Suspended national chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Paul Afoko on Friday admitted that the National Council of the party dismissed all the grounds of appeal he presented to it after he had been suspended by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party.
He however, insisted that there was no evidence that all the members of the council that took part in the process to affirm his suspension were “qualified voting members” of the council but said he could not identify or specifically mention those he considered to be unqualified.
Mr. Afoko has sued the NPP and its acting national chairman, Freddie Blay – who was the first national vice chairman at the time he (Afoko) was suspended indefinitely in October last year by the party.
The party’s Disciplinary Committee (DC) had recommended his suspension after a petition by two members; and Mr. Afoko wants the court to order his re-instatement as the national chairman because he argues that the party’s action was unconstitutional.
Concluding his cross-examination last week at the Human Rights Court Two, Accra, presided over by Justice Anthony Yeboah, Mr. Afoko told the packed court that the thrust of his case was that he was seeking to attack the original decision taken by the Disciplinary Committee to suspend him as chairman of the NPP.
This was in response to a question by NPP lead counsel, Godfred Yeboah Dame, as to the nature of his action, since his appeal to the National Council was dismissed by the council.
Counsel: So with your appeal to the National Council having been dismissed by that body, tell us, is this case of yours an appeal against the National Council decision, or what is it?
“Objection!” Mr. Afoko’s lawyer, Osafo Buabeng, yelled, insisting that the question was ultimately going to be decided by the court and said it was up to the court to decide the propriety of the question.
Mr Godfred Dame in a reaction to the objection, stated that every issue before the court would ultimately have to be decided by the court, but that did not preclude counsel from asking questions on them. For instance, the issue as to whether Gifty Eugenia Kusi, Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa Nsuaem, was validly appointed would have to be determined by the court, but evidence was being led on same.
Justice Anthony Yeboah then said it was a fair question from the NPP lawyer and when Mr. Afoko was asked to proceed with his answer, he said, “The reliefs I seek have been clearly laid out.”
The witness’ answer compelled the judge to tell Mr. Afoko not to be ‘evasive’ and went ahead to ask him if he (Mr. Afoko) still wanted to maintain that question as an answer.
Mr. Afoko then indicated that he had a change of mind and told the court to “delete” that portion of the evidence.
He then said, “My case is on the original decision by the Disciplinary Committee to exercise the jurisdiction which has not been properly invoked on all the subsequent action and decision flowing from that.”
Counsel: When you filed an appeal to the National Council you did so under Article 4 Clause 6 Paragraph C of the NPP constitution (page 16). Is that Correct?
Afoko: That is correct except to add that under the same Article and clause I was even refused the leeway as prescribed in the constitution. I was given a letter summarily and immediately suspending me without any recourse to this clause.
Counsel: In coming under that provision, did you see that the decision of the National Council shall be final and binding on all parties?
Afoko: Yes, I have seen. I hasten to add that the NPP constitution does not supersede the national constitution of Ghana.
Grounds Of Appeal
Mr. Afoko told the court that not all the members of the National Council who decided on his appeal from the NEC decision to suspend him were qualified to vote at that meeting.
Counsel: Indicate to the court which member of the National Council was not qualified to participate in the decision taken to dismiss your appeal
Afoko: I cannot identify which members are not qualified as voting members of the council because I don’t have the records of minutes of attendees.
Counsel: I put it to you that your claim that certain persons took part in the decision to dismiss your appeal but were not qualified to do so, is merely a conjecture and speculative.
Afoko: No, I say this based on the fact that the National Council has got voting and non-voting members.
Witness said that he could not tell whether the National Council was able to deliberate on all the issues raised in his petition and whether they also took into consideration how Gifty Eugenia Kusi became a member of the Disciplinary Committee.
He insisted that the council turned down his petition which was that the NEC had behaved unconstitutionally and that it was against the rules of natural justice.
Sitting continues on June 13, when Mr. Afoko is expected to present his next witness.
Source: Daily Guide