Justice Anthony Yeboah, the presiding Judge, hearing the suit filed by Mr Paul Afoko, challenging his suspension by the party on Wednesday said he had no interest in the case.
He said he is handling the case to the best of his ability, mindful of the fact that whoever looses could go for an appeal.
He made this observation, when Counsel for the Defendants, Mr Godwin Odame complained y about the sitting arrangement of the first prosecution witness and counsel for the plaintiff.
Mr Odame said Mr Osafo Boabeng whispered into the ears of the witness, and drew the attention of the court, to do something about it.
Justice Yeboah said: “I have been in this court and I have never seen them do so. When I saw so today I called their attention.”
He told the defence counsel to go ahead and petition, so that the case would be taken away from his court, if they are not happy with him.
“I am doing my best and that is all I can do, if you are not happy with me, I am also not interested in this matter. I would be extremely glad if you do so.”
During further cross examination of Mr Martin Kpebu, a Legal Practitioner, the first prosecution witness, said their preliminary objections filed to the Disciplinary Committee (DC) on October 12, 2015, were the second batch of objections.
The first batch related to the DC petition by the National Council of Elders.
He said the plaintiff was not served with copies of the petition by Alhaji Aminu and Alhaji Yiribmea, on October 6, 2015, but he saw the petition from he, the witness and one Dr Atupare and expressed reservations as to their accepting service of them.
When asked whether he was aware about the letter by which the plaintiff was served with the petition invited him to the meeting on October 6, 2015, he prayed the court to be excused from answering questions from the exhibits since he had no knowledge about it.
Mr Kpebu said it was not true that the plaintiff produced a letter from his medical doctor saying he was unwell.
He said it was rather the case that, when he the witness appeared before the committee, on October 12, the committee enquired about the plaintiff and he told them his presence was not necessary at that stage, since there were four legal objections pending before the committee and by law, the body could not proceed without first answering those petitions.
“And also as a matter of courtesy the plaintiff had asked me to convey to the committee that he was unwell. I told them I had his medical excuse duty in my mail, so after the sitting they asked me to go and print it out and furnish them with same, so I did”.
He said the deliberations on the said day were not centred on the plaintiff’s unwellness but they pointed out to the committee that the objections must be ruled on before they could go into the substance of the case.
The witness said they were expecting the ruling on the objection because when they appeared before the committee the first time, they presented two objections in respect of conflict of interest on the part of the committee and the fact that the committee lacks jurisdiction.
He said the other two objections they have raised were in respect of Alhaji Aminu and Alhaji Yiribmea’s petition.
He told the court that on the next sitting that was on October 21, 2015, he did not see Alhaji Aminu and Alhaji Yiribmea attending the proceeding as their seats were empty, but he interacted with them outside the committee room, and believed they were there because the proceedings was adjourned to that date.
When asked whether he was aware that the final report of the committee was concluded on October 21, Mr Kpebu said he was not aware and if it did, it would have been a farce because there had been no trial to that extent and not even the objections had been ruled upon.
“There were two different set of petitions given to us on different dates. And for each of them we raised preliminary legal objections, for which we received no ruling, indicating that the preliminary hearing had not been concluded much more the substantive hearing.”
He said the committee did not also indicate to them the dismissal of their objections, because if they did, the plaintiff would have been entitled to appeal even on this ruling.
“There was no way I would have run away from such an easy fight. Per the constitution of the first defendant, the ruling would have constituted a decision of the committee for which the plaintiff had the right to appeal.
“As such the committee itself would not immediately on the same day have proceeded with the substantive matter without giving the plaintiff the opportunity to appeal.”
The witness told the court that the constitution of the first defendant was subject to the laws of Ghana and Article 23 of the constitution requires administrative bodies to be fair among others in coming to the decision concerning the rights and obligations of persons.
“To that extent the plaintiff is not a non-executive member of the first defendant, but their own party chairman, and it is reasonable to state that the committee would be so informed in dealing with such persons and will have been well advised to give him an opportunity to decide what to do with ruling on the preliminary objections before granting him an adjournment.”
The case was adjourned to June 15, for further cross examination.
At the last sitting, the defence counsel ended cross examination, and the Counsel for Mr Afoko told the court that he had two more witnesses to present.
Justice Yeboah gave both parties one week to file their legal submissions, while the two witnesses would be brought to be cross- examined on their evidence.
Mr Afoko is challenging his indefinite suspension from the party, arguing it was illegal. The NPP’s National Executive Committee suspended him in October 2015 for “misconduct.”
According to him, the action and processes leading to his suspension by some members of the party were unconstitutional and a breach of natural justice.
The decision was adopted by the party’s National Council which is the second highest decision making body of the party after congress but he maintained the party erred in the decision.