The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has been ordered to file its Statement of Case within 14 days, a deadline that would elapse on March 27.
This was after lawyers from the OSP’s office, for the second time, failed to file its statement of case to a suit filed by former Secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Charles Bissue.
In court on Monday, Counsel for the OSP, Issidore Tuffour, pleaded with the High Court (General Jurisdiction) presided over by Justice Olivia Obeng Owusu to oblige them another opportunity to prepare and file the Statement of Case.
He contended that the delay in filing their processes was because the OSP’s office was handicapped in respect of resources in managing legal matters.
According to Issidore Tuffour, he had just been appointed by the OSP to represent it in this matter owing to some constraints the office is facing.
“I have just been assigned to the execution of this case, and I will plead with the court for an adjournment to comply with the rules of court by filing a Statement of Case,” counsel told the court.
He explained that “the failure to file Statement of Case was a result of lack of resources at the first defendant’s (OSP) office.”
“I have just been appointed to fill that void, and in the interest of Justice, we plead that we will be accorded a short adjournment to do the needful,” Counsel for OSP prayed.
Deficit of condour
Counsel for the plaintiff (Charles Bissue], Nana Agyei Baffour Awuah, while responding to the request for an extension of time, described it as “unfortunate” even though he said they would oblige them the opportunity “so the court would be properly ceased with all the facts and the law to enable you to make a fair determination of the case.”
“My lady, at no point has the first Respondent (OSP) not been represented by counsel in this matter prior to his appointment (as Special Prosecutor).”
He said, “Counsel was coming to court to represent the first Respondent (OSP)” and “they took dates knowing very well that they were willing to prosecute this matter.”
Counsel told the court, “indeed, the Special Prosecutor himself is a lawyer, and so to come to court to say you have not been able to file your Statements of Case over two months since this matter was instituted very respectfully to my brother on the other side Tufuor, smacks of a deficit in condour of the first respondent’s office and not counsel.”
Lawyer Awuah added that “I have no problem for whatsoever of my lady very respectfully if you grant the adjournment in the circumstances.
Her Ladyship, Justice Olivia Obeng Owusu, while granting the request, ordered the OSP to file their Statement of Case within two weeks, which would elapse on March 27.
Counsel for the plaintiff was also granted a two-week leave to file a statement of reply where necessary after the OSP had filed.
The case has been adjourned to April 17, 2023.
The former Secretary to the IMCIM, Charles Bissue, had filed an application on December 23, last year (2022) and subsequently amended the application on January 4 2023, to restrain the OSP from investigating and prosecuting him over allegations made by Anas Aremeyaw Anas in a purported corruption documentary; Galamsey Fraud, that was published in February 2019.
Anas and his private investigative firm, Tiger Eye P. I was joined to the suit as 2nd and 3rd Defendant, respectively.
The plaintiff (Mr. Bissue) argued, among others, that an attempt to investigate the matter would amount to a review of an investigation long concluded by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service.
Subsequently and through his lawyers, a supplementary application was filed against the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Adjabeng, over a possible conflict of interest and bias in this case.
The OSP filed a conditional appearance and affidavit in opposition to the application on January 11 2023, arguing the case be struck out.
With this, it was expected of the OSP to file a statement within 14 days after filing the conditional appearance. But this was never pursued by the OSP.
On January 24, 2023, Counsel for the OSP told the court they were finalizing their statement of case and, as such, pleaded for more time to respond appropriately.
It was with this plea that the court granted an adjournment to March 13, 2023, hoping to be furnished with the statement of case to enable it to advance the matter.