rather his rights were violated as due process was not followed in his removal and therefore his removal was not done according to the APC party constitution which was relied upon by the President to remove Sam Sumana from office.
This was a case of violation of human rights in accordance with article 7 and 13 of the African Charter on Human and people’s right. I think the Attorney General should have read the court judgement before jumping to conclusion and dismissing the ruling. He ignorantly said that their was a current vice president and Sam Sumana cannot go to that office exposing his lack of comprehension.
Some of the relief sought by the former Vice-President were not granted including reinstating him in office as they are outside the court’s jurisdiction. Its no secret that it was the Attorney General who advised President Koroma to go ahead and relieve the vice president as it was within his powers.
For a fair judicial system there must be a process for people to seek redress outside their current jurisdiction. The Ecowas court has Jurisdiction over human right violations in the African charter and which Sierra Leone is a signatory.