Court charges Tema Mayor with contempt

By Maame Aba Afful
Tema mayor found guilty of contempt

An Accra High Court has charged the Mayor of Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) Felix Mensah-La with contempt for issuing a public notice for the demolition of structures at the Sakumono Ramsar site despite a court injunction.

The TMA Mayor was cautioned and ordered by the Court to within 14 days issue another notice “retracting what you have published in the same Daily Graphic.”

The order came after the court presided over by Justice Kweku Tawiah Ackaah-Boafo had found Mr. Mensah-La guilty of contempt and was slapped with a cost of GHc2,500 in favour of the applicant who owns a property at the Ramsar site at Sakumono.

Mr. Mensah-La who is the Metropolitan Chief Executive of TMA was said to have sanctioned a public notice to demolish building and structures on the face of a pending order and his decision according to the court “was unlawful and a flagrant violation of the court order dated June 20, 2014.”

The court said it is worth noting that, it is not the business of litigants and their counsel to determine which orders or processes of the court are lawful and deserving of obedience and which laws must be disobeyed.

Prior to finding him guilty of contempt, the court said the respondent, the MCE of TMA, is the official head both politically and administratively of the assembly and therefore could be held liable for the act of “commission or omission of the assembly.”

The bone of contention in the application before the court was “whether or not the respondent disobeyed the orders of the injunction by carrying out or caused to be carried out act alleged by the applicant in the case.”

Based on the evidence before the court, it said it has no difficulty in dismissing the respondent averment, alleging that he was not aware that there has been an order of injunction against the assembly.

The court said, even though it was the contention of the respondent that he assumed the position of the MCE only a few months ago, his argument that he was not privy to the order is “as attractive” but they were misconceived.

Justice Ackaah-Boafo explained that the said appeal was filed by the same lawyer Emmanuel Avenyogbor who works at the legal department of the TMA and therefore such submission is inaccurate on the face of the law.”

According to the court, the MCE cannot hide behind the submission that he was not aware of the case because the TMA solicitor before he came in was on leave and therefore had known knowledge of that, but the court described his argument as “unworthy of consideration” and therefore rejects it.

The court said, the respondent himself admitted that there is a high court order for injunction in favour of the applicant, restraining the TMA and other respondents in that suit, and also “does not also deny that the TMA which he heads filed an appeal against the order and same is yet to be determined by the court of appeal.”

Justice Ackaah-Boafo added that the respondent has submitted that the publication was made against ‘Mounting Destruction against the Sakumor Ramsar Site” to preserve Ghana’s international reputation under LI1659.

Credit: starrfmonline.com

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