Ghana was yesterday fined $750 by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court sitting in Accra, in a case concerning the Agyapa deal.
A three-member panel of the Court presided over by Justice Edward Amoako Asante, who doubles as a Court of Appeal Judge in Ghana, awarded the cost against Ghana for failing to file a response to a suit against Ghana.
Two anti-corruption institutions: Transparency International, Ghana Integrity Initiative and Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, sued Ghana Government over the Agyapa deal.
The plaintiffs wanted the Court to compel the government of Ghana to give clarity to the deal in which the government sought to explore the country’s gold reserve.
Appearing before the panel, Dorothy Afriyie Ansah, a Senior State Attorney asked the court for time to respond to the suit.
She said that although Ghana filed its rejoinder to the application out of time, the office of the Attorney-General (AG) would need more time to respond to the applicants’ reply.
Ms Ansah explained that the reason the AG filed its first response out of time was that she (State Attorney) had been unwell since the case was assigned to her.
However, counsel for the applicants, Mr Olumide Babalola, said their reply to AG’s defence was as far back in July last year.
According to him, there was nothing to respond to by the AG, and if it would be obliged time to file, applicants would need a cost of $1000.
After listening to both parties, the Court awarded $750 as cost against Ghana and ordered the AG to file its response by Monday, March 28.
The ECOWAS Court session was launched at the Court Complex, in Accra, on Monday, by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The ECOWAS court would conduct proceedings for 11 days thus from March 21-April 1, during which it would hear 60 cases and deliver judgements.
This is the first time the ECOWAS Court is conducting proceedings in Ghana since it was established in 2007.
The court has delivered a number of judgements, but there had been concerns about ECOWAS member states refusal to abide by the decisions of the court and in some cases, member states that enforces the judgement and rulings of the Court, does so at their own convenience.
President Akufo-Addo on Monday lamented that only 13 per cent of the court’s decision were enforced by member states and appealed to governments within the West African sub-region to desist from selective enforcement of the court’s decisions.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA