SC dismisses suit against Akufo-Addo over National Cathedral
A contempt application initiated by Jonathan Holm, through his lawyer Bright Akwetey against President Dankwa Akufo-Addo over the National Cathedral saga has been dismissed by the Supreme Court.
A seven member panel chaired by Justice Jones Dotse while dismissing the application said the president is immune from both criminal and civil actions as stipulated by Article 57 (4 and 5).
The court said the same constitution while giving the president immunity also prescribed solution on how to deal with the president which impeachment.
The application the court described as incompetent and one that has no merit for whatsoever.
Lawyer Akwetey while moving the case said even though the constitution as per Article 57 stipultes that the president cannot be suit while in office but the President can be sued when he is personally liable for crime.
According to him when the President deliberately commit a crime, he is amenable to legal action and therefore prayed the court to commit the President for contempt.
Dorothy Afriyie Ansah, a Chief State Attorney in the case who raised a preliminary objection said the President is immuned from both criminal and civil actions as per article 57 (4 and 5) as a sitting President.
She argued that the President can be sued three years after leaving office. The Chief State Attorney however prayed for the application to be dismissed.
Bright Akwetey, was seeking to flaw President Akufo-Addo, at the Supreme Court, over his decision to build a national cathedral to fulfill a private pledge. He argued that the use of the state land to build a National Cathedral, is unconstitutional, because it does not serve any “public
Mr Akwetey, who is lawyer for Jonathan Holm, said that the decision by the President to take with force state land to fulfill a personal promise he made to God, offends the various Constitutions dating back to 1967.
Mr Akwetey, argued that per the Constitutions 1967, 1979 and 1992, what the President is seeking to use the land for, is not in the interest of the public, as stated by the documents.
The plaintiff’s argument is captured is captured in Article 20 (5) and (6) which state that “Any property compulsorily taken possession of or acquired in the public interest or for a public propose shall be used only in the public interest or for the public purpose for which it was acquired.Where the property is not used in the public interest or for the purpose for which it was acquired, the owner of the property immediately before the compulsory acquisition, shall be given the first option for acquiring the property and shall, on such re-acquisition refund the whole or part of the compensation paid to him as provided for by law or such other amount as is commensurate with the value of the property at the time of the re-acquisition”.
Lawyer for the Plaintiff, will be defending his client on why the President’s decision to build the National Cathedral, is not in the interest of the public, and that his only motive is because as an opposition leader, he made a pledge to God in his private capacity that if he wins the 2016 general elections, he will have it built, as a way of thanking Him.
Mr Akwetey is seeking 17 reliefs, including “A declaration that the land designated by the President of the Republic for the construction of the National Cathedral was compulsorily acquired under Section 3 of the Public Lands Ordinance of 1876 (Cap. 134).