General News of 2014-02-18

Egbert Faibille threatens to cite National Security for contempt

The demolition of a tollbooth under construction at the University of Ghana by National Security officials is unlawful and must be condemned, legal practitioner Egbert Faibille has said.
According to him, the national security has no right to enter into the property of a semi-autonomous institution, albeit a public one, and pull down structures without a court order.
He said National Security Coordinator, Col. (rtd.) Larry Gbevlo Lartey who has justified the demolition may be sued.
National Security operatives Monday night pulled down a tollbooth being erected by the University of Ghana to collect road tolls from motorists entering the university.
Col. Gbevlo Lartey said the university authorities have no right to put up the tollbooth at the Okponglo section of the road leading to the university campus.
"The next time they put another block there we will go and remove it; that structure cannot be there! He said.
Mr. Gbevlo Lartey rejected suggestions that he ought to have consulted the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ernest Aryittey, before embarking on the demolition exercise.
"I don't have to speak to Vice Chancellor about this exercise; that structure is in Ghana...I won't go and bother the vice chancellor about this...we are dealing completely with the head of security," he stated.
But Egbert Faibille, who is lawyer for two students suing the university for instituting road tolls on the campus, said the action by the National Security operatives is arbitrary and an anathema to the rule of law.
“Pursuant to what law [did National Security break down the tollbooth]”? He asked.
“What aspect of national security operations say that when there is traffic on an ordinary course of road it has national security implications and National Security can just go in and pull structures down”? He demanded.
He argued that to the extent that the construction of the tollbooth was connected to the collection of the tolls which is the subject of a court case, pulling down the tollbooth touches upon his clients’ case.
The conduct of National Security and the Coordinator, Gbevlo Lartey, must consequently be brought to court for a pronouncement on its legality or otherwise, he submitted.