How Supreme Court Justices lambasted Barker-Vormawor

Oliver Barker Vormawor 11 Oliver Barker-Vormawor

Wed, 13 Jul 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

When Oliver Barker-Vormawor, one of the convenors of the #FixTheCountry movement appeared before the Justices of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, he was asked by the court to pay an amount of GHC10,000.

His case, which he had filed at the court was also dismissed.

The court said, the application was “frivolous”, “vexatious” and it found “no merit in it” because the Justices were dissatisfied with the standards of processes filed, as well as the quality of Baker-Vormavor’s legal representation.

The vociferous convenor was a lawyer on the record for a group calling itself Democratic Accountability Lab in a matter before the court, seeking to commit the Commissioner-General, Ghana Revenue Authority, and the Ghana Revenue Authority itself, to contempt for the May 1, 2022, implementation of the controversial E-Levy.

The group through their lawyer told the court that, the action had the effect of exposing the court to ridicule.

Here is a narration of what transpired at the Supreme Court:

The Justices on the panel included; Nene Amegatcher as President, Prof Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Gertrude Torkonoo, Prof Henrietta Mensah Bonsu and Emmanuel Yoni Kulendi.

When Oliver Barker-Vormawor announced himself, a barrage of questions engulfed him, ranging from standard practises, through a procedure to substantive law, including precedent (decided cases).

President of the 7-member Court, Nene Amegatcher, quizzed him on the propriety of the title of the case brought before the court.

He also asked why the charge was not directed at any specific officer of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) because the whole entity cannot be cited for contempt.

The Supreme Court Justices demanded the legal basis upon which he sought to appear before them, and to commit the public official and institution “to prison”.

On his part, Emmanuel Yoni Kulendi, JSC, stated, “we are a court of law, not an NGO. What we want is your legal authority, not your opinion and speeches”.

Prof. Mensah-Bonsu, JSC indicated that Barker-Vomarvor came “as an officious bystander”.

“You cannot be an outsider who weeps louder than the bereaved. So we want to hear you on the law and the authorities”, she added.

Reeling under the weight and heat of the blast, Barker-Vomarvor sought refuge under a 1976 High Court decision in Okine v. Mawu & Another.

He said the case was on the basis that, a contempt application may be brought by even a stranger.

Justice Lovelace Johnson then pushed for the facts of this authority and the exact holding of the Court. Lord Professor Ashie Kotei was asking why a 1976 High Court decision was being used to argue a case in 2022 at the Supreme Court.

The Court which was not convinced, then said it did “not think we should call on counsel for the second respondent to respond, the applicant in our view has no locus in this matter.

“The application itself,” the Court said, “is defective and does not measure up to the practice of instituting origination notice of motions in this court.”

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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