Three justices of the High Court of Ghana have approached the ECOWAS Community court in Nigeria to suspend the ongoing disciplinary procedure against them by the government of Ghana until the determination of their case against the government pending with the Court.
In suit no. ECW/CCJ/APP/42/16 filed by Justices Paul Uuter Dery, Mustapha Habib Logoh and Gilbert Ayisi Addo, the jurists said the motion has become urgent because the government has taken three administrative steps, including requesting them to appear before a disciplinary committee, despite the 25th May 2018 order of the ECOWAS Court urging the government to suspend further action on the matter until the ruling on the motion.
In the suit filed by their Counsel, Mr. Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, the Applicants alleged the violation of their fundamental human rights by the government of Ghana following the suspension of some of their allowances and the payment of half of their salary because of an ongoing disciplinary procedure against them initiated by the country’s judicial council.
Although they prayed for an interim order of injunction, the court presided by Justice Gberi-Be Ouattara refused on the ground that the Court could not establish the grounds for urgency or the irreparable loss that could be suffered by the Applicants if the motion was denied.
The Court therefore adjourned the suit to 23rd of January, 2019 for substantive hearing.
The action of the Judicial Council of Ghana is on account of a petition to the President of the Republic of Ghana based on an investigative report by a journalist, Tiger Eye PI on the 10th September seeking their removal from office on grounds of audio-visual evidence and transcripts, various discussions and other acts that allegedly took place between the petitioner, the judges concerned and court staff which the petitioner produced in support of the petition as evidence.
The Applicants maintained that they challenged the petition by instituting various actions in the courts, but that the Supreme Court of Ghana while agreeing with the Applicants that the petitioner is not a company registered in accordance with the laws of Ghana as it claimed, went ahead to endorse the decisions of the judicial Council.
They therefore averred that the state of Ghana has violated their rights to fair hearing and administrative justice, equality before the law and freedom from discrimination, privacy and work including the action of the Council in paying them half of their monthly salaries, the suspension of their allowances and the constitution of a panel to investigate them.
They therefore, affirmed that these actions constituted an attempt by the State of Ghana to unlawfully and unfairly deprive them of their employment and right to work. They, therefore, urged the Court to issue the following orders: An order prohibiting the State of Ghana from continuing with the impeachment and investigation of the Applicants; an order asking Ghana to pay with interests the salaries and allowances of the Applicants unlawfully suspended since January 2016 as well as the payment of compensatory damages and costs of legal fees on full indemnity basis.