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Supreme Court says Justice Emmanuel Ankamah’s orders is in clear breach of natural justice

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Supreme Court
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court says the orders made by Justice Emmanuel Ankamah, who sat on the case of the Estate of the late Rev. Emmanuel Dorgadzi at the Tema High Court, were made in clear breach of natural justice.

The Court held that the applicants were not given a hearing of the suit pending before the High Court, Tema.
Justice Emmanuel Ankamah, currently a Justice of the Court of Appeal, is being investigated for dealing with a matter he had no jurisdiction.

A five-member panel chaired by Justice Jones Victor Dotse (now retired) also described as “sordid” the act of the Judge and the Clerk at the time, Sebastian Agbo.

The Court in its ruling released on June 12, 2023, prohibited Justice Ankamah from further hearing the case and quashed his orders.

The panel recommended that all officers who played roles in the “shameful” act be investigated.

Justice Dotse said, “in our collective wisdom, we deem it appropriate to refer this case to the Chief Justice to cause further investigations into the conduct of the trial Judge and Sebastian Agbo, then Registrar of the High Court, Tema under whose tenure the sordid affairs happened.”

“This should cover all officers who played any role in this shameful specie of conduct,” he added.
The Court urged the Chief Justice to cause investigations into the apparent devise by the interested parties to undervalue the estate of the Deceased.

He said the Counsel, who filed the application for and on behalf of the interested parties should be made to give explanation as to the basis of the valuations made in respect of the properties stated therein.

“It is the considered view of this panel that, such an investigation will unravel the phenomenon that parties have been adopting to undervalue estate of deceased persons in respect of whose estate’s they apply for Letters of Administration.

“We urge the Judicial Service to enquire into the circumstances that led to Sebastian Agbo, then Registrar of the High court, Tema being interdicted,” he said.

“For the avoidance of doubts, the said Judge Ankamah (as he then was), is also hereby prohibited from hearing or having anything to do with this suit or any related aspect of it whatsoever,” the Supreme Court ruled.

The applicant sought from the Supreme Court “an application for an order of certiorari to quash the orders/proceedings of the High Court, Tema presided over by His Lordship Mr. Justice Emmanuel Ankaman dated August 18, 2022, striking out the applicant’s caveat for want of prosecution.”

It also sought to quash the Letters of Administration dated March 18 2022, issued by the said court to the interested parties for an order of prohibition to prohibit the said Judge and the Registrar of the High Court, Tema from further hearing and/or dealing with the applications/matters in relation to the estate of the late Rev. Dorgadzi.

It was the case of the applicants that, the High Court, Tema presided over by the trial Judge failed to observe the rules of natural justice, specifically, the audialteram partem rule in Suit Number E6/199/2022.

The applicants also contended that the Judge had no jurisdiction or exceeded his jurisdiction when on August 18, 2022, he purportedly ordered for the striking out of the caveat of the applicants for want of prosecution in Suit Number E6/199/2022.

It was also their case that, the trial Judge committed a jurisdictional error in respect of the estate of the deceased when on the face of the record, the same court had earlier issued Letters of Administration over the same estate.

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