An Accra High Court has ordered the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), headed by Kwame Asuah Takyi, to immediately release Ashok Kumar Sivaram, an Indian businessman, who has been detained unlawfully.
The court, presided over by Justice Kweku T. Ackaah-Boafo, held there was no valid reason for the Service to continue to detain the businessman.
The judge also instructed the Service to regularize the stay of Ashok in Ghana if it fails to charge him.
He said the applicant, like other persons, has rights which ought to be protected by the country.
The businessman sued the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery and head of Immigration Service for illegally deporting him.
In the deportation order, Ashok was accused of acquiring a “ forged marriage certificate in support of his application for citizenship in Ghana .”
He was deported on June 1, 2017 and fought his deportation through the lawyer who is based in Ghana.
But the court, in a ruling on July 31, 2017, stated that Ashok was illegally deported and ordered the two defendants to ensure his safe return to Ghana.
Ashok was however detained on August 2, 2017 when he arrived in Ghana at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) despite the verdict of the court.
Dissatisfied with the posture of the GIS and other respondents, lawyer for Ashok, Gary Nimako Marfo, filed an ex-parte application seeking an order of Habeas Corpus directed at the respondents.
“It is hereby ordered that the respondents shall produce the applicant, who has been detained at the Kotoka International Airport under the direction of the 1st respondent (Ambrose Dery) by 12:00 noon Friday, August 4, 2017 to justify the detention.”
“It is further ordered that the 3rd Respondent (Commander in charge of GIS) shall not remove the applicant from the jurisdiction if ordered by either the 1st or second Respondent (Mr. Takyi) before he is placed before the court.”
Peter G. Nantuo, who represented the respondents, said they were served with the order for Habeas Corpus on Thursday.
He stated that the applicant was not on detention, adding that Ashok returned to the country without a visa.
Lawyer Nantuo noted that his officers, owing to the circumstances surrounding the case, “rightly or wrongly caused Ashok’s arrest.”
He claimed Ashok, upon his arrest, was examined on arrival (disembarkation profiling) to see if the applicant had the requisite requirement to enter into the country.
Nanatuo explained that he “arrived improperly although he is unaware whether Ashok had requested for a visa on arrival.
According to him, although Ashok did not arrive properly, the immigration officers at the airport were “flexible due to the peculiarities of the case.”
Reeling under a barge of questions from the judge, Mr Nanatuo said, “My lord, that’s a tough one…”
Lawyer Gary said the treatment meted out to his client, who had stayed in the country for 17 years, was unfortunate.
He said Ashok had no criminal record and had employed about 160 Ghanaians.
According to the Safo & Marfo @ law Lawyer, the action by the respondent was a “clear defiance of the ruling of the court”
Surprised by the incoherent statements of Nanatuo, Justice Ackaah-Boafo retorted: “this is not a banana republic; this is a country with laws…”
“If you are going to charge him, charge him; what’s the basis for detaining him? Why is he in custody?
Justice Ackaah-Boafo noted: “He is not the first and won’t be the last to arrive in the country without a visa. You have the right to do your work but that has to be anchored within the law.”
He said “in this case, you have not told me anything to warrant his detention.”
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson