The Supreme Court on Wednesday, virtually appointed the sacked Attorney-General, Martin Amidu, to collect the judgment debt paid Alfred Agbesi Woyome, to the surprise of many, including Deputy Attorney-General, Dr. Dominic Ayine.
He was of the view that, the court’s decision to grant a private citizen the opportunity to do a job, exclusively reserved for the state, is a legal error, since it is only the state that is empowered by Article 88 to take actions to retrieve state property.
The Article states among others that, “The Attorney-General shall be responsible for the institution and conduct of all civil cases on behalf of the State; and all civil proceedings against the State shall be instituted against the Attorney-General as defendant”.
The property in this case is GHC51.2 million cedis, which the state has been chasing Mr. Woyome to retrieve. Indeed, he has since paid GH¢4 million of the amount. His bank accounts, have garnisheed and properties attached.
Recently, the Attorney-General, went back to the Supreme Court to be granted an opportunity to orally examine Woyome to determine his assets, but later withdrew the request with a leave to do it anytime.
But the peeved Attorney-General, who has not come to terms with his dismissal by then President John Mills, filed a process at the Supreme Court to orally examine.
His request to be given the opportunity to do the oral examination himself was granted. Justice Anin Yeboah said the state was not making any serious attempts to retrieve the money, and fixed November 24th for the oral examination.
But disagreeing with the judgment, the Deputy Justice Minister, said “it is only the AG that can take action with respect to state property”.
He said, he was surprised that the Supreme Court judge, would base his judgment on Article 2, which grants a citizen the right to bring any action to court to protect state property.
Dominic Ayine, said this was a general right granted every citizen. But when it comes to executing a court order to retrieve the money, it is the sole prerogative of the state.
“That ruling is an evidential, factual and legal error” he described the ruling. “Can Amidu strictly and properly speaking go into execution? he wondered
The state resisted Martin Amidu, because it was protecting the integrity of the legal system, he defended the state.
Dominic Ayine, stressed that even after the oral examination; Amidu, cannot go around seizing Woyome’s assets. It is the state that has to do that, he said.
“So what will be the purpose of the oral examination?” the deputy minister assessed the value of Amidu’s victory. He said the state would wait to see what comes out of the interrogation. ‘Amidu will have his day in court’, he said.