15
General News Thu, 24 May 2012

Two ‘Jake Bungalow’ Judges Are NPP - Akume

The drama surrounding the purchase of the government bungalow once occupied by Mr Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, former Chief of Staff and Minister of State under the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, is showing no sign of ending soon, as new facts are emerging about the partisan stand of two of the Supreme Court Justices who sat on the case, whilst a new prospective buyer popped up on Wednesday following last Tuesday’s decision by the Supreme Court’s majority decision that the way the state property was sold to the former top government official and member of cabinet in the then government was proper. Mr. Chris Akume, a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) legal team, has said that two of the justices who adjudicated the case are NPP members. Without mentioning names, Mr Akume alleged that one of the nine judges is an NPP regional chairman while the other, with whom he worked in the past at the Internal Revenue Service (IRC), has never hidden his NPP colours. He said the plaintiffs should have objected to the inclusion of the two ‘NPP Judges’ to sit on the case.

An aide to President John Evans Atta Mills, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, announced his decision to purchase the said bungalow, stating that he is aware that the purchase agreement between Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and the state was revoked when the Mills-led NDC government took over power from the NPP in 2009. He said as far as he is concerned, that means that the property has reverted to the state and duly owned by the people of Ghana. Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey, who is the current national chairman of the NPP, claims he bought the state bungalow, which he previously occupied as a government official.

The former top government official, who apart from being chief of staff, held several cabinet positions in the President John Agyekum Kufuor regime, was hauled to court by Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Hon. Omane Boamah in 2008. The two men, who are now deputy ministers of state in the NDC government, prayed the court to stop the NPP chairman from ‘grabbing’ the state property. They accused him of abuse of office, corruption and conflict of interest. The court, however, by a majority 6 : 3 decision on Tuesday, threw out the case, saying the plaintiffs failed to prove allegations of corruption and conflict of interest against him.

Mr Nii Lante Vanderpuye argues that since the ownership of the bungalow in question does not reside in the NPP chairman, following the revocation of the agreement, and also being the current occupant, he reserves the first right to purchase the bungalow if the state is still interested in selling it under the Redevelopment Policy, which Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey took advantage of to ‘grab’ it and which method of disposal by the NPP government was endorsed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Jake however said after the court ruling that he owns the bungalow and will take steps to take it back from the state for his private use, an indication of another round of showdown between Jake and Nii Lante. It would be remembered that Jake refused to shake Nii Lante at the political parties peace match held at the Accra Sports Stadium a fortnight ago.

Source: The Catalyst Newspaper