By Joyce Danso
Accra, March 13, GNA- An Accra High Court has ordered the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to file its statement of case within 14 days in its legal tussle with Charles Bissue, former Secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).
This was after the OSP had failed for the second time to file its statement of the case in a suit filed by Charles Bissue against it.
Counsel for the OSP, Isidore Tuffour prayed for the court to grant him ample time to prepare and file the statement of the case citing the office was handicapped in respect of resources in managing legal matters.
According to Isidore Tuffour, he had just been appointed by the OSP to represent it in this matter owing to some constraints the office is facing.
“I have just been appointed to fill that void,” he told the court.
At the Court today, Counsel for the plaintiff [Charles Bissue], Nana Agyei Baffour Awuah said the 1st Defendant’s (OSP) excuse was not tenable.
Counsel for the Plaintiff said the failure of the OSP to file its statement of the case over the past two months “smacks of a deficit in candour.”
“At no point has the first Defendant not been represented by Counsel in this matter before his appointment. Counsel was coming to the court to represent the 1st Defendant, knowing they could prosecute this matter.
Indeed, the Special Prosecutor himself is a lawyer, so coming to the court to say you have not been able to file your statement of the case over the two months since this matter was instituted, smacks of a deficit in the candour of the 1st Defendant’s office,” he added.
Baffour Awuah, however, admitted on grounds of satisfying legal protocols and in the interest of justice, that an adjournment is considered to enable the OSP to file its statement of the case.
Additionally, Plaintiff’s counsel the OSP has resorted to using the ongoing judicial process in respect of its prosecution of the former Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Development Authority (NDA) and others, as an excuse for its failures.
He prayed the court grants the Plaintiff a chance to file a reply to the case’s statement filed by the 1st Defendant.
Justice Olivia Obeng Owusu, who presided adjourned to April 17, 2023, to enable the OSP to file his statement of the case.
Charles Bissue who earlier filed an application on December 23, 2022, and subsequently amended the application on January 4, 2023, to restrain the OSP from investigating and prosecuting him over allegations made by Anas Aremeyaw Anas in a corruption documentary; “Galamsey Fraud” that was published in February 2019.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his private investigative firm, Tiger Eye P.I were joined to the suit as 2nd and 3rd Defendant, respectively.
Mr Bissue argued among others that, an attempt to investigate the matter would amount to a review of an investigation long concluded by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service.
Subsequently, and through his lawyers, a supplementary application was filed against the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Adjabeng, over a conflict of interest and bias in this case.
The OSP filed a conditional appearance and affidavit in opposition to the application on January 11, 2023, arguing the case be struck out.
With this, it was expected of the OSP to file a statement within 14 days (about 2 weeks) after filing the conditional appearance. But this was never pursued by the OSP.
On January 24, 2023, Counsel for the OSP told the court they were finalizing their statement of the case, and as such pleaded for more time to respond appropriately. It was with this plea the court granted an adjournment to 13 March 2023 hoping to be furnished with the statement of the case to enable it to advance the matter.