Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) on Friday, appeared before an Accra Fast Track High Court to have his application for stay of proceedings and stay of execution of the contempt proceedings against him pending the final determination of appeal heard.

Selina Fenteng, counsel for Mr. Vanderpuije prayed the court, presided over by Justice Peter Dei-Ofei to compel the Advertisers Association of Ghana (AAG) to tell them which law they intend to use to raise legal points.

She said the AAG, which filed the contempt case with Lead Advertising Company against her client, should not spring any surprise on them, but should tell them which law they intend to use to raise the points.

Counsel for the AAG and Lead Advertising, George Ankomah-Mensah told the court that the AMA has no grounds under the law to file these applications because it is alien to the laws of Ghana.

He said they cannot be asking for two reliefs and noted that the application could not be remedied in such a case.

According to the counsel for the advertisers, the AMA can only ask for one relief.

The judge has adjourned the case to July 27 for Mrs. Fenteng to respond to the issues raised by the AAG.

At the last hearing, the AMA lawyer indicated to the court that the AMA boss had filed an application to stay the contempt case against him pending appeal.

This was after he failed for the second time to appear in court to respond to the contempt application.

The court, which observed that the AMA boss has deliberately refused to be served the notice by a bailiff, indicated that if he fails to comply with the order, the case would take its normal course without him.

This was after a bailiff, who was summoned by the court under the request of Madam Selina Fenteng, AMA lawyer, had testified that he served that notice on the AMA boss personally, but he refused to sign the document to show that he had received the contempt notice.

Madam Fenteng on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, prayed the court to call the bailiff to explain how he served the AMA boss the notice as she only got to know of the contempt in the media, adding that Mr. Vanderpuije had not been served.

The judge, after listening to the testimony of the bailiff as well as the cross-examination from both the AMA and lawyers of the advertising company ruled that the evidence in court was so overwhelming that the AMA boss was served, but refused service.

The judge citing order 7 (rule32) of CI 47 observed that even if the bailiff had left the document on the doorsteps of the AMA boss it would still mean that he had been served and subsequently ordered him to file his affidavit in opposition within seven days.

The rule on which the court relied upon states “where personal service of a document on any person is hindered by the violence or treat or other act of obstruction of that person or of any other person with or under that persons it shall be sufficient for the person effecting the service to leave it near the person as may be practicable.”

Earlier, the bailiff; Boakye Yiadom Barfour, who works with Johnson Complex, disclosed that on May 31 he was asked to serve a contempt notice on Mr. Vanderpuije by the chief bailiff, Isaac Dadzie, but he did not meet the chief executive on that day. On June 3, he went to AMA around 7:30am and waited for the executive officer who arrived around 8:05.

He said after greeting Mr. Vanderpuije, he told him he had two contempt notices to serve him, stressing that Mr. Vanderpuije did not listen to him and asked him to talk to his security guard.

Although he informed Mr. Vanderpuije that it was for him and that he would have to sign the said document, the AMA boss left him to his office.

The security man then came for the document and sent it to him at his office, but returned after a minute’ and informed the bailiff that Mr. Vanderpuije said he just arrived and so he should hold on with the process.

The bailiff said he declined to take the document from the security officer and left the premises.

According to the bailiff, the notice was served once he met the AMA boss personally and he asked his security to take the document to him.

Lead Advertising Ghana Ltd has dragged Mr. Vanderpuije and one John Yankah, managing director of Via Afrinity Ghana Ltd to court on a contempt application for bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.

The plaintiff has indicated that despite a pending motion for an interlocutory injunction restraining the AMA boss, his agents or administrative bodies from paying or releasing any public funds to Via Afrinity Company arising from supply of services agreement dated December 14, 2009, the AMA boss has released GH¢177, 964.57 to the said company.

For this reason, the two men have brought the administration of justice into disrepute and therefore need to be punished to serve as a deterrent to others who will be tempted to take the justice system for granted.

In a related development, the Advertising Association of Ghana alleged that Mr. Vanderpuije disobeyed an order restraining him from cutting down billboards and signboards belonging to their clients till the final determination of a suit in court.

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana