The Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Court) has rejected a motion by three judges from Ghana seeking to stop an ongoing disciplinary procedure against them by the government of Ghana.
Justices Paul Uuter Dery, Mustapha Habib Logoh and Gilbert Ayisi Addo had said the motion was urgent because the Ghanian government has taken three administrative steps, including requesting them to appear before a disciplinary committee, despite the 25th May 2018 order of the ECOWAS Court, asking the government to suspend further action on the matter until the ruling on the motion.
The court’s spokesperson, Mrs. Elohor Ovadje said a three-man panel of the court, led by Justice Gberi-Be Ouattara refused the motion in a ruling.
Ovadje said the court was of the view that it could not establish the grounds for urgency or the irreparable loss that could be suffered by the applicants if the motion was denied.
The court, she added, adjourned to January 23, 2019 for the hearing of the substantive suit.
In the suit marked: ECW/CCJ/APP/42/16, filed by the judges’ lawyer, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, the applicants alleged the violation of their fundamental human rights by the government of Ghana following the suspension of some of their allowances and the payment of half of their salary, because of an ongoing disciplinary procedure against them initiated by the country’s judicial council.
The action of the Judicial Council of Ghana is on account of a petition to the President of the Republic of Ghana based on an investigative report by a journalist, Tiger Eye PI on the 10th September seeking their removal from office on grounds of audio-visual evidence and transcripts, various discussions and other acts that allegedly took place between the petitioner, the judges concerned and court staff which the petitioner produced in support of the petition as evidence.
The applicants said they challenged the petition by instituting various actions in the courts, but that the Supreme Court of Ghana, while agreeing with the applicants that the petitioner is not a company registered in accordance with the laws of Ghana as it claimed, went ahead to endorse the decisions of the Judicial council.
They stated that the state of Ghana has violated their rights to fair hearing and administrative justice, equality before the law and freedom from discrimination, privacy and work including the action of the council, in paying them half of their monthly salaries, the suspension of their allowances and the constitution of a panel to investigate them.
They argued that these actions constituted an attempt by the state of Ghana to unlawfully and unfairly deprive them of their employment and right to work.
They urged the court to issue the following orders:
*An order prohibiting the State of Ghana from continuing with the impeachment and investigation of the applicants
*An order asking Ghana to pay with interests the salaries and allowances of the applicants unlawfully suspended since January 2016 as well as the payment of compensatory damages and costs of legal fees on full indemnity basis.