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Supreme Court quashes injunction against anti-gay bill

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Supreme Court quashes injunction against anti-gay bill

A Supreme Court panel of nine members, led over by Chief Justice Gertrude Torkonoo, has denied a plea to postpone Parliament’s consideration of the anti-gay measure.

The court says it is not persuaded to grant such an injunction at this time since the issues mentioned will be addressed in the substantive litigation.

This is the court’s verdict in a lawsuit brought by researcher Dr Amanda Odoi, who claims that parliament’s work on the proposed bill violates the constitution. Dr Odoi’s legal team also dropped the contempt charge against the Speaker of Parliament.

Dr Odoi is one of two persons who have filed a lawsuit against the Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney General in relation to the Anti-LGBT Law.

She claims that her checks reveal that the Speaker of Parliament has been served with all appropriate legal documents, including one requesting that the court issue an injunction prohibiting Parliament from considering the bill. Despite this, she claims that the Speaker allowed the Bill to proceed to its Second Reading in Parliament.

“That by his conduct in directing or causing Parliament to proceed to a Second Reading of the Bill, in full knowledge of the pending suit and related interlocutory injunction application, the Respondent has disregarded and disrespected the authority of this Court.

That such neglect jeopardises the result of existing litigation, throws the administration of justice into shame, and weakens public trust in the judicial system.”

On Wednesday, the court heard legal arguments over whether the case should be placed on pause. The Speaker of Parliament was not present, but Thaddeus Sory led his legal team.

Dr Odoi’s lawyers were the first to speak in court. Dr Ernest Ako, the lead attorney, urged that the court put the parliament debate on hold.

“Per the nature of the provision of article 108…assuming this bill goes through and becomes law and money is expended from the consolidated fund, we would not get the money back meanwhile Ghanaians would not get the millions that would have been spent on this law.”

“If the application is granted and Parliament does not proceed and the substantive matter is determined, parliament would just have suffered a little by not proceeding with the bill in the interim,” he stated.

Dr Sylvia Aduse, Chief State Attorney, told the court that Dr Odoi’s legal team had failed to demonstrate how they would suffer or which of their rights should be preserved in the meantime.

“He should have proved this balance of convenience well but we have not seen any evidence of that. The speaker is doing his duty and cannot be injuncted.” She said.

Lawyer for the Speaker Thaddeus Sory urged the court to dismiss the request.

“We pray that this application doesn’t satisfy any of the tests as set by this court and should be dismissed.”.

The panel presided over by the Chief Justice Indicated a case meriting an injunction has not been made.

“We have considered the merits of this case and are of the considered view that a prima facie case has not been made to convince us to injunct the work of parliament.

“Neither have we been convinced to injunct an uncompleted work of parliament. The issues raised by this application for injunction are matters to be determined by the substantive matter. This application for an injunction is dismissed.” The Chief Justice stated.

Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Gabriel Pwamang, Mariama Owusu, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Yonny Kulendi, Barbara Ackah-Yensu, Samuel Asiedu, and George Koomson are also on the panel.”

Meanwhile, Dr Odoi’s legal team has dropped the contempt complaint brought against the Speaker of Parliament.

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Supreme Court finds decision to compensate presidential wives unlawful

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Among other things, the NPP Chairman requested a "Declaration that per Article 71(1) and (2), the positions of the ladies do not fall under the category of Public Office Holders." The writ said that

The Supreme Court ruled that Parliament’s decision to provide wages to the president and vice president’s spouses was unconstitutional.

According to the Supreme Court, the approval violates the 1992 Constitution since the first and second ladies are not public officeholders.

This comes after Kwame Baffoe, also known as Abronye, the Bono Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), launched a lawsuit against the Attorney General in July 2021.

Among other things, the NPP Chairman requested a “Declaration that per Article 71(1) and (2), the positions of the ladies do not fall under the category of Public Office Holders.”

The writ said that“… Per Articles 108 and 178 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana: Parliament, cannot on its own accord, initiate or approve payment of any such emoluments which would necessarily be paid from public funds, without a bill to that effect emanating from and introduced by the Government and duly passed into law.”

Again, the action requested the court to declare that Parliament’s consent to pay wages to the First and Second Ladies is inconsistent with Article 71 clauses 1 and 2 of the Republic of Ghana’s 1992 constitution, and hence invalid, void, and unenforceable.

A seven-member Supreme Court bench chaired over by Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo granted three of the four reliefs requested by the Bono Regional Chairman.

Mr Abronye’s fourth relief, requesting that the Court declare that parliament cannot initiate or approve payment of any such emoluments, which must be paid from public funds, unless a bill to that effect is drafted, introduced by the government, and duly passed into law, was not granted.

Although the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) for South Dayi Constituency, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, filed a similar suit, his reliefs, which centred on the recommendations of the Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee, were dismissed, with just one granted.

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Prison sentence begins immediately Sedina Tamakloe arrives in Ghana

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Regarding the potential of her serving her jail sentence overseas owing to Ghana's terrible prison circumstances, the NPP member stated, "That is a point, but you cannot expect us to upgrade our prison conditions to the point where they have one person to a room with a TV set." Madam Tamakloe received a ten-year jail term for causing the state a financial loss of GHC90 million. Daniel Axim, the organization's former Operations Manager and collaborator, received a five-year prison sentence as well.

Kingsley Amoako-Boadu, a private legal practitioner, has stated that former Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) Sedina Tamakloe’s jail sentence will take effect as soon as she lands in Ghana.

He added that because she is not available within Ghana’s jurisdiction, the punishment can only begin once she comes.

“The jail term begins when she arrives in Ghana,” he explained on Key Points in April 2024.

Regarding the potential of her serving her jail sentence overseas owing to Ghana’s terrible prison circumstances, the NPP member stated, “That is a point, but you cannot expect us to upgrade our prison conditions to the point where they have one person to a room with a TV set.”

Madam Tamakloe received a ten-year jail term for causing the state a financial loss of GHC90 million. Daniel Axim, the organization’s former Operations Manager and collaborator, received a five-year prison sentence as well.

Madam Tamakloe was jailed in absentia while seeking court authorization to go to the United States for medical treatment.

Following the judgement, Deputy Attorney-General Alfred Tua-Yeboah stated that the state has begun proceedings to extradite the former MASLOC chief to Ghana to complete his sentence.

“We’ve started the processes and with this judgement, that is going to speed up the process. In Ghana we have various clauses, you can choose to just stay, but so far we have laws regulating how you can be extradited from one country to Ghana if there is a judgment like this one. Rest assured, she would be brought down and face justice,” he explained.

It would be recalled that speaking on the jailing of Sedina Tamakloe who was tried in absentia, on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 on Tuesday, April 16 Kpebu said “The main change we may face is prison conditions. INTERPOL will do their bit so that they will spread it all over the world, all the police agencies of all the countries in the world asking for her to be extradited to Ghana. But one of the key things we will be facing is the prison conditions in Ghana because I am aware in the past certain countries have refused to extradite persons to Ghana because of our very inhuman prison conditions, so that is the biggest challenge we will have when it comes to extradition, but a lot of countries do extradite persons back to Ghana.”

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La Dadekotopon: Akufo-Addo’s driver files to enter the NPP parliamentary primary

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Solomon Kotey Niikio, the area's MCE, has also filed a candidature to run. Joseph Addo, President Akufo-Addo's driver for more than 20 years, claims to have contributed to the constituency's progress. "I have helped the youth in this area get jobs and employment in government agencies"

President Akufo-Addo’s personal driver has registered a nomination for the La Dedekotopon NPP Parliamentary primary on April 27, 2024.

Joseph Addo, who was vetted and certified by the party’s Greater Accra Elections Committee, claims he would win the seat back for the NPP.

“I was born and bred here in La, I have lived all my life here so I am not new in this constituency.”

The National Executive Committee of the NPP approved a primary in the constituency after the elected Parliamentary Candidate, Dr Gerald Joseph Tetteh, resigned for personal reasons.

Solomon Kotey Niikio, the area’s MCE, has also filed a candidature to run.

Joseph Addo, President Akufo-Addo’s driver for more than 20 years, claims to have contributed to the constituency’s progress.

“I have helped the youth in this area get jobs and employment in government agencies”

He goes on to say that, “Recently when the party needed an office space after the destruction of the old office, I personally worked to get a new office for the party” .

Joseph Addo feels confident in winning the primary on April 27th and the general election on December 7th.

Rita Naa Odoley Sowah of the NDC won the La Dedekotopon seat in the 2020 election, defeating the NPP.

The NPP hopes to reclaim the seat in the December elections.

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