Despite being asked to proceed on leave, the immediate past Inspector-General of Police (IGP) David Asante-Apeatu, is not free from contempt charges he is facing at the High Court, a law lecturer has said.
Justice Srem-Sai in an interview Monday, on Joy FM’s Top Story, said Mr. Asante Apeatu could have gotten away with the charges had they been levelled against the office.
But once, that is not the case, he is still liable even while on retirement.
The Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) lecturer explained, “contempt matters are personal. Because the order made is made to a person who at the time held a particular office and was supposed to use the office to do what the court has ordered.
“If he is no more in the office, it does not take away the fact that he was in the office and did not do what the court asked him to do.”
Mr. Asante-Apeatu and the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Police Service, Maame Tiwaa Addo Danquah, are facing contempt charges over their refusal to comply with a bail order for Gregory Afoko.
Afoko is facing trial for the murder of the governing New Patriotic Party’s Upper East Regional Chairman, Adams Mahama in 2015.
Although Afoko was granted bail in March this year, the police refused to release him.
The IGP and the CID boss are being blamed for the police’s decision to set aside the court’s directive to release Gregory Afoko, causing the suspect to spend more than 120 days on remand.
They have both failed to show up in court on three consecutive occasions.
But as he has been asked to step down by President Akufo-Addo, many have wondered what will become of the contempt charges levelled against him.
Justice Srem-Sai says the charges still hold.
“The claim is actually against the person. They didn’t site the office of the IGP in the summon, it was the names of the individuals and so the resignation notwithstanding, he still has to explain to the court why at the time he was in office, he didn’t obey the order.
“It does not in any way transfer the claims to the current acting IGP (James Oppong-Boanuh). No one has official authority to disobey any court order. The law does not empower anyone in any office to disobey a court order so when you do things that violate a court order, you are doing it outside of your office,” Mr. Srem-Sai added.
He, however, worries that Mr. Asante-Apeatu, who no longer has the state’s backing will be left vulnerable to court, which might want to take stringent actions against him.