ACCRA - A.D 2018

DATE:  5 TH JUNE, 2018
SUIT NO:  BC/46/2012



i. Introduction:

[1] The facts of this action traces its roots from a decision made by a state agency during the government of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) era and thus older than the Supreme Law of the Republic; the 1992 Constitution. Indeed, a constitutionally mandated body under the 1992 Constitution, being the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has had its say on the matter but to the Plaintiff justice has not been manifestly done. Since 1986 when his employment with the erstwhile Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (for which he started working in 1960) was terminated, he has not relented in pursuing justice through the executive arm of government for what he perceives to be a wrong done to him.


ii. Background Facts

[2] On August 2, 1960, Mr. Simon Nelson Kwasi Tette began employment with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). After working for many years and holding different positions he was dismissed by the Management of IRS for “Gross Negligence of Duty, Collusion with Tax Payers and disregard for laid down regulations”. The dismissal was confirmed by the Board of Directors on October 1, 1986. The record shows that the Plaintiff first petitioned the Board to review its decision but this was without success. The Plaintiff then petitioned the government of the PNDC at the Castle, Osu, and by a letter dated 21st September 1989, it was recommended that the Plaintiff be “reinstated with full benefits but redeployed  outside  the  Internal  Revenue  Service  with  effect  from  1st  July,  1989”.


[3] According to the Defendant it paid all the benefits to the Plaintiff as per the directive. According to the Plaintiff, as per the letter from the presidency, apart from the payments of the benefits, he was to be redeployed outside the IRS but within the Public Service but it was never done or carried out and therefore he considers himself as an employee of the Internal Revenue Service of Ghana now known as the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). After many petitions to the various governments, in December 1993 the Plaintiff again petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) against his dismissal and subsequent failure to redeploy him. The CHRAJ gave its ruling on April 24, 1995 and advised that the Plaintiff was to be posted to any other establishment within the Public Service outside the IRS.


[4] The directive to the government to repost the Plaintiff was not carried out and therefore by a letter dated November 6, 1995 the Office of the President wrote to explain to CHRAJ why it could not carry out the recommendation. Consequently, the CHRAJ reviewed its earlier decision on March 7, 1997. In the reviewed ruling which was released on April 9, 1997 the CHRAJ made an order of compensation to the Plaintiff instead of the reinstatement. By the ruling the CHRAJ the computed compensation to be paid to the Plaintiff was two years and four months’ salary based on the prevailing salary levels at the time. The decision also took into consideration the fact that by a letter dated 6 September 1994 the IRS promised to pay the Plaintiff end of service benefits. The Defendant complied with the CHRAJ decision by paying the entitlements on November 3, 1998 but the Plaintiff was still not satisfied and therefore further petitioned the Minister for Presidential Affairs, the late Jake Obetsebi Lamptey in March 2001. Other petitions were also filed among others.


[5] The presidency responded to some of the petitions and referred same to the Public Services Commission (PSC) which also made some recommendations different from what the CHRAJ made. According to the Plaintiff the Defendant failed to carry out the recommendations including his demand to be paid the same remuneration and benefits as a Chief Inspector of Taxes on the grounds that his “colleagues promoted to Chief Inspector of Taxes (Ch.I.T) have been converted when the Internal Revenue Service took over the Central Revenue Department in 1986 and at the time that Plaintiff worked during that period”. The Plaintiff’s inability to get what he wanted from the Defendant and the events which followed motivate this suit.


iii. The Action

[6] By a Writ of Summons filed on December 13, 2011, the Plaintiff claims the following reliefs against the Defendant:-

“a) A declaration that the Plaintiff is entitled to arrears of his remuneration or benefits to be

calculated and same paid to Plaintiff by the Defendants since 30th May, 2006 at his correct post within the then Internal Revenue Service of Ghana now Domestic Tax Revenue Authority (GRA) at the current salary rate.

An Order directed at the Defendants to compute or calculate and pay Plaintiff’s salary arrears or remuneration for the period 30th June, 1989 to 12th May, 1996 at the current salary rates less the GH¢12,865,977.60 already paid to Plaintiff as per the letter of the Public Services Commission dated 30th May, 2006 referenced PSC/T/71129 written to the Defendants

A declaration that the Plaintiff is entitled to be converted (promoted) from post of Principal Inspector of Taxes to the post of Chief Inspector of Taxes within the then Internal Revenue Service of Ghana now known as the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in accordance with the letter No. PSC/T/71129 of 30th May, 2006 written by the Public Services Commission to the Defendant with reference also to the then IRS Board letters dated 2nd September, 1990 and 8th October, 1990 as well as Plaintiff’s responses dated letters dated 10th September, 1990 and 9th October, 1990.

An order directed at the Defendant to convert or promote Plaintiff alongside Plaintiff’s colleagues to the post of Chief Inspector of Taxes from the post of Principal Inspector of Taxes within the then Internal Revenue Services of Ghana now known as the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to take effect from May, 2006 or as at the date this Honourable Court may direct or order.



[7] The factual grounds of the Plaintiff’s claim are set out in the Statement of Claim filed together with the Writ of Summons. The claim of the Plaintiff was met with a 15 paragraph statement of defence by the Defendant in which the Plaintiff’s claim was vehemently denied. The Plaintiff filed a 20 paragraph reply to the Defence filed.


iv. Issues

[8] After the close of pleadings, the following issues were set down for hearing and determination of the court:

Whether or not the present action instituted by the Plaintiff against the Defendant is statute barred by Law?

Whether or not the decision of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) as given by CHRAJ is final or absolute under the relevant and applicable Laws of the Republic of Ghana?

Whether or not the office of the President and the Public Service Commission can intervene in this matter after the decision of CHRAJ to remedy and restore the injustice meted out by Defendant to avoid travesty of justice or gross or substantial miscarriage of justice in respect of his claims against the Plaintiff.

Whether or not Defendant can defy the directives, orders or decisions of the office of the President and the Public Service Commission by willfully refusing to comply with their directives, orders or decisions concerning and affecting Plaintiff’s reliefs or claims by him.

Whether or not Defendant is entitled to the Defence(s) as stated in their Statement of Defence to the action.

Whether or not Plaintiff is entitled to his reliefs or claims on the Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim?

Any other issues arising out of the pleadings.


v. The Plaintiff's Case

[9] The case of the Plaintiff from the Witness Statement filed and adopted as the evidence in chief is that he is a retired worker of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now known as Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) having worked since 2nd May, 1960.


[10] Mr. Tette testified that the Defendant is the Lawful Revenue Collection Authority for the Republic of Ghana having various divisions under it inclusive of the Internal Revenue Service now known as Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). According to Mr. Tette his suit is in two parts/aspects. The first aspect according to him is about the computation of his arrears of remuneration including pension and gratuity at current rates of salary and payment of same to him by the Defendants from 30th June, 1989 when he last received his pay up to 12th May, 1996 when he was deemed to have retired on Salary Scale of Principal Inspector of Taxes (PIT). According to him the first aspect is not in dispute.


[11] Further, Mr. Tette testified that “the two (2) year and four (4) months’ salary paid to me upon the recommendation of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) (i.e. ¢12,865,977.60 now amended to read ¢14, 782006.84) or GH¢1,478.20 should be deducted from my entitlement”. President’s Office letter No. SCR. A.26/21 dated 15th February, 2006; Public Services Commission (PSC) letter No. PSC/T/71129 dated 30th May, 2006; and my Witness Statement for Claim and Reliefs Paragraphs (20) (a) (b) and (c) which confirm same”.


[12] The Plaintiff further testified that the second aspect of his claim is in regards to “my petition for reliefs sought in the nature of my remuneration or benefits to be converted which is deemed to be promotion for entitlements due to Principal Inspector of Taxes (P.I.T) in the Central Revenue Department (CRD) to that of entitlements due to Chief Inspector of Taxes (Ch.I.T) in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in compliance with the existing policy applied to all my colleague Principal Inspectors of Taxes when the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) took over the Central Revenue Department (C.R.D) on 1st July, 1986 leaving me alone at the time”.


[13] According to Mr. Tette he worked during the take-over by the IRS and therefore he is entitled to the conversion difference of his remuneration or entitlements including pension and gratuity as computed at the Current Rates of Salary. He also said he is entitled to the payment and the conversion difference by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for the period starting from 1st July, 1986 up to 12th May, 1996 when he was deemed to have retried.


[14] In support of his contention that he was wrongfully dismissed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue on October 1, 1986 but was reinstated by the Office of the then PNDC government the Plaintiff tendered Exhibits A, A1 and A2 being his letters of petitions dated 21 September 21, 1989, January 16, 1987 and the letter of dismissal dated September 30, 1986.


[15] The Plaintiff further tendered Exhibits B, B1, B2 and B3 to E1 a Confidential letter signed by GP-Capt. M.S.K. Dordor to the Plaintiff and copied to the then Chairman of the PNDC and Head of State Flt-Lt. J.J. Rawlings dated 23rd January 1990, the petition to the CHRAJ and other supporting documents submitted to the CHRAJ and the ruling of April 27, 1995.


[16] Other exhibits submitted by the Plaintiff in support of his case and tendered and marked in the record were Exhibits “F”, F1 and F2 to “Q6” includind a letter written by Mr. Ato Ahwoi the then PNDC Secretary for the National Revenue Secretariat dated June 1, 1989 with reference number NRS/SCR/003, the Plaintiff’s review application dated April 1, 1996 to the CHRAJ, the CHRAJ review and the Plaintiff’s reaction to same and also the Plaintiff’s petition to the Office of the President dated 26th March, 2001. The Office of the President’s letter of reference to the Public Services Commission (PSC) for advise and recommendation was also tendered together with the PSC’s letter dated 30th May, 2006. Those were marked as Exhibits “H” series to “K”.


[17] According to the Plaintiff the PSC wrote to the IRS to compute and pay him arrears of salary due to him from June 30th, 1989 to 12th May, 1996 but the “IRS wrote to the Public Service Commission, Accra to the effect that the IRS will not pay my arrears of salary as directed by the Office of the President and the Public Services Commission, Accra on the flimsy grounds that I had already been paid compensation of ¢12, 865,977.60 now amended to read ¢14,597,856.00 or GH¢1, 459.79 as per the content of the IRS letter No. C.2153 dated 3rd September, 2007”. In this regard the Plaintiff tendered Exhibits “L to L7” at trial.


[18] Further, according to Mr. Tette the Defendant owes him arrears in remuneration and benefits under what he termed “undisputed post of PIT” entitled to him but not paid from 30th May, 2006 when the Defendant was notified by the “PSC’s invitation letter and reminder to the Defendants to appear before the PSC on the matter”. The Plaintiff tendered Exhibits “M” to “M6” to support his claim.


[19] The Plaintiff further testified that his remuneration and benefits ought to be converted from entitlements due Principal Inspector of Taxes (PIT) to Chief Inspector of Taxes under an existing policy applied to his colleague Principal Inspector of Taxes who were promoted at the time he had been dismissed. It is his case that he would have also been promoted but for the “wrongful dismissal” According to the Plaintiff he was singled out and discriminated against by the then IRS among his colleague PITs and was denied the salary and remuneration due to him. The Plaintiff used a “J.O. Lamptey-Mills” scale of promotion and tendered Exhibits N, N1, N2 and N3 to tell the Court that he is entitled to his claim.


[20] Finally, in response to the Defendant’s contention that the suit is statute barred the Plaintiff testified per the adopted witness statement that the number of documents tendered in evidence including correspondence between the Public Services Commission and the Defendant dated 30th May, 2006, IRS letter dated 3rd September, 2007, his two write up letters dated September 10, 2007 and 17th September, 2007, the PSC letter of reminder dated 26th January, 2009, IRS letter of 11th March 2009, PSC’s letters of 14th April, 2009 and 27th May, 2009, his Counsel’s letter dated 18th April, 2011 and the PSC’s reminder letter dated 10th June 2011 all of which preceded the filing of the writ of summons on 13th December, 2011 go to show that “since the case happened in 1986 up to date, I never relaxed at any point in time so as to be Statute Barred by my action. I pursued the Case relentlessly up to date of filing the Writ of Summons”. The Plaintiff did not call any other witness. In a nutshell, the Plaintiff gave evidence for himself to close his case and prayed the Court to grant the reliefs endorsed on the writ of summons.


vi. The Defendant's Case

[21] The Defendant gave evidence per its representative, Abdul-Muttalib Sannie (a Principal Revenue Officer – at the Human Resource Division) and called no other witness before closing its case. The Defendant said the Plaintiff was indeed employed on 2nd May, 1960 by the then Central Revenue Department which later became the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and now Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and thus “a retired employee of the erstwhile IRS”.


[22] The Defendant’s representative testified that the Plaintiff was dismissed by the then IRS after deliberation and confirmation by the Board of Directors for Gross negligence of duty, Collusion with taxpayers and Disregard for laid down regulations. According to Mr. Abdul-Muttalib Sannie the Plaintiff was the District Head of the then Central Revenue Authority and was stationed at Denu in the Volta Region. A copy of the dismissal letter was tendered at trial as Exhibit “1’.


[23] It is the case of the Defendant that the Plaintiff was interdicted on grounds that he had used Revenue (taxes) collected by the District Office and meant for lodgment at the bank for onward transfer into the Consolidated Fund; to pay for goods to be distributed to staff of the Denu office without approval from the Head Office. This act according to the witness was deemed as constituting gross violation of the service regulations and procedures with respect to the handling of government revenue.


[24] It is also the case of the Defendant that before the final determination of the case, the Central Revenue Department was phased out and in its place the IRS was established. According to the Defendant’s witness in 1987, the Plaintiff petitioned the Board of the IRS against his dismissal. However, after a review, the Board came to the decision that the service was not in the position to work with Plaintiff because of the gross violation of laid down rules. The Plaintiff not satisfied petitioned the Office of the President of the then PNDC. It is the case of the Defendant that even though the Office of the Head of State did not have the legal mandate to interfere in labour issues, it recommended that in lieu of dismissal, Plaintiff should be redeployed outside of the IRS but within the Public Service.


[25] It is the further case of the Defendant that in 1989, upon an act of clemency arising from Plaintiff’s petition to the Presidency, the then Chairman of the PNDC decided that the dismissal be converted to termination with full benefits. The said termination was to take effect the 1st of July, 1989 instead of 1st October, 1986. The Defendant testified that the directive was fully complied with and the Plaintiff was consequently paid all benefits up to 30th June, 1989. A copy of the letter from the Commissioner of IRS to the Plaintiff dated 5th October, 1989 was tendered at trial as Exhibit “2”.


[26] Mr. Sannie further testified that the IRS however did not redeploy Plaintiff as requested by the Office of the Head of State. According to the Defendant’s witness the “Plaintiff could have insisted on being redeployed if he was not comfortable with the reinstatement and the IRS would have complied accordingly”. It is the position of the Defendant that the Plaintiff’s silence meant he did not object.


[27] Mr. Sannie further testified that after the payment made to the Plaintiff, in December 1993, the Plaintiff petitioned the CHRAJ against his dismissal and subsequent failure to redeploy him. The


CHRAJ ruled on the matter on 24th April, 1995 and advised that Plaintiff be re-posted to another establishment within the Public Service. The Defendant tendered as Exhibit “3’ a copy of the CHRAJ decision.


[28] It is the further case of the Defendant that the Office of the President per a letter dated 16th November, 1995, informed CHRAJ that efforts to re-post the Plaintiff have not been fruitful. A copy of the letter from the Office of the President was tendered in evidence as Exhibit “4”. According to Mr.

Sannie in response to the letter from the presidency the CHRAJ on 9th of April, 1997, reviewed its decision of 24th April, 1995 and awarded the Plaintiff compensation in lieu of the re-instatement. The compensation according to the Defendant was monetary value of two (2) years and four (4) month’s salary based on the then prevailing salary levels. An extract of the reviewed decision of CHRAJ was tendered in evidence as Exhibit “5”.


[29] It is the case of the Defendant that the IRS fully complied with the reviewed decision of CHRAJ and paid the Plaintiff his full benefits in the sum of GH¢14,782,006.84 on the 3rd of November, 1998which he accepted. Also, according to the Defendant pursuant to the payment, a letter dated 3rd November, 1998 from IRS informed CHRAJ about the compliance with its ruling. Further, according to Mr. Sannie the IRS wrote to the Secretary to the President per a letter dated 12th July, 1999 informing him of the said payment to the Plaintiff. A copy of the letter to the secretary of the President dated 12th July 1999 was tendered in evidence as Exhibit “6’ together with the letter to CHRAJ dated 3rd November, 1998 confirming the payment to the Plaintiff. That was tendered as Exhibit “7”.


[30] According to the Defendant’s witness the Plaintiff’s penchant to run to the powers that be to engage them in labour and industrial issues affecting employees did not abate and therefore he again appealed to the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff of the J.A. Kufour administration in March, 2001 which then made a reference to the PSC to look into the matter. The Defendant says it responded to both the Chief of Staff and the PSC letters to express its position on the matter. A further letter from the PSC dated 29th March, 2007 was tendered in evidence as Exhibit “8”.


[31] Mr. Sannie said in a response to the PSC’s letter dated 3rd September, 2007, the IRS stated that it fully settled the Plaintiff in accordance with the revised ruling of CHRAJ and therefore the case cannot be re-opened. A copy of the response of the IRS was tendered in evidence as Exhibit “9”.


[32] Finally, Mr. Sannie testified that the Plaintiff’s testimony that all Principal Inspectors of Taxes in the Central Revenue Department were promoted to the rank of Chief Inspector of Taxes when the IRS came into being is not true. According to the Defendant’s representative, while it is true that “a couple of out-of-turn promotions due to excellent and meritorious performances were effected”, it was never a wholesale promotion as contends by the Plaintiff. In a nutshell, this is the evidence before the court.


Vii. The Court’s Opinion and Analysis –


[33] Admittedly, several issues have been raised by the parties for determination by the Court but with respect, most of them can hardly be described as germane to the main issue the Court is called upon to determine. In the opinion of this court, there are only about two critical issues which are very central to the determination of the controversy between the parties herein. Indeed it is the policy of the law that only those issues which are germane to the determination of a case must be decided by the court and not irrelevant issues although the parties might have led evidence on them. See the Court of Appeal case of DOMFE v ADU (1984-86) 1 GLR 653.


[34] Applying the above stated principle to the instant case, my view is that the two most important issues for determination in this case which can be gathered from the pleadings and the evidence offered in this case are:

i. Whether or not the present action instituted by the Plaintiff against the Defendant is statute barred by Law?

ii. Whether or not the decision of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) as given by CHRAJ is final or absolute under the relevant and applicable Laws of the Republic of Ghana?


[35] In the opinion of the Court the two issues set down above for determination in this suit will no doubt effectively determine the dispute between the parties. The law is trite that a party who asserts a fact assumes the responsibility of proving same. The burden of producing evidence as well as the burden of persuasion is therefore cast on that party and the standard required is provided for by virtue of sections 10,11 and 12 of the Evidence Act 1975 [NRCD 323).


[36] There have over the years been judicial opinions on the nature and standard of proof in civil cases. One of such decisions is ABABIO V. AKWAS III [1994-1995] GBR 774 where Aikins JSC reiterated the position of Kpegah JA. (as he then was) in ZABRAMA V. SEGBEDZI. [1991] 2GLR 221. Further, the decision of the Supreme Court on such burden on a party who asserts is in the case of ACKAH V. PERGAH TRANSPORT LTD & ORS [2010] SCGLR 728 where in unanimously dismissing an appeal, the Supreme Court held inter alia as follows:

It is a basic principle of the law on evidence that a party who bears the burden of proof is to produce the required evidence of the facts in issue that has the quality of credibility short of which his claim may fail. The method of producing evidence is varied and it includes the testimonies of the party and material witnesses, admissible hearsay, documentary and things (often described as real evidence), without which the party might not succeed to establish the requisite degree of credibility concerning a fact in the mind of the court or tribunal of fact such as a jury. It is trite law that matters that are capable of proof must be proved by producing evidence so that on all the evidence a reasonable mind could conclude that the existence of the fact is more reasonable than its non-existence. This is a requirement of the law on evidence under sections 10(1) and (2) and 11(1) and (4) of the Evidence Act, 1975 (NRCD 323).”


[37] I now proceed to examine the evidence adduced in support of the Plaintiff’s case and will relate same in the context of the standard of proof I have already set out in this judgment. In respect of the second issue stated above, the court finds from the evidence on record that it is not in dispute that the Plaintiff was an employee of the erstwhile Internal Revenue Service from 1960 until 1986 when he was dismissed. It is also not in dispute that since 1986 the Plaintiff has petitioned successive governments in regards to the same issues and indeed filed an action at CHRAJ which ruled on the matter and ordered that a compensation be paid out to him. It is also not in dispute that the Defendant did pay the Plaintiff the compensation pursuant to the CHRAJ reviewed ruling dated April 9th, 1997. And so, the question is did the CHRAJ ruling finally determine the Plaintiff’s claims?


[38] Undoubtedly, from its establishment in 1993 the CHRAJ has adopted mediation as the ADR mechanism of choice together with negotiation and compromise in the resolution of complaints/disputes brought before it to resounding success as its work compliment the work of the judiciary. In this case, it was the Plaintiff who filed a complaint with the CHRAJ pursuant to Part III of the CHRAJ Act (ACT 456). In its decision dated April 24, 1995, the Commission held that “It is the view of this Commission that grave injustice will be done to the petitioner if the decision taken by the erstwhile PNDC to re-deploy the petitioner within the Public Service but outside the not implemented”. The government was accordingly advised to take steps to have the Petitioner re-posted to the public service. The decision was made by the then Deputy Commissioner, Benjamin K. Oppong.


[39] From the evidence and in particular, Exhibit 5, the Commission received a comment from the Office of the President which informed the Commission that despite strenuous efforts to re-post the Petitioner it has not been fruitful. Consequently the Commission per its Commissioner Justice Emile Francis Short reviewed its decision on March 7, 1997 and same was made public on April 9, 1997 in the following terms.

“…The principle of mutuality of engagement or the right to hire and fire is an integral part of any employer-worker relationship. It is considered as enslavement to insist that a worker works for a particular unwilling employer.

By these precepts the Commission is rather disposed to reviewing its decision having regard to the fact that it is apparent that no government institution is disposed to taking on the petitioner.

The impasse arose on or about June, 1989, that counts up to about seven (7) years. Following the approval given by the Supreme Court in the case of GNTC vers. Baiden 1991 1 GLR p.567 to the computation of award for damages in GCMB vrs, Agbettoh, the Commission awards two years four months salary as compensation to the Petitioner for the seven years that the matter has been unresolved using current levels of salary.

In the Supreme Court case under consideration the Court decided to award two years salary as compensation for a period of five years. This the Court considered to be fair stand in balancing the scales of justice by reason of the fact that the Petitioner had not actually done any work for the employer yet the Petitioner should not also be made to suffer unduly.

It is the hope of this Commission that the Petitioner would be paid the compensation decided as soon as possible to bring the curtain down on this issue. It is also hoped that the Petitioner would be paid all his end of Service benefits as already promised in a letter dated 6th September, 1994 (C.3275/TJ/CIR) written by the then Commissioner, Prof. J.E.A. Mills”.


[40] From the evidence the Commissioner of the IRS complied with the decision and paid out the compensation to the Plaintiff by a letter dated November 3, 1998. Under cross-examination by the Defendant’s counsel, the Plaintiff conceded the payment but said it was for his benefits but not the reinstatement. In further testimony the Plaintiff answered under cross-examination by Defendant’s counsel on May 11, 2017 as follows:

“Q: You later in 1993 petitioned CHRAJ, what was the outcome of your petition?

A: It was true that I petitioned CHRAJ, the outcome was CHRAJ wrote to me referring me to castle to redeploy me as promised.

Q: Was Captain Dordor able to redeploy as well as CHRAJ ordered?

A: He was not able to redeploy me and I petitioned again.

Q: Can you identify this document (proposed Exhibit “4”) before you?

A: Yes.

Q: What document do you have before you?

A: I have a document from castle.

Q: Could you please read paragraph 3 of the document before you?

A: Witness reads to open court.

Q : What you just read to this court was actually the position of castle to CHRAJ. Paragraph 4 purport to do a damage control but the bottom line is contained in paragraph 6. Could you please read paragraph 6.

A: Witness reads to open court.

Q: So in effect they had difficulty to redeploy you. What happened after that?

A: After that I petitioned again because the letter is full of lies and distortions.

Q: So you petitioned CHRAJ in 1995, that was the 2nd petition?

A: It is so.

Q: Please identify the document before you.

A: Review Ruling.

Q: Reading paragraph 6, it is clear that for 7 good years you did no work at all you were in the house. Is that not the case?

A: I was working.

Q: Please read paragraph 7 for us?

A: Witness reads to open court.

Q: So it is clear that for 7 years you did not do any work and that is why the CHRAJ based its ruling on the case of GCMB versus Agbetor. Is that not the case?

A: I regard this review decision as illegal and cannot be binding on me because I petitioned against it as per my Exhibit “M”.

Q: So on the strength of the revised ruling IRS paid you compensation of 2 years 4 months’ salary and your end of service benefits in 1998 all amounting to GH¢1,478.20 and the old currency it was ¢14,782,006.84. Tell the court the purpose of this payment

A: The purpose of this payment is to pay me a compensation instead of reinstatement with full benefit.

Q: I suggest to you that the purpose of this compensation was simply that you had been paid off for the government inability to redeploy you.

A: I did not accept it as paying me off that is why I petitioned again to the office of the President”.


[41] Mr. Maurellet, Counsel for the Plaintiff in his written legal submission to the Court submitted that because the Plaintiff never petitioned the CHRAJ for “review application”, the Commission by relying on the comments from the Presidency written by Mr. Ato Ahwoi, which he and his client refers to as a “sabotage and wicked letter’, the CHRAJ reviewed decision according to Counsel has become “nullified, invalid and of no effect”. Counsel also submitted that the CHRAJ ruling “is not absolute or sacrosanct or final and conclusive but rather it is subject to “a remedy or right of appeal or objection” and therefore according to Counsel the Plaintiff was right to appeal to the office of the President Republic for remedy.


[42] The Court’s simple response to the submission is that it is not founded on law and clearly bereft of reason because the Plaintiff received the compensation ordered by the Commission. In any case, if the Plaintiff was indeed averse at the decision he should have appealed to the courts to set same aside and not the Executive because the Executive arm of government has no judicial/adjudicatory powers. The Constitution has vested that power in the judiciary as per Article 125. Not having done so, it is my holding that it lies ill in the mouth of the Plaintiff as the Petitioner to turn around to reject same many years after receiving the compensation ordered. Such an argument is definitely a non-sequitur and fundamentally illogical.


[43] It is the established rule of Ghanaian law that a person cannot bring an action where the cause of his claim or the issues he seeks to have determined have already been disposed of or could have been disposed of between the parties or their privies by a court of competent jurisdiction. See the case of In RE: SPEEDLINE STEVEDORING CO LTD; REPUBLIC V. HIGH COURT ACCRA EX PARTE BRENYA [2001-2002] SCGLR 775. It is conceded that the CHRAJ cannot be said to be a “Court of Competent” jurisdiction in the strict sense of the phrase, however in my respectful view in so far as its decisions are enforceable by the Courts as per Section 18 (2) of the CHRAJ Act, Act 456, the principle laid down is applicable mutatis muntandis.


[44] It has long been the position of the law at Common Law and also based on public policy that litigation ought to come to an end. Therefore I find it appropriate to quote Lord Halsbury in the case of REICHEL V. MAGRATH HL (1889) 14 App Cas 665), wherein the learned jurist postulated:

“I think it will be scandal to the administration of justice if, same question having been disposed of by one, the litigant were to be permitted by changing the form of proceeding to set up the same again”. [Emphasis Mine]


[45] Clearly, based on the evidence the court finds it difficult to accept the Plaintiff’s claim for the reliefs endorsed on the writ of summons in the face of his own testimony and documents tendered. My understanding and appreciation of the law informs me that he Plaintiff is engaged in piecemeal litigation which is clearly frowned upon by our system of justice because no man or institution ought to be vexed twice.


[46] I think that while demeanour as a measure of credibility can often be misleading and should not, standing alone, be determinative. Examining the Plaintiff’s testimony in the light of its internal consistency and its consonance with the other evidence heard and before the Court and with the probabilities inherent in the circumstances, it is my judgment that the Plaintiff’s evidence led is not worthy of any credit. I assessed him as a witness who was selective and very litigious who is not ready to accept any decision made unless it is what he wants. His testimony was given with a view to his own interest rather than in accordance with the oath which he took before his testimony.


[47] In the Court’s opinion yes, the CHRAJ may have pandered unnecessarily to the government by accepting its position that ‘no institution wants to work with the Plaintiff’ and therefore he is to be paid compensation. To my mind, the Plaintiff had an option to reject the conclusion and proceed to Court immediately, but not to have done so and having collected the compensation, to my mind his position on the issue is with respect absurd. The court therefore holds that the Plaintiff has not succeeded in proving his claim on the balance of probabilities as required of him.


I now turn to the issue of statute of limitation.

[48] The Defendant pleaded that the Plaintiff’s action is statute barred by virtue of the provisions of the Limitations Act, 1972, NRCD 54. The Plaintiff’s action is for the payment of money in respect of unpaid salaries and arrears. It is therefore founded on contract of employment.


[49] As stated above, the Plaintiff was dismissed in 1986 and after petitioning various governments and from the Plaintiff’s own testimony he petitioned the CHRAJ and a decision was made in 1997. In the opinion of the court therefore, once the Plaintiff realized that he was not content with the CHRAJ decision from 1997 his right to reject the decision and have the alleged outstanding arrears and compensation paid arose immediately. In other words, a cause of action accrued to the Plaintiff to have the salary and benefits paid. Hence, once the Plaintiff rejected the CHRAJ reviewed decision he should not have accepted the payments made to him and should have instituted an action, in other words the Plaintiff’s right to institute an action matured to him at that time. And this was as far back as at least 1997. The Plaintiff has therefore himself to blame for waiting for as long as fourteen years before instituting an action in 2011 for the recovery of the salary which was not paid from 1989 to 1996.


[50] Based on the law any action to recover ought to have been instituted within six years when the cause of action accrued. As a matter of law, no one has the vested right to come to court to seek redress unless that right and time within which to initiate any legal proceedings have been prescribed by statute. A statute of limitations, as it is popularly called, dictates the time period within which legal action must be initiated. In Ghana, the Limitation Act (NRCD 54) governs the time frame. This law that gives the right to a person to come to court is the same law that in certain circumstances takes away that right


[51] Section 4 (1) of the Limitations Act, 1972, NRCD 54 provides that

4.  Actions barred after six years

(1) A person shall not bring an action after the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued, in the case of

(a) an action founded on tort other than an action to which sections 2 and 3 apply;

(a) an action founded on simple contract;

(c) an action founded on quasi-contract;



Under section 4 of the Limitation Decree, 1972 the complainant had six years to institute action to enforce his rights. He took action by lodging the complaint with the commission in 1993, nine years later. Therefore, by the time he took action on his complaint at the commission and the commission made its decision or recommendation and referred it to the High Court for enforcement, section 4 of the Decree had barred the enforcement by the High Court. The remedy barred by law could not by any stretch of the imagination or strength of argument be described as remedy available in a High Court of Justice such as the instant case. The enforcement of the instant decision on recommendation by the commission was not available in any High Court.


[53] The Supreme Court held in BOGOSO GOLD LIMITED vs. NTRAKWA & ANOTHER [2011] 1 SCGLR 415 that

On a plea of defence of statute of limitation, the burden of dislodging it would shift to the plaintiffs. However, in appropriate cases, a statement of claim disclosing on its face that the period of limitation had expired might be struck out as disclosing no reasonable cause of action.


[54] In the instant matter, the Plaintiff only sought to dislodge the plea of limitation in the reply filed that he has relentlessly pursued the matter by writing to the PSC and petitioning the office of presidents since 1986 but proffered no testimony in rebuttal to the plea. In the case of KAI vs. AMARKYE [1982-83] GLR 817 it was held that:

“Failure to deny either specifically or by implication allegations of facts amounted to admission of them and no further proof of that was required.”


[55] In the reply the Plaintiff averred that there “have been regular correspondence between the Defendants and the Public Services Commission (PSC) on the matter and says the latest correspondence from the Defendant concerning this case is a letter dated 3rd September, 2007” and others including one “dated 27th May 2009 and all copied to Plaintiff, hence the Plaintiff’s action is not statute barred by law”. In the opinion of the court, whilst the Plaintiff tendered the letters exchanged between the Defendant and the PSC as documentary proof of the PSC’s directive to the Defendant there is no indication that the Defendant demonstrated that it was willing to negotiate with the Plaintiff or the PSC in satisfaction of the Plaintiff. Indeed there is nothere is nothing from those letters to show that the Defendant submitted and agreed to the PSC’s request to make further payments to the Plaintiff for same to be used as the reason for the delay in instituting the action. In any case as per those Exhibits “S”, “T”, “U” and “V” the dates are from 2007 and 2009 about 10 years after the cause of action accrued.


[56] In the opinion of the court, the Plaintiff’s response to the Defendant’s plea of the statute of limitation cannot, in law, dislodge the effect of the operation of the Statute of Limitation. In the case of FIAGA vs. GHANA COCOA BOARD [1992] 2 GLR 393 the court per Lartey J, held that:

Where parties embarked on negotiations and eventually agreed on the issue of liability, a Defendant, when sued out of time, could not plead a statute of limitation as a bar to the action. Where, however, there had not been an agreement, as in the present case; where no evidence to the effect that the defendants had accepted liability was tendered, the plaintiff could not be heard to say that he was negotiating with the defendant and accordingly should be allowed to commence his action outside the limitation period.


[57] Although the above decision was given by a High Court, a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction, the present court sees no reason why it should not adopt the reasoning since in my view, the statement of law is a sound legal proposition in the face of the uncontroverted evidence in this case. As already pointed out, once the Defendant pleaded the special defence that the Plaintiff’s claim is statute barred, it was incumbent upon the Plaintiff to dislodge same that the assertion on the balance of probabilities is not true.


[58] It is important to remind ourselves that the statute of limitation is intended to keep a tardy Plaintiff out of court and to offer a Defendant protection from a litigation which should have started earlier because the law always helps the vigilant and not the indolent. The court therefore holds that at the time that the Plaintiff instituted the present action against the Defendant herein, the cause of action opened to the Plaintiff had long been barred by the Limitation Action Act of 1972, NRCD 54. It implies therefore that the Plaintiff cannot maintain the present action against the within named Defendant. The court holds therefore that, apart from the Plaintiff’s failure to adduce cogent and convincing evidence to prove that the CHRAJ decision did not completely determine the suit between him and the Defendant, the action itself is barred by the Limitation Act of 1972, NRCD 54. The action is therefore dismissed


[59] Before drawing the curtain on this matter, I wish to comment on what the Plaintiff stated in his reply and which he also testified to that “he is entitled to the reliefs endorsed on the Writ of Summons, since the Defendants have willfully defied the directives or orders of the Office of the President representing the Executive arm of Government and the Public Services Commission (PSC), thereby resulting in gross or substantial miscarriage of justice against the Plaintiff”. The averment and testimony are flawed. In my respectful opinion it is important to point out to the Plaintiff that the judiciary and other constitutionally mandated bodies like the CHRAJ are those entrusted with the mandate and the jurisdiction to deal with, mediate and also resolve disputes between citizens and institutions etcetera and not the Executive.


[60] But, I should also say that as citizens we all have a role to play because it is easy to describe as unfortunate the Plaintiff’s choice of appealing to heads of state rather than resorting to the courts. However, this is an illustration of the consequences of the de-legitimisation of judicial institutions, compelling citizens to find expeditious the seeking of redress through petitions to “the judgement seat of Caesar” or the Executive, rather than litigate through courts of competent jurisdiction or administrative tribunals. It is also a tragedy to my mind that the government chose to interfere by ordering the PSC and other bodies to override the decision of the CHRAJ for instance. To my mind, those given judicial power should be allowed to exercise their mandate from any interference. A word to the wise….


[61] I am grateful to the parties and counsel for their assistance. Ordinarily, this is a matter cost should have been awarded against the Plaintiff, however taking into consideration the facts wherein it seems the Defendant conceded that it may have wrongly dismissed the Plaintiff and therefore paid him compensation and the obvious perceived hurt feeling of the Plaintiff who is certainly an old man, I am willing to waive the cost. Both parties are to bear their costs. Ordered accordingly.