Suspended First Vice Chairman of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Sammy Crabbe, has served notice he would appeal against the dismissal of his suit by a High Court Judge in a case in which he prayed the court to nullify the suspension, which he insists, was unconstitutional.
An Accra High Court on Thursday, June 2, dismissed Sammy Crabbe’s suit. According to the judge, Justice Sir Dennis Adjei, the National Disciplinary Committee of the NPP has jurisdiction to hear and punish anyone found to have breached the party’s rules.
Suspended National Chairman of the Party, Paul Afoko, testified on behalf of the plaintiff after questions were raised by Sammy Crabbe’s lawyers over the capacity of one of the disciplinary committee members, Gifty Kusi.
Sammy Crabbe dragged the NPP to court months after his suspension by the party’s National Executive Council (NEC), citing the violation of the rules of natural justice, error on the face of the records and a breach of procedure.
Mr. Crabbe was suspended indefinitely in 2015, alongside the party’s General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong.
The suspension of the two came after the suspension of the National Chairman, Paul Afoko. They were suspended for “misconduct” which included a disregard for party structures.
Mr. Crabbe, who is perceived as an ally to the suspended Paul Afoko, refused to appear before the NPP’s disciplinary committee after several invitations before his suspension.
But speaking on Citi Eyewitness News today [Thursday], Mr. Crabbe said he disagreed with the Judge’s ruling and is consulting his lawyers to file an appeal.
“Basically, I disagree with the Judge, so I shall appeal on the grounds that I pointed to the fact that as an elected officer if anybody had any petition against me, Article 43 (D) states very clearly that the person has to go to the national council and not the national disciplinary committee. Nobody is above discipline in the party, but processes have to be followed. And I don’t think he ruled on that. There are other things I disagree with him so my lawyers will look at that and we will go on.”
On the Judge’s suggestion that he failed to exhaust internal redress mechanisms adequately before heading for the court, Mr. Crabbe said, “I see it very differently because in one of the defences of the party they said that the NPP is a private organisation, and when something is happening in it no court can interfere. But the court ruled against that by saying they could not hide behind a private organisation and undermine the rights of people and that I can always come to court to look at the issues.”
He further explained that “But I am saying that, there was one issue in my view they never ruled on, and I want to seek further clarification on that because the disciplinary committee has no jurisdiction over an elected officer. Elected officers in the party enjoy a certain degree of security of their tenure. It’s very important to their motivation and I believe that is under threat so that’s what I am going for. Others are saying that I went to seek reinstatement as a suspended officer; which is not so because I don’t even recognise that so-called suspension because they don’t even have jurisdiction to do that.”
Mr. Crabbe said it was a misconception for people to think that his court action is merely to distract the party’s campaign with barely six months to the election in November.
“I never said I was above the law. I only said if you have something against me don’t take it to the disciplinary committee. There are reports I turned down several invitations from the committee, but it was just once that they wrote to me, and I wrote back to them that I am sorry and cannot appear before them because per the constitution they did not have that power. The judge did not handle those two things; I find it strange, and I want to find out why. So I have the right to appeal, and I shall go on until I get my justice.”
Mr. Crabbe noted that “It sounds like somebody making a point that when we (NPP) took President Mahama to court, our attention was to disrupt Ghana; that’s not the issue. When you go to court, it’s not because you are notorious. We don’t have to paint people who subject themselves to court processes as devilish. We go to court to get certain things to be unravelled. My intention is not to scatter the party’s efforts but to strengthen our efforts. Otherwise, if I can be elected and people can get rid of me not using due process, then I will not put myself up for election. And excuse me to say, if people of substance do not put themselves up for election, naysayers and sycophants will do so, and it’s going to weaken the NPP.”