Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey
Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey

Counsel for the plaintiffs in the controversial Jake ‘bungalow’ case, Mr Senanu Kwabla has mounted a passionate defence of the government’s decision to abrogate its sale agreement with NPP Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey in respect of a land property at Ridge in Accra.

He says the decision chimed perfectly with the public interest for whose consideration, he, on the instructions of Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Dr Omane Boamah brought the suit at the Supreme Court in 2008, seeking a declaration that the purchase of the property was illegal and therefore null and void.

The Supreme Court rejected Mr Senanu and the plaintiffs’ argument propelling the government to issue a statement cancelling the sale.

Mr Senanu, contributing to a panel discussion on Joy FM’s news analyses programme Newsfile Saturday, said the crux of his case was Article 20(5): “Any property compulsorily taken possession of or acquired in the public interest or for a public purpose shall be used only in the public interest or for the public purpose for which it was acquired,” and “20 (6) Where the property is not used in the public interest or for the purpose for which it was acquired, the owner of the property immediately before the compulsory acquisition, shall be given the first option for acquiring the property and shall, on such reacquisition refund the whole or part of the compensation paid to him as provided for by law or such other amount as is commensurate with the value of the property at the time of the reacquisition,” but conceded his argument was rejected.

Declaring he is a sympathizer of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Senanu took exception to claims by Nana Akomea that President JEA Mills, whilst a lecturer at the University of Ghana, also benefited from the sale of state land acquired for use by the university.

He argued President Mills’ land is located at Oyarifa and could not be compared to Jake’s property which is located at a prime area.

“His Excellency, Professor JE Atta Mills has been a lecturer in the University of Ghana for so many years and he was in a duty post, he never bought it,” he stated.

Mr Senanu will not be provoked into criticizing the decision of the highest court of the land, insisting it is against the ethics of the Bar. In his view, Egbert Faibille, a panelist on the show tried to provoke him to comment on the ratio of the court’s decision or regurgitate the arguments which he put before the court – something Mr Senanu insisted he would not do.

But Egbert rejected the suggestion, arguing he had not criticized the court’s decision himself. Mr Faibille who is a legal practitioner, said the case of Mr Senanu and his clients foundered because it lacked foundation.

He averred that case law had on countless occasions ruled that Article 20(5) and 20(6) – on which the case was primarily based – could not be applied retroactively so that land or property compulsorily acquired by the state before the Constitution came into effect, were not affected by the provision, for laws do not generally take retroactive effect.

Mr Senanu also accused Joy FM of discriminating against other political parties by limiting access to its platform (NDC MP for Adenta, Yaw Adu Asare and a member of the government communication team, Mr George Nartey who billed to represent the NDC on the show had not arrived).

“Even what you are doing there I don’t buy it; you don’t allow NDC, you don’t allow CPP, you don’t allow PPP, you don’t allow GCPP, you don’t allow other parties to partake. Why do you as it were make the whole gamut of discourse in this country politically to be just about NPP, NPP, NPP”? he asked.

Later Mr Nartey joined the programme.

Source: Joy Online

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