An application by suspended Second Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Sammy Crabbe, challenging his suspension was yesterday dismissed by an Accra Human Rights High Court.
However, Mr. Crabbe in an interview with The Ghanaian Times, said he would appeal the judgement and go up to the Supreme Court.
The court, presided over by an Appeal Court Judge, Justice Dennis Adjei who was sitting as an additional High Court judge, said the application had failed in its entirety and, accordingly, dismissed it.
“The application fails in its entirety and dismissed as unmeritorious,” the judge said.
He said the grounds of Mr. Crabbe’s application that he was not given a fair hearing could not be upheld , because he failed to appear before the Disciplinary Committee, explaining that due to his position as the second Vice Chairman, the Disciplinary Committee does not have the capacity to sit on a case involving him.
The Judge said, Mr. Crabbe was given the opportunity to be heard, but he declined.
On the contention of Mr. Crabbe that Gifty Kusi’s membership on the Disciplinary Committee was improper, the judge said, looking at the party’s constitution of who could be a member of the committee; it affords the various groups to elect their representatives, adding that in the case of Gifty, the Parliamentary Committee elected her, which was later communicated in a form of letter to the party, by the Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu.
The Judge added that the provision is clear in plain terms and not ambiguous.
He further stated that the argument that she was not properly sworn in cannot hold because there was no provision describing how someone should be sworn in, adding that there were no infractions.
However, the court overruled an objection by the lawyer of the NPP, Godfred Yeboah Dame that Mr. Crabbe did not resort to internal mechanism and that the disciplinary committee was not amenable.
Justice Adjei said that though the party was a private organisation with its constitution, so far as there was a breach of natural justice, the plaintiff was at liberty to resort to the court, adding that the High Court was the only forum with jurisdiction over such matters.
He also added that since the committee was a quasi-judicial body which took a decision that affected someone’s right, they were amenable and must act reasonably within the law.
The suspended Second National Vice-Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Crabbe, had sued the party for suspending him indefinitely.
According to him, the National Disciplinary Committee lacked jurisdiction to have recommended his suspension, adding that the National Executive Committee had no jurisdiction to have affirmed the said decision to suspend him, let alone indefinitely.
The application which was filed on behalf of Mr. Crabbe by his lawyer, Mr. Ekow Ampah Korsah, indicated that by virtue of the fact that the disciplinary committee was improperly constituted; the entire proceedings which led to the suspension of his client were void and invalid.
“Since there is no written notice for the Applicant’s removal from office, in consonance with Article 10 (4) of the NPP Constitution, the Disciplinary Committee lacked jurisdiction to have recommended the Applicant’s suspension and the National Executive Committee had no jurisdiction to have affirmed the said decision to suspend the Applicant let alone indefinitely”, he stated.
He, therefore, prayed the court that on the basis of the grounds argued for lack of, or excess of jurisdiction, procedural irregularity and breach of the rules of natural justice, it is submitted that the decision of the National Disciplinary Committee, dated December 2, 2015 and endorsed by the National Executive Committee on December 10, 2015 be quashed.
Mr. Crabbe was suspended after he refused to appear before the disciplinary committee after several invitations.
By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme