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Supreme Court dismisses National Cathedral suit against Akufo-Addo

Source The Ghana Report

The Supreme Court has dismissed a contempt application filed against President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over the construction of the National Cathedral.

The  seven-member panel, chaired by Justice Jones Dotse, while dismissing the application said the President is immune from both criminal and civil actions as stipulated by Article 57 (4 and 5).

A private citizen, Jonathan Holm, filed the suit challenging the constitutionality and the President’s right to use state lands to build a cathedral as a private vow.

The applicant was seeking to flaw President Akufo-Addo over his decision to build a national cathedral to fulfill a private pledge.

It is the case of the applicants that the use of the state land to build a National Cathedral, is unconstitutional because it does not address the primary concern of the general public.

Counsel for the applicant, Bright Akwetey, while making his case said although the constitution as per Article 57 stipulates that legal action cannot be taken against President while he is in office, the President can be sued when he is personally liable for the crime.

Akwetey said the decision by the President to take with force state land to fulfill a personal promise he made to God, offends the various Constitutions dating back to 1967.

According to him when the President deliberately commits a crime, he is open to legal action and, therefore, prayed the court to commit the President for contempt.

Dorothy Afriyie Ansah, a Chief State Attorney, standing up for the defence, earlier raised a preliminary objection saying the President is immune from both criminal and civil actions as per article 57 (4 and 5) as a sitting President.

She argued that the President can be only sued three years after leaving office. The Chief State Attorney, however, prayed the court to dismiss the application.

Giving the ruling, the court explained that the same constitution while giving the president immunity also prescribed a solution on how to deal with the President which is impeachment.

The court, therefore, described the application as incompetent and one that has no merit for whatsoever.

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