Head of legal affairs of the National Democratic Congress, Godwin Edudze Tamakloe, says the practice of the Ghana Police Service independently going to court to injunct protests without authorization from the Attorney General is wrong.
He made this known in court when he filed a preliminary motion objecting to the capacity of the Ghana Police Service to institute an injunction application against a planned protest by the minority group in parliament.
The protest is to demand the resignation of the governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison.
The injunction application instituted by the Police is on the grounds that the proposed routes for the protest previously scheduled for September 5 pose security concerns.
But before the injunction application could be moved on Monday, Godwin Edudze Tamakloe, counsel for organizers of the protest moved the preliminary objection.
He argued that the signing of the motion paper and the conduct of the injunction case by Supt. Sylvester Asare “offends section 9(1a) of the state proceedings ACT.”
According to him, per dictates of the State Proceedings Act, all civil proceedings by the Republic shall be instituted by the Attorney General or an officer instructed by him.
“Lawyer Asare is not the Attorney General or an officer authorized by the Attorney General and therefore cannot purport to sign this originating process for and on behalf of the republic”, counsel Edudzi Tamakloe advanced in court.
The NDC legal affairs head further argued that the fiat given to the police by the Attorney General to conduct criminal cases in some instances will not even provide the basis for the police to institute the instant action without authorization.
He thus prayed the court to strike out the injunction application.
The Ghana Police Service represented by Superintendent Sylvester Asare, however, opposed the motion. Supt. Sylvester Asare first argued that the “Ghana Police Service is a corporate body which can sue and be sued”
He contended further that even though the motion reads, The republic V the respondents, the applicant in actual fact is the Ghana Police Service.
“Since the Ghana Police Service can sue and be sued, filing the process does not render it defective. Seeing the Republic and the Respondent on the face of the motion paper does not take the right of the police to bring this application,” Supt. Asare argued in court.
He also stated that the Supreme Court through case law has settled the position that independent bodies like CHRAJ can institute legal actions on their own.
“From the decisions of the Supreme Court, it is clear that the Ghana Police Service being the institution in charge of internal security is at liberty to initiate these proceedings’ Supt. Asare urged the court.
He further relied on provisions of the Public Order ACT to buttress his point that the Police have the capacity to make such applications without authorization from the Attorney General.
“We say that the Public Order Act clearly confers jurisdiction on the police to apply to this court praying for a prohibition of the proposed special event.” Supt. Asare advanced in his closing arguments.
The court presided over by Justice Edward Twum however adjourned the case to September 8 for a ruling.