2022 In Review: The Top 14 Biggest Court Stories
If you are tasked to describe the year 2022 with one word, plenty of words immediately come to mind.
Talk of eventful, exciting, challenging, scandalous, and most importantly, an engaging 365 days.
It’s been a year that the courts — from superior to lower courts — have seen a lot of action.
Some big names have been dragged to various courts to answer charges regarding multiple offences.
From the former Public Procurement Authority boss Agyenim Boateng Adjei, the Sekondi-Takoradi MCE Abdul-Mumin Issah, to the social media firebrand Oliver Barker Vormawor.
Theghanareport.com takes a look at court stories that dominated news headlines and conversations in 2022 as the country braces for 2023.
Sekondi-Takoradi MCE Traffic Offense Case
Like many others who become famous through no deliberate act, the Sekondi-Takoradi MCE Abdul-Mumin Issah shot himself in the foot, eventually landing him in court.
In February this year, the Sekondi-Takoradi MCE was arrested for a motor traffic offence and verbally assaulted an officer conducting a lawful duty.
In a viral video, he was heard raining insults on the said officer, an inspector. He vowed to have the said officer transferred to another region.
His outburst landed him at the Takoradi Circuit Court on February 4.
The MCE was charged with three counts — assault of a public officer, offensive conduct conducive to breaches of peace and disturbing the peace in a public place contrary to Sections 205, 207 and 298, respectively, of the Criminal and Other Offences Act of 1960, Act 29.
Additionally, he faces a charge of dangerous driving contrary to Section 1 of Act 683 of 2004 as amended by Act 761 of 2008.
He pleaded not guilty to all three counts and was granted GH¢100K bail.
#FixTheCountry Convenor Treason Felony Case
Although the #FixTheCountry campaigner Oliver Mawuse Barker-Vormawor had seen the interior of the courtroom countless times, this time, he was on a different adventure.
The police had decided to surprise the youth activist with a wonderful present on his arrival at the airport. A handcuff locked around the wrist was enough gesture on February 14.
He was arrested for a Facebook post said to incite a coup d’etat against the government.
Mr Barker-Vormawor had written on his wall that he would personally lead a coup d’etat in Ghana if the Electronic Transfer Levy, popularly known as E-levy, was passed by Parliament.
He was out of the jurisdiction when he penned the comments.
The private legal practitioner was subsequently arraigned before the Ashaiman District Court on Monday, February 14, on charges of treason felony.
The social media firebrand pleaded not guilty and is currently on bail of GH¢2 million.
Deputy Speaker Can Vote Brouhaha
On March 9, 2022, a matter of great controversy was brought before the Supreme Court of Ghana. A tussle between the Judiciary and the Legislature.
A suit filed by a private legal practitioner, Justice Abdullai, sought to challenge the constitutionality of the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, in counting himself as an MP when he presided over the passage of the 2022 budget on November 30, 2021.
The suit was filed at a time when there seemed to be growing incoherence in the decisions of Speaker Alban Bagbin and his First Deputy, Joseph Osei-Owusu.
Justice Abdullai believed that the 1992 Constitution did not allow a person presiding over proceedings in Parliament to have a casting vote or to be part of a quorum. A casting vote is an extra vote given by a chairperson to decide an issue when the votes on each side are equal.
His argument was based on Article 102 of the 1992 Constitution, which provides that “a quorum of Parliament, apart from the person presiding, shall be one-third of all Members of Parliament.
Article 104 (1) also provides that matters in Parliament shall be determined by votes of majority members present and voting, with at least half of all members of Parliament present.
He also cited Article 104 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, which stipulates that: “The Speaker shall have neither original nor casting vote.”
It was the case of Mr Abdulai that the First or Second Deputy Speakers of Parliament, when presiding, have the “same authority and mandate just like the Right Honourable Speaker” and therefore cannot vote or be part of the quorum.
But the apex court, in a unanimous decision, ruled that a deputy speaker can vote when acting in the capacity of a Speaker in Parliament.
The ruling on Wednesday, March 9, by a seven-member panel affirms the position of the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, that he did nothing wrong by voting to approve the 2022 budget in the Speaker’s absence.
Another issue that brought the entire nation to a standstill, with many calling the government insensitive for trying to introduce an electronic transfer levy in the face of glaring hardships.
Three NDC legislators — Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga and North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa — decided to take the fight back to the apex court.
The plaintiffs wanted the apex court to restrain the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) from implementing the new tax.
It was their case that millions of people would suffer irreparable harm if the E-Levy Act was not put on hold.
According to them, the GRA would be unable to reimburse the millions who would have paid the E-Levy, while the 1992 Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, would have been undermined.
Again, they raised concerns that Parliament did not have the right quorum to pass the E-Levy as stipulated under Article 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution, which the Supreme Court had recently interpreted.
But on May 4, 2022, the apex court tossed out their application, which left many wondering if it was the same Supreme Court panel that presided over the deputy speaker suit.
A seven-member panel of the apex court presided over by Justice Nene Amegatcher ruled that stopping the new E-Levy would be detrimental to the government.
“Greater hardships will be caused to the state in meeting its developmental obligation to the people. The balance of hardship tilt in favour of the respondent,” the court held.
It was the view of the court that an injunction on the E-Levy would deprive the government of needed revenue which would be lost for the period that the case will be in court.
Former PPA boss AB Adjei Corruption Case
On May 25, 2022, the Special Prosecutor slapped the former Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjenim Boateng Adjei, with 17 corruption-related charges.
Eight counts of using public office for profit and nine counts of directly and indirectly influencing the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage in the award of a procurement contract.
Adjenim Boateng Adjei was charged alongside his brother-in-law, Francis Kwaku Arhin, who has also been charged with one count of using public office for profit.
The two were arraigned before the Accra High Court, where they pleaded not guilty and were granted GH¢5 million with two sureties each.
Returnee Who Attempted To Use Daughter For Money Ritual Remanded
A 47-year-old businessman who spent years outside the country returned only to offer his daughter as a sacrificial lamb for money.
His 11-year-old daughter, who was oblivious to the plot, followed her father ‘sheepishly’ thinking her overseas father had returned with lots of goodies after spending years in a foreign land.
But Evans Kyekyeku Oppong was on a different mission.
He was arrested on June 3, 2022. He is believed to have returned from abroad and approached a herbalist to perform a blood sacrifice to make him rich.
He appeared before a District Court in Accra on Monday, June 6, 2022, where he was remanded upon the prosecution’s request.
The accused was charged with preparation to commit murder.
The case is still in court
Arise Ghana and the Police
After several attempts to stop a planned demonstration by a pressure group, Arise Ghana, the police sought the intervention of the court on the matter.
On June 27, 2022, the police administration filed an ex-parte motion at the Accra High Court over a planned demonstration by the pressure group.
A statement from the police said it had become necessary due to the lack of agreement between them and the organisers.
The group planned on picketing at the Jubilee House until the following day, June 28, but the police did not agree.
Also, they intended to start their protest at 3 pm and end at 10 pm, but the police were not in favour of the arrangement.
In the end, the court ruled that the protestors should only demonstrate between the hours of 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
The court also directed that the protest commences at the Obra Spot here in Accra and ends at Independence Square.
Aisha Huang and her ‘Galamseyers’
The year couldn’t have ended without a landmark case that will test the country’s judicial prowess.
On September 14, news of the Chinese Galamsey Queen Huang Ruixia, popularly known as Aisha Huang, resurfaced on the internet like a plague.
The 47-year-old Aisha Huang had not only entered the country but engaged in illegal mining.
She was deported from the country in 2018 after the state decided to discontinue her trial, in which she was accused of engaging in small-scale mining without a licence.
However, she was said to have sneaked back into the country to allegedly engage in the same activities.
The Attorney-General decided to prosecute her for the alleged crimes before her deportation and new ones committed since her return to the country.
It is the case of the prosecution that Huang had an illegal mining concession at Bepotenten in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region and also operated a mining support services company.
She has denied the charges levelled against her.
Aisha Huang was remanded into police custody when she made her first appearance at the Accra Circuit Court on September 14 this year.
The deported queen was charged with three others — Jong Li Hua, Huang Jei and Huiad Hiahu — for selling and purchasing minerals without a licence and mining without a licence.
The case is now before the Accra High Court with an amended charge.
Former Beige Capital CEO Michael Nyinaku
Talk of past sins catching up with you. The former Beige Bank Limited CEO, Michael Nyinaku, was dragged before the Accra High Court on November 6, 2022.
He was charged with 44 counts of money laundering, fraudulent breach of trust and stealing depositors’ money.
Per the facts, a review of the financial and other records of the bank conducted by the Receiver identified a number of suspicious and unusual transactions at Beige Capital.
The unusual transactions were subsequently reported to law enforcement agencies for investigations, and the same was revealed between 2015 and 2018.
Nyinaku, who was then the CEO of Beige Bank, had allegedly used various means to transfer huge sums of money to companies related to him and for his personal benefit.
It said the funds transferred were depositors’ funds lodged with the bank.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted a GH¢200m bail.
Beige Bank was one of the banks that collapsed after a massive clean-up of the financial institutions by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) starting in 2017.
NCA, AG In Court Over SIM Re-registration brouhaha
On October 1, 2022, nine persons dragged the National Communication Authority (NCA) to the High Court over its directives on SIM card reregistration.
The NCA had given an ultimatum to mobile phone subscribers to re-register their phone numbers or risk having the numbers blocked by telecommunication companies.
The nine persons subsequently filed an application for judicial review of the Mobile Phone Sim Card re-registration directives describing it (the directives) as punitive.
The applicants wanted the court to issue an order of interlocutory injunction restraining their agent, workmen, contractors’ sub-contractors, and associates deriving authority through the NCA from imposing any punitive measure/ sanctions, including deactivating, restricting, churning and or in any way or limiting them from using the mobile phone sims and network services until the final determination of the case.
According to the applicants, NCA acted beyond its jurisdiction when it issued the punitive directives requiring them to re-register their mobile phone sim with the Ghana Card as the only identity document on or before September 30.
In a writ filed on September 26, 2022, the nine applicants, who are customers of MTN, Airteltigo, and Vodafone, said they had applied for Ghana cards between 2020 through 2022 but were yet to receive them.
The applicants are Belynda Odey Hammond, Jennifer Elorm Dzikunu, Charity Mansah Afua N. Ackotia, Nsor Sabasi, Josephine Annor Prempeh, Vida Delacy Kemovor, Regina Elikplim Dagadu, Irene Ayariga and Tracy Ashong.
But the concerns raised by the applicants failed to move the court to rule in their favour.
On November 21, 2022, the Accra High Court ruled in favour of the National Communications Authority (NCA).
On October 20, an Accra Circuit Court ordered the arrest of Kofi Owusu Hene, aka Kofi Kapito, Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Protection Agency, for failing to appear before it.
Kofi Kapito, who is standing trial before the Court, failed to turn up in court when the matter was called.
The CEO of CPA was being held on the charges of deprivation of the use of the property of a deceased person, engaging in domestic violence, economic abuse, and causing unlawful damage.
The CEO of CPA was alleged to have deprived his late brother’s wife of a house the couple had jointly acquired at Ogbojo and threatened to dispose of the said property, which the wife of his late brother was contesting.
He denied all the charges and is currently on bail.
Agradaa’s Court Hurdles
Self-styled evangelist, Patricia Asiedua, popularly known as Agradaa, has become a regular patron of Ghana’s court.
In October this year, the founder of Heaven Way Champion Ministries International was slapped with new charges by the state.
She was charged with charlatanic advertisement (Sika Gari) and five counts of defrauding by false pretence by an Accra Circuit Court.
She was arrested on Sunday, October 9, for allegedly scamming some church members.
Some victims said they went to the church of Nana Agradaa as she advertised on her TV programme that she would be doubling money during Friday’s all-night service.
Based on this assurance, the affected worshippers said they were convinced to give her various sums in expectation of multiplied outcomes.
The fetish priestess-turned-evangelist pleaded not guilty and was granted a GH¢50k bail.
Sosu’s Traffic Offence Case
On November 4, 2022, Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu, was convicted and fined for reckless and inconsiderate driving.
The legislator, who was reportedly driving in the middle of the road around the Airport area in his vehicle with registration number GB-9776-21 with no regard for pedestrians and other road users, was fined GH₵2400.
The police impounded the vehicle, and he was arraigned before the La District Court on the charges of reckless and inconsiderate driving, driving in the middle of the road facing oncoming traffic and causing danger to other road users.
He paid his fine, and the issue died naturally.
McBrown and Her United Showbiz Members
On December 6, 2022, Nana Ama McBrown and five others received an advance Christmas gift from the court.
McBrown, Fadda Dickson Narh, Valentina Nana Agyeiwaa, alias Afia Schwarzenegger, Kwame Asare Obeng, alias Kwame A Plus and Emmanuel Barnes alias Mr Logic were fined after being cited for contempt.
The five of them, together with UTV, were cited for contempt based on a discussion programme they held on the United Showbiz show and discussed the merits of a defamation suit pending in court.
It was about a case filed by Bernard Antwi Boasiako, also known as Chairman Wontumi.
All five appear to have learnt their lesson. However, Afia Schwarzenegger, who was out of the country at the time, is yet to bury the hatchet. In her case, she was sentenced to 10 days in prison, but she wrote a letter apologising to the court for her utterances.