The procedure used by Justice Tandoh in adopting the previous proceedings of now-retired judge Justice Clemence Honyenuga’s court is “totally unknown” to Ghana’s law, Mr Benson Nutsukpui, the lead counsel for businessman Seidu Agongo (second accused person) in the GHS217-million financial loss case, has argued.
In court on Thursday, 26 October 2023, the former Ghana Bar Association (GBA) president, arguing in support of his client’s affidavit for a stay of proceedings, said the proceedings adopted by Justice Tandoh were replete with “mistakes” that should have been corrected by the court together with both parties, per proper procedure, and, thus, cannot be deemed as a true reflection of the earlier court’s sittings.
“What this court is purported to have adopted is not qualified for the proceedings,” Mr Nutsukpui asserted in court.
He insisted: “The procedure adopted by this honourable court in adopting this proceedings is totally unknown to our law,” stressing: “And the proper procedure and practice for adopting proceedings before our courts is to ensure that proceedings put together are corrected before adoption.”
“That was not done in the instant case,” he noted.
Mr Nutsukpui told the court: “It’s our position that proceedings should ordinarily be the regular progression of a case including all acts and events, including the time of commencement and at the time of adoption so that parties and the court can easily be referred to what has been adopted.”
“In this case,” he noted, “we don’t know what has been adopted.”
In addition, Mr Nutsupui pointed out: “My Lord, we are also at pains to point out that the documents which were put together for the appeal of the prosecution, had a lot of mistakes and we even brought same to the attention of the Court of Appeal when they were hearing the matter so that the applicant’s application has a very bright chance of success.”
However, Chief State Attorney Evelyn Keelson, who informed the court of her decision to “waive” the prosecution’s “affidavit in opposition” because it was not served on the court or counsel for the second and third accused persons, counter-argued that the court used the right procedure in adopting the proceedings of Justice Honyenuga’s court.
“My Lord, we submit that there is no legal basis for parties to go through proceedings together with the court before same is adopted by the court,” she averred.
“We submit that this court rightly adopted the proceedings in this case once the court was seized with proceedings and had directed parties to apply for same. The proceedings, as adopted by this court, are, therefore, proceedings before this court properly constituted.”
Justice Tandoh maintained that the adoption of proceedings “is a sole decision of the trial judge,” ruling: “This application is devoid of merit and no exceptional circumstances to warrant the stay of proceedings.”
Mr Agongo and his company, Agricult Ghana Limited, are facing 27 charges, including willfully causing financial loss to the state and contravention of the Public Procurement Act in the purchase of Lithovit liquid fertiliser between 2014 and 2016.
They are being prosecuted together with former chief executive officer of Ghana Cocoa Board Stephen Opuni, who is the first accused person.
Justice Tandoh, the third judge assigned to the almost-six-year-old case, took over from Justice Kwasi Anokye, the second judge, whomgot transferred to Kumasi shortly after ruking that the case start de novo when he took over from the first judge, Justice Honyenuga.
Source: Daily Mail GH