You have no powers over court - Judge ‘fires’ OSP


You have no powers over court - Judge ‘fires’ OSP

An Accra High Court has descended heavily on the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) for engaging in what the court described as over-stepping its boundaries and “abusing its powers”.

The court presided over by Justice Nicholas Mensah Abodakpi was not happy with certain depositions in the OSP’s affidavit, challenging a legal action by a former Presidential Staffer, Charles Cromwell Bissue, seeking to quash an arrest warrant allegedly obtained by the anti-graft agency to arrest and investigate him.

Justice Abodakpi said the said depositions (paragraphs 21-23 of the affidavit) by the OSP were “scandalous”, an “abuse of office”, with the OSP behaving as if it had power over the court.

Consequently, the court struck out the three paragraphs.

“The OSP has no appellate jurisdiction over the High Court.

Whatever power you have, you have no appellate jurisdiction over the High Court,” Justice Abodakpi said.

What were the depositions?

In the said depositions (paragraphs 21-23 of the affidavits), the OSP, among other things, accused Mr Bissue of misleading the court to grant an interim injunction based on a non-existing arrest warrant.

The OSP further criticised the court in the deposition for granting the interim injunction for 10 days, restraining the anti-graft agency from arresting and investigating Mr Bissue.

“It is, thus, regrettable that although no court warrant was ever issued or existed, this Honourable Court firmly handed down an order of interim injunction against the first respondent, on an ex parte application, to restrain the respondent from discharging its statutory functions for ten (10) days.

It bears noting that a copy of the alleged warrant was never exhibited to the ex parte application, but the applicant had to bear the brunt of the judicial order all the same,” the OSP deposed.

Abuse of power

Justice Abodakpi said the depositions were scandalous, as the OSP sought to castigate the court for giving the interim injunction.

The best option, the court said, was for the OSP to appeal its decision and not castigate it in that manner.

“You cannot remonstrate and castigate the court over decisions it has made,” the judge said.

Justice Abodapki then asked the counsel from the OSP’s office, Seth Ansong, if he had a copy of the ruling granting the interim injunction, to which counsel replied, “Not that I know of”.

The answer from the OSP elicited a strong response from the judge, who wondered how he made the depositions without seeing the ruling from the court.

“Then why are you saying those things if you haven’t read the ruling of the court?

 If you disagree with a ruling of the court, you go to the Court of Appeal and appeal.

You are abusing your powers.

You cannot castigate me (Judge).

You haven’t seen the decision of the court and you are saying those things,” Justice Abodapki said.

Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned to January 15, next year, for a hearing, where it is expected that a certain video recording of the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, granting interviews would be played in court.

Lawyers for Bissue alleged that Mr Agyebeng granted an interview referring to the said arrest warrant which has become a bone of contention in the case.

However, the OSP has accused Bissue of misleading the court of the existence of the said arrest warrant, which it claimed led to the granting of the interim injunction.

The OSP contends that it had the power of arrest and, therefore, did not need a court warrant to execute an arrest.

The OSP has, therefore, indicated to the court that it would cross-examine lead counsel for Bissue, Nana Agyei Baffour, seeking the truthfulness of the deposition to his affidavit that stated that the OSP had obtained an arrest warrant for Charles Bissue.

Justice Abodakpi also directed the parties — Bissue, the Attorney-General (representing the Kaneshie District which purportedly issued the said warrant) and the OSP — to file their written submissions before the next adjourned date.

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