Court of Appeal Judge Emmanuel Ankamah is to be investigated by the Chief Justice regarding how he handled a case involving the estate of a deceased pastor while he was a High Court Judge at Tema.
A five-member Supreme Court panel, with Justice Victor Jones Dotse presiding, called for the investigation insisting the conduct of the Judge and then Registrar of the court, Sebastian Agbo has the potential to affect the image of the Judiciary.
“In our collective wisdom, we deem it appropriate to refer this case to the Chief Justice to cause further investigations into the conduct of the learned trial judge and Sebastian Agbo, then Registrar of the High Court, Tema under whose tenure the sordid affairs happened,” Justice Dotse stated in his valedictory Judgment.
Following the death of one Rev Emmanuel Dorgbadzi, a dispute arose as to who should administer his estate. The matter ended up at the Tema High Court presided over at the time by Justice Ankamah.
Documents (caveat) were filed to prevent proposed administrators of the estate from getting permission to administer it.
Justice Ankamah is said to have struck out this process even though it was not listed for hearing and failed to give the parties in whose favour they were issued, a hearing.
Justice Dotse ruled that the court breached the rules of natural justice as the evidence on the record showed that the case was heard on the blind side of the caveators, with the presiding judge striking out the said caveat for want of prosecution and granting the letters of administration to the interested parties.
According to Justice Dotse, the irregular manner in which the case was handled pointed to the fact that the presiding judge “appeared to be biased against the applicants”.
He also wondered why Justice Ankamah struck out the caveat when the issues raised in the caveat were of utmost importance as it raised questions of capacity of the parties who filed the letters of administration.
“It is therefore clear that the affidavit filed by the applicants herein that had raised serious issues of fact and law as regards priorities of grant of the letters of administration. That being the case, the learned trial judge should have been circumspect in casually dismissing this caveat,’ the court held.
Aside from setting aside the decision by the Tema High Court, the Supreme Court also prohibited Justice Ankamah and the Registrar of the High Court from ever dealing with the case. Justice Dotse further expressed concern about how properties belonging to the deceased were valued.
A hospital at Obuasi was valued at GH¢60,000, a school at Obuasi at GH¢35,000 and the house of the deceased at Tema valued at GH¢30,000.
The Judicial Secretary has meanwhile announced in a statement that the Registrar of the Tema Land Court Sebastian Agbo has been dismissed for fraudulently preparing 30 court orders.
The case was heard by Justices Victor Jones Dotse, Avril Lovelace-Johnson, Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi.