Human Rights Court Presided by Court of Appeal Judge sitting with additional responsible as a High Court Judge has ordered the State through the Ministry of Communications, to release all documents covering the controversial Kelni GVG contract to applicants who are in Court challenging the contract on the basis that some provisions in the contract if executed will amount to a breach of their Fundamental Human Rights to Privacy.
An application instituted at the Human Rights High Court by plaintiffs, Sara Asafu-Adjaye and Maximus Amertogoh, seeking, among others, an interlocutory injunction to restrain the government and its assigns from implementing and operationalizing a Common Platform to monitor revenues of telecommunication companies was adjourned to today the 3rd of July 2018 for hearing because the judge needed some time to study the documents as filed by the parties.
Today in Court
Today in court, the Presiding Judge, Justice Anthony Yeboah, after studying the documents said he is statisfyed with the demand by the applicants, for the release of all documents pertaining to the contract for their perusal. He subsequently ordered that the State should compile same and submit to the Registrar of the Court for the Lawyers of the applicants to pick it up on or before the 9th of July 2018.
The Court directed the State to submit the documents to the registry because the letter submitted as part of the application by the plaintiffs demanding the release of the contractual documents did not identify and or specific the person who will be responsible for receiving the documents. The court in its wisdom therefore concluded that the State should filed them at the registry for the lawyers of the applicants to go for it.
The Case of the Applicants
The applicant are before the Court because they insist that having followed the public debate and upon further enquiry, they gathered that the 1st (Ministry of Communication), 2nd (National Communication Authority) and 3rd (Ghana Revenue Authority) respondents, who are primarily responsible for the implementation of the common platform intend to carry out the exercise in a manner which will be in breach of the applicant’s fundamental human right to privacy.”
The plaintiffs claim that the architecture of the common platform to be implemented is such that instead of connecting to only the billing node provided by the telecom companies as stipulated under Act 864, the connection will be made to all the physical nodes, and it will be a breach of Article 18 (2) of the 1992 Constitution. According to the applicants, the mobile networks have a statutory duty to protect their customers, including the plaintiffs under Section 73 of the Electronic Communications Act 2008 (Act 775) by ensuring that correspondence and communications of customers are not intercepted or interfered with.
They insisted that in the current form, a third party acting on behalf of the government even without a court order can intercept communications and correspondences, including text messages and voice calls of customers of mobile network operators. The applicants also believe that the intended implementation of the common platform constitutes a real threat to the enjoyment of their fundamental human right to privacy, adding that the implementation of the common platform and its attendant breach of the applicant’s right to privacy will be irreparable.
Representation in Court
The Deputy Minister for Communication, George Andah, was present in court as well as representatives for the Court hearing. Lawyers Eddy Macharty and Kofi Bentil, represented the applicants while the State was represented by