Beginning tomorrow, private legal practitioner, Bright Akwetey, will be seeking to flaw President Akufo-Addo, at the Supreme Court, over his unpopular decision to build a national cathedral to fulfill a private pledge he made to God, while in opposition.
The respected senior lawyer, will commence with a contempt charge argument against the President, before moving on to the main issue at a later date; that the use of the state land to build a National Cathedral, is unconstitutional, because it does not serve any “public interest”.
Mr Akwetey, who is lawyer for Jonathan Holm, says 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.
The President is expected to be represented by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Akuffo.
Per court documents sighted by The Herald, Mr Akwetey, will be arguing 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”.
The Herald’s information is that the writ was served on Madam Akuffo on behalf of the President and the Lands Commission as Defendants.
The President, is also reported to have requested for the writ from the A-G, when he became aware of it, but still went ahead to pull down very important state facilities and bungalows, including the ones occupied by judges and the Passport Office.
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.
It would be recalled that as at the time the President cut the sod for the commencement of the facility, he wasn’t the President as he wasn’t sworn-in yet and had no Cabinet. His desire to build the Cathedral, has variously been described as a selfish move to satisfy one’s big ego.
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) from the Osu Stool by virtue of Certificate of Title dated 29th November, 1910for residential purposes for public officers and has been used for the public purpose for which it was acquired and there the user cannot be changed to accommodate the National Cathedral which is not a public purpose or a project in the “public interest” within the meaning of Article 295 of the 1992 Constitution”.
……“ A declaration that if the land acquired under the Certificate of Title dated 29th November, 1910 for residential purposes is no longer required for the purpose for which it was compulsorily acquired, the Lands Commission is enjoined by virtue of Article 20 (6) of the Constitution to grant the Osu Stool the first option to re-acquire the land”.
……”A declaration that it would constitute a violation of the fundamental right of the people of Osu to be denied the first option to re-acquire the land under Article 20 (6) of the Constitution if the National Cathedral is constructed on the land compulsorily acquired the Certificate of Title dated 29th November 1910 for residential purposes for public officers”.
…..An order of perpetual injection to restrain the President of the Republic and the Executive from appropriating the land under reference for use to construct a National Cathedral in violation of Article 20 (5) and (6) of the Constitution and in breach of the trust expressly created by Section 3 of the PublicLand Ordinance, 1976 (Cap 134) and Article 257 (1) of the 1992 Constitution in respect of lands compulsorily acquired for stated public purposes”.
…..”An order confirming that the original public purpose for which the land was compulsorily acquired by virtue of the Certificate of Title dated 29th November, 1910 is still valid”.
Mr Akwetey lists six grounds for his application, saying ……”demolishing of government bungalows on the site unlawfully earmarked for the construction of a national cathedral while the suit relating to the construction of the national cathedral is pending before the Supreme Court.
“Taking action that tends to bring the administrationof justice into dispute”. “Willfully acting in violation of the President oath of office”. Acting in disrespect of the authority of the Supreme Court.
“Willfully interfering with pending litigation in a manner likely to prejudice a fair hearing of the case” and “Willfully acting in violation of the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Ghana”.