An Accra High Court on Wednesday, threw away an application by ex-Speaker of Parliament, Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes to have the lawsuit filed over his reported attempt to hijack the law firm of “Gaisie Zwennes Hughes & Company” transferred to Takoradi in the Western Region for adjudication.
The case, has been filed in Accra against him by two prominent Ghanaian lawyers; Charles William Zwennes and Peter Raymond Zwennes, who are partners in the law firm, accusing him of trying to kick them out using “falsified documents” to “surreptitiously” gain total control of over the 67-year-old law firm based in Accra and Takoradi in the Western Region.
In less than an hour of arguments by both parties, the court threw out the application, agreeing with Charles and Peter Zwennes that the application to transfer that case to Takoradi was unmeritorious.
The ex-Speaker, had claimed that he was a resident of Takoradi Beach Road and, therefore, prayed the court to transfer the case there for adjudication, but he was asked by the court to face the music and dance to his actions in Accra, where his alleged act was committed.
Charles and Peter, had explained that “ever since the retirement of the Defendant/Applicant on Tuesday, 6th of January 2009 from his holding of the high public office of Speaker of the House of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, Plaintiff/Respondents and most sections of the general public have known as a common fact that Defendant/Applicant’s private residence is at 27, 1st Circular Road, Cantonments, Accra.
The court agreed with them, ruling that in the absence of contrary evidence provided by the ex-Speaker, it was of the view that he did live in Accra, more than periodically, and therefore his application should be dismissed.
Mr Sekyi Hughes, has been sued by Charles and Peter under the address of his home in Cantonments Accra, where he has lived since leaving the government bungalow as the Speaker of Parliament, until the end of his term of service in January 2009.
He was said to have evaded service by bailiffs at his house in Cantonments Accra, and on the separate occasions that the bailiff went to serve him, the security guards at his gate claimed he had travelled abroad.
As a result, the plaintiffs obtained a substituted service order from the court allowing service on the defendant to be treated by publication of the lawsuit in the newspapers and by pasting it on the gate post of his house in Cantonments Accra.
This was duly done and finally, some days later Mr Sekyi Hughes, entered a Conditional Appearance.
Strangely, instead of filing a defence on the merits of the claims made against him, Mr Sekyi Hughes, opted for a technicality, saying that the lawsuit against him should not be heard and tried in Accra, but rather should be transferred to Takoradi.
His reason for his request was that he did not live in Accra, but rather that he lived in Takoradi. He did not, however, deny that he maintained a home in Accra, and he did not offer to the court any address that he claimed he lived in Takoradi.
In court on Wednesday, the defendant argued that the plaintiff had sued him in his capacity as a partner. The court corrected the lawyer for the defendant by stating that the plaintiffs had not sued him as a partner in a partnership action, but that they had rather sued him for his conduct which they complained was misconduct.
The Counsel, also argued that his client lived in Takoradi, and not in Accra, however, evidence was led in the affidavits to show that the defendant had taken things from the government house in 2009 when his tenure as Speaker ended not to a place in Takoradi, but to his house in Cantonments.
The defendant’s counsel asked that the court make a finding that the venue be changed to Takoradi, because the defendant worked there and spent most of his time there.
But Charles and Peter, replied that Mr Sekyi Hughes did not give any alternative address to the one in Cantonments that they contended was his home.
Charles, who argued out the case, remarked that in the affidavit of the defendant, he simply described himself as “Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes of Takoradi, Western Region”, was not an address, but rather much like: “Robin Hood of Sherwood Forrest, Nottingham”.
He urged the court to find the affidavit as non-compliant with rules of court which require a deponent of an affidavit to properly state his full address.
Charles also pointed out to the court that before suing Mr Sekyi Hughes, he had characteristically been evading meeting them to answer questions they wanted to pose to him about false entries he made on the partnership register, which caused them to finally sue him.
Charles described the attempt to transfer the case to Takoradi, as just another attempt by Mr Sekyi Hughes to continue his game of hide and seek, having earlier evaded service, hence the writ had to be served on him by publication in the national dailies.
The court has since directed the ex-Speaker, who was not in court on Wednesday to file his defence within two weeks for the case to commence.