Supreme Court dismisses contempt application against President Akufo-Addo

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a contempt application against President Akufo-Addo over the National Cathedral.

The Supreme Court in its ruling held that per Article 57 (4) and (5), the President was immune from criminal and civil actions.

The seven-member panel presided over by Justice Jones Victor Dotse ruled further that it was the same constitution that clothed the president with immunity hence the application must failed.

Dismissing it, the court noted that application for contempt was incompetent.

The substantive writ would now take its course.

The applicant Jonathan Holm, through his lawyer Mr. Bright Akwettey initiated the contempt application against the President over the National Cathedral, stating that the President pledged to God to put up the cathedral was made in his private capacity.

On commencement of the writ, state buildings were pulled down to make way for the cathedral.

Mr Akwetey argued, the President was personally liable to any proceedings, adding that it did not mean that if the President personally commits an action, he should be allowed to go scot free.

He was of the opinion that if the President intentionally commit a crime he was personally liable hence he should be committed for contempt.

However, Ms Dorothy Afriyie Ansah, Chief State Attorney, raised a preliminary objection to the application, saying that it’s form and structure were not properly before the court.

According to Ms Ansah, per Article 57 (4) (5) of the 1992 Constitution, the President enjoys immunity from criminal and civil actions.

She explained that the President could only be sued three years after leaving office.

“The application to commit the President and per Article 57, did not allow the President to be committed for contempt. The application is therefore incompetent and same should be dismissed,” she argued.

Mr Holm through his counsel is before the apex court of the land over the President’s decision to put up a National Cathedral in fulfillment of his pledge, adding that, the use of state land for the cathedral did not serve public interest.

The applicant held further that the President’s action of providing land for the Cathedral was an affront to the Constitution.

He is seeking among others a declaration that the land earmarked for the cathedral was compulsorily acquired under Section 3 of the Public land Ordinance of 1876 (Cap 134).

Source: GNA

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