23rd July 2024

Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni

A four against three majority decision by a 7-member review panel of the Supreme Court has overturned the earlier three against two majority ruling that prohibited Justice Clemence Honyenuga from continuing to hear the GHS271 million financial loss case against ex-COCOBOD CEO Stephen Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo.

The ruling, delivered by Justice Jones Dotse, said Dr Opuni’s allegations of bias against Justice Honyenuga had no basis, thus the trial could resume.

Consequently, Justice Honyenuga is expected to resume his additional responsibilities at the High Court to hear this trial to its logical conclusion.

The enhanced panel was made of Justices Jones Dotse, as president, Agnes Dodzi, Lovelace Johnson, Amadu Tanko, Gabriel Pwamang, Prof Nii Ashie Kotey and Getrude Tokonor.

Justices Prof Nii Ashie Kotey and Gertrude Tokornor were the new Justices added onto the ordinary bench who took side with the minority decision of the ordinary bench, held by Justice Jones Dotse and Lady Lovelace Johnson.

The recent ruling means that Lady Agnes Dordzie, Justice Gabriel Pwamang and Justice Amadu Tanko, who formed the majority decision on the ordinary bench, became the dissenting view.

Review motion

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, had filed for a review following the majority decision upholding an argument of bias against the trial judge.

In the review application, the Attorney-General argued that the decision of the ordinary bench contained fundamental and grave errors which had manifestly resulted in a substantial miscarriage of justice.

“The decision of the ordinary bench of this Supreme Court, dated 28 July 2021, contained fundamental and grave errors which have manifestly resulted in a substantial miscarriage of justice, as it effectively ignored the time-honoured fundamental and mandatory preconditions for an invocation of the Supreme Court’s supervisory jurisdiction for an order of certiorari to quash an alleged error contained in a decision of a Superior Court,” he argued.

The Attorney-General, in his statement of case, further added: “A decision which erroneously departs from recognized principles regarding the invocation of this honourable court’s supervisory jurisdiction is bad in law, manifests injustice and constitutes an exceptional circumstance warranting a review by the court.”

Mr Yeboah Dame concluded in his address: “It is our humble submission that a careful application of relevant principles regarding the invocation of both the supervisory and review jurisdictions of the Court will undoubtedly result in a setting aside of the decision complained of. To preserve the same will be a bad and dangerous precedent for Ghana law.”

Addressing the media after the hearing yesterday, he welcomed the court’s decision, saying that was a demonstration of their long-held suspicion that Dr Opuni had taken to some antics to delay the case, even though he knew that his day of reckoning would come soonest.

Another failed removal attempt

Barely a day to the hearing of the review application, Dr Opuni, through his lawyers, had filed another application asking president of the panel, Justice Jones Dotse, to recuse himself from hearing of the review motion.

They cited a meeting that was held between the Attorney-General and Justice Jones Dotse, acting as Chief Justice, as the basis for the application.

But a deputy Attorney-General, Alfred Yeboa-Tuah, argued that the application was simply in bad faith and only meant to muddy the waters.

He said the meeting complained about was held in the official office of then acting Chief Justice in broad daylight at 11:00 am, and argued that the applicants had failed to demonstrate either a real likelihood of bias or actual bias that may be occasioned with the inclusion of Justice Dotse on the panel.

The Court, in agreeing with this position, refused the application for Justice Dotse to recuse himself.


About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *