Lawyers for Radio XYZ and four others on Wednesday failed to make an appearance in an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Olivia Obeng, to move their motion seeking an order of the Court to strike out an application of the NCA accusing the Chairman of the Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT), Professor Justice Samuel Date-Bah, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of bias.
According to a motion on notice filed by lawyers of the NCA, on the 12 June 2019, it is the contention of the NCA that the Chairman of the ECT who has tendered in his resignation letter to the Public Services Commission (PSC) and in the letter has accused the NCA of gross neglect of the Tribunal, is likely to be biased against the NCA in the mediation effort.
His resignation takes effect from July 1, 2019, and as such, the NCA submits that the ECT Chairman should not be allowed to mediate the case involving the NCA while he waits to leave office.
In an affidavit deposed to by one Gafaru Ali, in support of their motion on notice seeking to strike out that of the NCA, the embattled radio stations indicate that the “application for prohibition against the Chairman of the Electronic Communications Tribunal from sitting on cases involving the NCA is a subtle attempt to remove the Chairman of the ECT through the backdoor and to bring the work of the Tribunal to a complete stop and into disrepute”.
The affidavit further states that “it is abundantly clear that the instant motion for judicial review in the nature of prohibition has an ulterior motive, serious collateral advantage for the NCA beyond what the law permits, and has been instituted for a purpose for which the law does not recognize as legitimate use of the remedy of prohibition”.
To this end, the Radio Stations submit that “the application is a complete abuse of the process and ought to be dismissed with punitive Cost”, the affidavit stated. The Radio stations that have suffered closure by the regulator are XYZ Broadcasting Limited, Network Broadcasting Limited, Adunu Media Limited, Genesis Media Limited and Georichat Company Limited.
Due to the absence of both lawyers and representatives of the various affected radio stations, the court instructed the lawyer for the NCA, Gary Nimako Marfo, to propose a new date for hearing and also ensure that the parties on the other side are served with new hearing notices to make an appearance.
With the guidance of the Court, the NCA lawyer settled on 22nd July 2019 as the next sitting day.