An aerial view of the Osu Castle

A leading member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and a lawmaker says the ruling by the Supreme Court that former Tourism Minister and one-time Chief of Staff in the erstwhile Kufuor administration, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey had the right under the constitution…

…to purchase the bungalow in which he occupied because he bought it in his capacity as a citizen and not as a minister, has serious ramifications in the quest to fight corruption within public offices.

Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, who is the NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma Central believes the ruling has paved the way for public officials to do similar if not worse acts by acquiring for themselves such public property they are supposed to keep.

“we have set a very bad precedent and if this is the grabbing they are talking about… people would show them how to loot well,” he said.

The Supreme Court, in a 9 – 0 decision, dismissed the claims of corruption, conflict of interest, abuse of office and cronyism writ brought against the NPP National Chair by two deputy ministers of state challenging his right to acquire the state bungalow. They had prayed the court to among other things, reverse ownership of Bungalow No. 2 at Mungo Street, Ridge residential area in Accra.
But the court, by a 6 – 3 decision, noted the process used in acquiring the property, contrary to the claimants’ claims, was not unfair and illegal.

The court also averred that Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey had the right under the constitution to purchase the bungalow in which he lived because the bungalow was bought in his capacity as a citizen and not a minister.

Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma Central

But speaking on Asempa FM, Hon Tetteh Chaie said the decision will set a bad precedent and opined that the green light has now been given for other government appointees to purchase state properties after exiting office since they are assured of a victory in court.

Whiles commending the plaintiffs, Okudzeto Ablawka and Dr. Omane Boamah for having the courage to take Mr. Obetsebi Lamptey on in court in the interest of the public, the NDC MP rhetorically questioned whether “if as government appointees, we are to purchase state properties, what legacy are we bequeathing to successive governments? Our courts should deal with moral issues with sincerity because if this is not done, somebody would one day find a way to sell the castle to himself after his tenure had expired,” he warned.

Source: Chris Joe Quaicoe/Peacefmonline

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