The Judicial Service has dismissed the Registrar of the Land Division of the High Court in Tema, Sebastian Agbo, for “fraudulently preparing over 30 court orders.”
Mr Agbo was dismissed by the Judicial Service on May 18, 2023.
A notice of dismissal dated Wednesday, June 7, 2023 and signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, advised people from dealing with Mr Agbo as a staff of the Judicial Service.
“The General Public and Staff of the Judicial Service are hereby informed that Mr Sebastian Agbo formerly of the Land Court, Tema was dismissed from the Judicial Service of Ghana on 18th May , 2023 for fraudulently preparing thirty (30) Court orders, a major offence under Section 37(a) of the Conditions of Service for Senior and Junior Employees of the Judicial Service.
In view of the ongoing, Mr Sebastian Agbo no longer represents the Judicial Service.
All persons who deal with him therefore do so at their own peril. Please be advised accordingly,” the statement said.
It would be recalled that Graphic Online reported that the Supreme Court had referred Mr Agbo to the Chief Justice for investigations in a case over the estate of a deceased pastor.
It turned out that even before the referral by the apex court, Mr Agbo had already been interdicted by the Judicial Service over certain questionable acts as the Registrar of the Tema High Court.
The Supreme Court in its decision dated Tuesday [June 6, 2023], also referred for investigations Justice Emmanuel Ankamah, the then Tema High Court judge, who presided over the case involving the estate of the deceased pastor in 2022, and is now a Justice of the Court of Appeal.
In a unanimous decision, a five member panel of the apex court, presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, said the antecedents of the case cast a slur on the integrity of the judicial system.
“In our collective wisdom, we deem it appropriate to refer this case to the Chief Justice to cause further investigations into the conduct of the learned trial judge and Sebastian Agbo, then Registrar of the High Court, Tema under whose tenure the sordid affairs happened.
This should cover all officers who played any role in this shameful specie of conduct,” the court said.
The decision was the valedictory judgment of Justice Jones Dotse, who retired Thursday [June 8, 2023].
The other Justices on the panel were Avril Lovelace-Johnson, Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu, Henrietta Mensah Bonsu and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi.
The highest court of the land made the referral to the Chief Justice after it granted a certiorari application quashing the decision of Justice Ankamah which struck out a caveat challenging the letters of administration for the sharing of the properties in the estate of the late Rev Emmanuel Dorgbadzi.
A caveat is a document that is filed in court to prevent the proposed executors or administrators of a deceased person’s estate from getting permission to administer the estate assets.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Dotse held that Justice Ankamah failed to give the caveators a hearing before striking out the caveat and, therefore, the court breached the rules of natural justice.
It was the considered view of the court that the evidence on record showed that the case was not listed for hearing, but strangely it was heard on the blind side of the caveators, with the presiding judge striking out the said caveat for want of prosecution and granting the letters of administration to the interested parties.
According to Justice Dotse, the irregular manner in which the case was determined pointed to the fact that the presiding judge “appeared to be biased against the applicants”.
Again, the court wondered why Justice Ankamah struck out the caveat when the issues raised in the caveat were of outmost importance as it raises questions of capacity of the parties who filed the letters of administration.
“It is therefore clear that the affidavit filed by the applicants herein that had raised serious issues of fact and law as regards priorities of grant of the letters of administration. That being the case, the learned trial judge should have been circumspect in casually dismissing this caveat,’ the court held.
Apart from quashing the decision by the Tema High Court, the Supreme Court also prohibited Justice Ankamah and the Registrar of the High Court from ever dealing with the case.
The Supreme Court further questioned the values of the properties in the estate listed in the letter of administration, describing them as undervalued and deceptive.
For example, the letters of administration valued a hospital at Obuasi at GH¢60,000, a school at Obuasi at GH¢35,000 and a the house of the deceased at Tema valued at GH¢30,000.
In view of this, the Supreme Court also referred the interested parties in the certiorari application who filed the letter of administration at the Tema High Court as well as their lawyers.
“We further advise and urge the Hon Chief Justice to cause investigations into the apparent devise by the interested
parties herein to undervalue the Estate of the deceased.
Learned Counsel who filed the application for and on behalf of the interested parties should be made to give explanation as to the basis for the valuation in respect of the properties stated herein,’ the court added.