The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and two others have purged themselves of contempt charges by withdrawing a letter terminating the appointment of the hospital’s head of accounting.
The interdicted Director of the Pharmacy Department of the hospital, Mrs Elizabeth Bruce, filed the contempt proceedings at the Human Rights Court against the CEO, Dr Gilbert Buckle; the Chairman of the Korle Bu board, Prof. Anthony Mawuli Sallar, and the hospital as an entity following the issuance of a letter terminating her appointment at a time she was contesting her interdiction in court.
Rendering an unqualified apology on behalf of his clients, counsel for the respondents, Mr King Hussein, informed the court that his clients did not intend to disrespect or bring the authority of the court into disrepute.
He, accordingly, prayed the court to take into consideration the decision by the respondents to withdraw Mrs Bruce’s termination letter.
Counsel for Mrs Bruce, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, said he was taken aback by the turn of events in court yesterday because he had received an affidavit in opposition to his contempt application a day before.
Nonetheless, he accepted the turn of events.
The contemnors and Mrs Bruce were all present in court.
The effect of yesterday’s development is that the substantive case will take its normal course.
It has been fixed for July 30, 2015 for hearing.
Based on the foregoing, Mr Justice Kofi Essel-Mensah, the presiding judge, discharged the respondents and awarded costs of GHc2,000 in favour of Mrs Bruce.
King Hussein had earlier informed the court at its sitting in Accra yesterday that although Mrs Bruce had not been formally handed a letter of termination, his clients had withdrawn it.
Thus the status quo had been restored and that Mrs Bruce remained a member of staff of the hospital but was currently on interdiction pending the outcome of investigations into alleged financial malfeasance at the Pharmacy Department.
Mrs Bruce, in April 2015, took legal action after she was interdicted in January 2015 for allegedly misappropriating funds at the Pharmacy Department.
The court was yet to hear the matter after the hospital had filed its defence when the respondents proceeded to dismiss her in June 2015, resulting in the filing of the contempt application.
The court, on July 8, 2015, advised parties in the case to attempt settlement.
An affidavit in support of the motion averred that following an unlawful “forensic audit” exercise by a private firm of chartered accountants pursuant to an unlawful appointment by the Minister of Health, she was unlawfully interdicted on January 29, 2015 by the respondents, without recourse to the mandatory provisions of the Ghana Health Service and Teaching Hospitals Act, 1996 (Act 525) and the Civil Service Regulations, 1960 (L.I. 47).
It noted that after her interdiction, an Administrative Enquiry Committee was unlawfully set up by the respondents to establish her culpability, if any, in the findings of the forensic audit exercise.
It said on April 10, 2015, the applicant instituted a civil action for a number of reliefs, which included an order for her reinstatement.
According to the affidavit, the respondents were fully aware of the pendency of the suit but nevertheless proceeded to dismiss her through the issuance of a press release dated June 17, 2015.
It said the willful disregard of the authority of the court by Prof. Sallar and Dr Buckle made them inexcusably liable to be committed to prison and a hefty fine ought to be imposed on the hospital in order to vindicate the undoubted authority of the court.
The contemnors have since been discharged following the withdrawal of their decision to dismiss Mrs Bruce.
Source: Daily Graphic
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