An Accra High Court has dismissed an application for Judicial Review in the form of certiorari filed by a former Board member of Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC), Dr. Valerie Sawyerr seeking to quash the findings of Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) into the accounts of the state-owned company.
According to the court, EOCO had given her an opportunity to be heard via a letter of invitation hence cannot complain that she was denied her natural justice.
Her suit against EOCO and the Attorney General was borne out of a government sanctioned forensic audit last year which revealed that the acquisition of helicopters worth over $100 million by Ghana Gas Company caused financial loss to the state because the choppers were never utilized.
The four Z-9EH helicopters bought from China for surveillance by Ghana Gas during the Mahama NDC administration at the total cost of $100 million ($25m each) was commissioned by then President John Mahama in September 2015.
According to the forensic audit report, “The helicopters purchased from China National Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) have never been used for the purpose of its purchase, causing the state to lose $54,800,000”.
Dr. Sawyerr who was a former Deputy Chief of Staff under the Mahama administration then applied to an Accra High Court for a “a declaration that the audit report which implicated me, as a former board member of Ghana National Gas Company Limited, was done in breach of my right to administrative justice and my right to a fair hearing”.
Her suit was also seeking an order of Certiorari for the forensic audit report by EOCO which implicated her and the other board members to be brought before the court for it to be quashed.
Dr. Sawyerr also wanted the court to stop the security agencies from inviting her for questioning since, in her opinion, such invitations are a form of “harassment.”
But the Attorney General in a response to the suit on behalf of EOCO described the application as “completely frivolous and borne out of an improper appreciation of the law regarding the various subject matters.”
The response signed by Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, Dr. Sawyerr’s application could not pinpoint any adverse decision taken by EOCO or the AG’s Office which she is seeking the court to quash.
Again, the Deputy AG avers that Valerie Sawyerr in her application kept referring to an audit reports throughout, yet was unable to provide the court with that audit report.
“The court, without seeing the Audit Report in question, cannot quash same. The duty to file same is placed by the rules on the applicant before filing his application”, Deputy Attorney General averred.
The court in its ruling held that the audit report prepared by Morrison & Associates was part of the process of investigations and it was submitted to EOCO for further investigations.
The court held that EOCO ought to accord her a hearing and indeed did so by sending her an invitation which the plaintiff exhibited in her application.
It was the opinion of the court that had EOCO proceeded to impose sanctions on her without giving her a hearing, she could then have complained about denial of natural justice.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak