The immediate past Director of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Dr Peter Wiredu, has told the Accra High Court that the GIS failed to constitute a panel to undertake an internal service enquiry against three officials of the service who were interdicted on the accusation of approving permits for some Chinese citizens who came into the country to engage in illegal mining.
Three officials of the GIS, the acting Deputy Director in charge of Legal, Mr Kwame Asuah Takyi, the deputy Director of Finance and Administration, Madam Veronica Addy and the Assistant Director for Processing, Mr Joseph Gardiner were interdicted on October 25, 2013 for allegedly issuing permits to some Chinese nationals without due regard to laid down procedure.
However, following their interdiction in 2013, the GIS had failed to constitute a committee to undertake a service enquiry on them.
Dr Wiredu, who appeared as a defence witness under subpoena, told the court presided over by Mr Justice Henry Kwofie, an appeal court judge sitting as an additional high court judge that following the interdiction of the three officers, two of whom were deputy directors and, therefore, members of the Central Disciplinary Committee (CDC), that the committee had to be re-constituted.
Consequently, he said, two new deputy directors were appointed to replace them on the CDC but the three interdicted officers went to court to challenge the constitution of the CDC and the court ruled in their favour said that there was the likelihood of bias because the two newly appointed deputies were members of the CDC and stood to benefit from the plaintiffs being outside the service.
He told the court that the effect of the court’s order was that the panel as constituted, could not go ahead with the trial and that there was the need for the constitution of another panel that would not include the two newly appointed deputy directors.
‘We could not set up a trial panel’
“We did not conclude the setting up of a new trial panel because we had some administrative challenges and could not complete before my exit in November, 2015,” he told the court.
During cross examination, counsel for the plaintiff, Mr Benson Nutsukpui asked Mr Wiredu whether he knew the means by which the Chinese nationals entered the country and he answered that some came in with ordinary visas issued by the Ghana Embassy in China.
Some, he said, came in with Emergency Entry Visas which were issued only under conditions where a foreigner had to travel to Ghana as a matter of emergency.
The third category of immigrants, he said, entered the country through the unapproved entry routes dotted along the borders of the country.
Asked whether he knew the number of Chinese immigrants that were arrested as part of an exercise to flush out illegal Chinese miners in the country, he said that he could not give the number off-hand but he knew it was over a thousand.
He could also not give the precise numbers that came into the country either through, regular visas, emergency visas or through unapproved routes.
He said the members of the committee that was set up to do an enquiry on the three was headed by the deputy Director in charge of Operations of the GIS and assisted by two officers of the operations unit whose names he gave as Messrs Adinah and Laryea.
‘Nullify my interdiction’
In his statement of claim, Mr Takyi averred that he joined the GIS on October 1, 1999 as assistant Superintendent and rose through the senior level ranks by dint of hard work to become an Assistant Director of Immigration.
He said that he acted in the position of deputy Director of Immigration, Legal for eleven years in contravention of Public Service Regulations and without any extra remuneration or compensation except being paid an acting allowance of GH¢190 a month.
It is his assertion that his interdiction and the actions of the GIS with regard to his interdiction were tantamount to constructive dismissal from the GIS and contravened Article 191 of the Constitution and had caused him great hardship and embarrassment.
He, is, therefore, seeking a declaration that his interdiction and the events that followed amounted to a constructive dismissal and was, therefore, wrong, null and void and of no legal effect because it was inconsistent and contravened the 1992 Constitution.
But the GIS in a statement of defence filed by Chief State Attorney, Mrs Helen A.A. Ziwu denied all the claims of Mr Takyi and said that he was not entitled to any reliefs being sought in his statement of claim.
Mr Justice Henry Kwofie has set Monday, June 13, for the continuation of the cross examination by the counsel for the plaintiff.