An Accra High Court Presided over by Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, Justice Henry Kwofie, has dismissed three separate motions filed by lawyers of the first three accused persons in the case of the Republic verses Ernest Thompson and four others, seeking to strike out charges against their clients or in the alternative, praying the Court for an order directed at State Prosecutors to provide their clients with details of the charges preferred against them.
Argument by Defence Lawyers
Lawyers for the three accused persons, Ernest Thompson, John Hagan Mensah and Juliet Hassana Kramer, On 22nd March 2019, moved their various applications arguing that the charges leveled against their clients were unconstitutional as they were in breached article 19(2)(d) and (11) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. They also claimed that the charges did not contain detailed particulars as required by section 112(1) of the Criminal And Other Offences ( Procedure) Act – 1960 (Act 30).
State Prosecutors in their opposing argument to the motions indicated that the accused persons are re-arguing issues that have already been determined by the Supreme Court in decided cases. They asked the Court to dismiss the applications to pave way for the trial at the High Court to resume.
The State On the 24th of July 2017, levelled criminal charges against the former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson and four others, over a controversial $72 million Operating Business Suite (OBS) contract awarded to Perfect Business Solutions. The 29 charges preferred against the five individuals included conspiracy to wilfully cause financial loss to the state, willfully causing financial to the state, defrauding by false pretense, contravention of Public Procurement Act, possession of forged documents, as well as authoring forged documents.
Justice Henry Kwofie, Court in its ruling on the 16th of April 2019, dismissed all three applications. He explained in his ruling that the issues raised by the defence border on issues that have already been determined by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The Court future held that the charges preferred against the accused persons contained particulars necessary to give the applicants [the accused persons] reasonable information as to the nature of the charges against them. The court future ruled that to accede to the request of the defence lawyers would amount to compelling State Prosecutors to provide evidence on the charge sheet even before the actual trial commenced. Based on these arguments, the Court dismissed the three motions and has adjourned sitting to the 7th of May 2019 for the trial of the substantive case to resume.