Legal practitioner and Editor of the Ghanaian Observer newspaper says the government’s reversal of the sale of a government bungalow to Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey was wrong and illegal.
He said it was regrettable that cabinet purported to vary the rights of a private citizen who had entered into a legally binding contract with an independent state institution – the Lands Commission.
Mr Faibille was speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile Saturday on the decision of the government to revoke a sale of government land to the New Patriotic Party Chairman, Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey.
The government’s decision followed a Supreme Court decision dismissing an application brought by Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Dr Omane Boamah seeking a declaration, amongst others, that Jake’s acquisition of the property constituted an abuse of power, conflict of interest, corruption, unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
The court, in a 9 – 0 decision dismissed the claims of corruption, conflict of interest, abuse of office, cronyism against Mr Obtsebi-Lamptey, and by a 6 – 3 decision noted the process used in acquiring the property, contrary to the claimants’ claims, was not unfair and illegal.
A day after the court’s ruling, government issued a statement saying it was no longer selling the property, an action, Mr Faibille believes was clearly illegal.
Quoting Section 265 of the 1992 Constitution which states that “Except as otherwise provided in this constitution or in any other law which is not inconsistent with this Constitution, the Lands Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority, in the performance of its functions,” Egbert wondered whether by an executive action, nullify a decision by an independent public body such as the Lands Commission.
He said Section 6 of the Lands Commission Act 2008 (Act 767) also asserts the independence of the Commission. He contended it was unlawful to interfere with the decision of the Commission.
The Lands Commission could reverse the sale on stated grounds, he said, adding that the government not on its own just reverse the decision without recourse to the Commission.
“The question again for me Kojo, is that in all of this the Lnads Commission is sitting coolly; it is the one that gave the lease and it is the one is to account legally for whether or not the lease is right or wrong; it has not been sued in this matter so as far the Lands Commission is concerned, the lease is regular,” he asserted.
In reference to the fact that the defendants in the case brought by the plaintiff’s included the Attorney-General, Mr Faibille said it was absurd for some members of a government to sue the A-G who is also a member of the government – the fact that the suit was filed before they were appointed into government notwithstanding.
“I am seeing two members of government sue the very government that they are serving. Is this not absurd, that Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa and Dr Omane Boamah, as deputy ministers of the government of the Republic of Ghana between 2009 to the present day, have actually been in court suing the same government?” he asked.
Rejecting the argument that the plaintiffs brought the action in their capacity as private citizens, Egbert said in spite of the fact that when they initiated the action they were private individuals, “today, the whole Cabinet of the Republic of Ghana has actually gone into caucus and said they stand by these individuals and they are prepared to overreach erudite directions of the Supreme Court of the Republic to say virtually in implied terms that to hell with the Supreme Court ruling.”
Mr Faibille is surprised that “a whole government will nail its mast to the private actions of two individuals such that its competence and credibility in the area of rule of law can be called into question either in the course of the life of the government or in the life thereafter of the government.”
Source Joy News Ghana