Rose Bio Atinga
THE HUMAN Rights Court yesterday resumed the hearing of an application for contempt of court brought against two top police officials by the aggrieved former Deputy Head of the Police Commercial Crime Unit, DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda.
The two, Nantogmah Yakubu Aggrey, Chief Superintendent of Police in charge of the Rapid Deployment Unit and Commissioner of Police Rose Bio Atinga, have been accused of disrespecting the court by proceeding to conduct service enquiry when DSP Tehoda, the applicant, had served them with copies of a suit challenging her interdiction by the Police Service.
According to the applicant, despite their knowledge of an action she had initiated to halt proceedings of the enquiry, Chief Superintendent Aggrey, the trial officer of the service enquiry, went ahead with it, resulting in her dismissal by the Central Disciplinary Board, chaired by COP Atinga Bio.
The contempt application however, could not be heard yesterday, following a preliminary objection raised by Anthony Kokroko, counsel for the two officials who argued that there was no basis for it.
He indicated to Justice Kofi Essel Mensah that the contempt could not be heard because the entire processes such as an order for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition on which the contempt application was grounded, had been withdrawn by E.A.Vordoagu, counsel for the applicant on December 17, 2012.
In view of that there was no case in court for which the senior officers had to respond to.
Mr. Kokroko who stated that the court only granted counsel leave to withdraw his writ but not liberty to come back with a fresh application, inquired the grounds on which the contempt was being filed.
Mr. Vordoagu, the applicant lawyer, explained to the court that he only replaced the said suit with a new one to include complaints about her dismissal and to seek redress accordingly.
Arguing further, Mr. Vordoagu stated it is not the case that there should be a substantive application before a contempt application could be filed.
The trial judge who seemed not to remember what transpired on the said date said ?I cannot appreciate the matter? and ordered counsel for the police officers to file an affidavit furnishing the court with factual evidence as to what transpired on that date.
Similarly, Mr. Vordoagu had wanted to move his second application for interim injunction to restrain the Inspector General of Police from proceeding to take any decision concerning her dismissal and to maintain the status quo till the determination of a suit challenging her alleged unlawful dismissal.
However, Mr. Kokroko raised an objection again, stating that the said application was part of the entire process which was withdrawn so again, the applicant lawyer should not be allowed to move it.
Mr. Vordoagu on the other hand informed the court that Mr. Kokroko was not in control of matter before the court. Just after saying this, the trial judge observed that the injunction process had been served on the legal directorate of the Ghana Police for which they entered appearance.
Subsequent to this, they filed a statement of defence, meaning they were aware of the case.
Cecil Adadevor, the state attorney who represented the Attorney-General on this matter, prayed the court to allow them put their house in order so they could respond to the issues raised in the application. The judge agreed and adjourned the two cases to March 19.
In a current suit before the court, DSP Tehoda was seeking 11 to 12 reliefs including a declaration that the conduct of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) for detaining DSP Tehoda in cells beyond the 48 hours on a couple of occasions was unlawful.
They were asking for compensation by way of damages against the state for the unlawful detention.
The applicant was also seeking a declaration that her prosecution by the state over the alleged swapping of cocaine was malicious because the facts put before the court could not establish any criminal charges against her.
They were also praying the court for compensation for her unlawful dismissal as well as an order against the Inspector General of Police to re-instate her with all the benefits.
DSP Tehoda was alleged to have assisted Nana Ama Martins, a suspected cocaine dealer in escaping prosecution after cocaine exhibit turned to baking soda.
She was arrested by the BNI and put before court after the security agency had conducted investigations into how the 1,020 grammes of cocaine turned into baking soda as directed by the Vice President.
However, she was discharged unconditionally and the case struck out after the prosecution, led by Rexford Anthony Wiredu, asked the court to do so.
By Mary Anane