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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Asabee and wife sue BNI

Asamoah Boateng Wife

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Zuleika Jennifer Lawua aka Zuleika Asamoah Boateng, wife of the former Minister of Information, Asamoah Boateng, and her family have dragged the Attorney-General and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to an Accra Human Rights Court in connection with violations of their human rights.

The wife of Asamoah Boateng, who is suing the state with her husband and two kids, Thursday appeared in court accompanied by her husband and some New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament as well as a few friends and relatives but without the kids.

It would be recalled that the former Minister, popularly called Asabee, and his family were stopped from traveling by some BNI officers who seized his passport when they were about to board a flight to London at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

Zuleika was put before an Accra Circuit Court for snatching back the passport of her husband which was confiscated by the BNI officer who was said to be acting under instructions, and had been ordered to surrender her passport after she was granted a GH¢50,000 bail.

Yesterday when the matter was called in a court presided over by Justice A. Derry, Mr. Eley Agbemava, a representative of the Attorney-General, raised an objection to the hearing of a motion by the applicants, saying there was another suit pending which had not been formally withdrawn except that a few minutes earlier, counsel for the applicants, Asabee and his family, informed the court verbally that that suit had been withdrawn.

He indicated that in instances where a case is withdrawn by writing, the A-G should be given 21 days within which to respond; and said he did not know how come the suit was rushed to court for hearing when the procedure was not followed.

Mr. Patrick Okudzeto, counsel for the applicants, said it was normally clerks who filed court documents, and noted that the Registrar who gave the date for hearing might not have taken particular notice of the nature of it.

He added that the court could exercise its discretion by overlooking the fundamental errors.

However, Mr. Agemava prayed the court to strike the motion out to maintain the sanctity of the court, adding that the proper thing must be done. He stressed that unless they were formally served in writing, it would be taken to mean they were not served.

The judge said he would not dismiss the motion, but adjourned it sine die for the right thing to be done.

In a related development, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Weija, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, has also sued the A-G and the National Security Coordinator over the alleged unlawful arrest of her driver as well as the seizure of her car, a Peugeot 406, over the weekend.

She and her driver were later released after they were not told their offence but had their statements taken on why the vehicle did not have insurance and road worthy certificate.

Ms Botchway, the former Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, told the National Security Operatives who impounded the vehicle that before leaving office, she opted for a government policy that allowed the administrative staff to purchase their official vehicles which were two years or more old.

She said later, there was an order from the present administration that all former government officers who purchased vehicles should go ahead with the change of ownership which is a prerequisite for acquiring road worthy certificate and insurance cover, and that information was given to the former Chief of Staff, Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani to tell all former government appointees, just before the car was seized.

The case has been adjourned sine die.

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