The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has initiated disciplinary action against Emmanuel Ayitah Quansah, a fire officer who beat a court bailiff.
Quansah, an Assistant Divisional Officer Grade II (ADO II) of the GNFS, was jailed for two days by a High Court in Accra last Tuesday for his action after being found guilty of contempt of court.
A statement by the GNFS said the service’s attention was drawn to the incident following a publication in the July 7, 2023 edition of the Daily Graphic.
As a result of the incident, the statement said, the GNFS had formed a committee to investigate the matter and make appropriate recommendations.
“A committee has been formed to look into the issue involving ADO II Quansah Ayitah Emmanuel and come out with appropriate recommendations if he is found culpable. The committee has been given two weeks to submit its report,” the statement said.
The GNFS cautioned its officers to be disciplined and act in accordance with the laws of the land and the code of conduct of the service, adding that failure to do so would necessitate the service instituting disciplinary action against such errant officers.
“Management of the service would like to assure the general public that it frowns on misconduct of any form and is committed to uphold the highest disciplinary standards. Management shall, therefore, take appropriate disciplinary action against any officer who goes contrary to the disciplinary code of conduct.
“Management, therefore, reminds all personnel of the service to exhibit discipline at all times, abide by and comply with the Ghana National Fire Service Disciplinary Regulations (L.I. 1725) as anyone found contrary to the regulations shall be made to face the full rigours of the law,” the statement added.
Guilty of contempt
On July 5, the Probate and Administration Division of the Accra High Court sentenced Quansah to two days’ imprisonment for beating a court bailiff.
Quansah was found guilty of contempt of court for beating the bailiff who wanted to serve him with documents in a civil case.
The court, presided over by Justice Sarah Aryeee, held that assault on judicial officers must not be encouraged.
“This canker has to be nipped in the bud.
“The respondent is found guilty of contempt of court since he failed to purge himself when the court gave him the opportunity to do so,” the court held.
The case was brought to the attention of the court by the Judicial Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG).
Per the court records, the bailiff decided to serve the fire officer at his home with court documents in relation to a dispute over a will of someone.
Quansah refused to accept the court process, insisting that it should be served at his office.
According to court documents, the bailiff threw the process at the fire officer, who got annoyed and beat up the bailiff.
Making a case for the Fire Officer to be committed for contempt, counsel for JUSAG, Theophilus Donkor, said the bailiff was performing his official duties, and should not have been subjected to such an assault.
“The respondent, being a serving Fire Service officer, ought to have known that the bailiff was performing his official duties, and if he had any challenge with the process or the mode the bailiff was using, he could have come to court to verify.
“He should not have resorted to taking the law into his own hands,” the counsel said.
After the ruling, some bailiffs and court officials at the Law Court Complex in Accra expressed their displeasure at what they described as a lenient punishment for the fire officer.
“We do not want to take the law into our own hands but we think it is not fair for the judge to impose only two days sentence on someone who beat an officer of the court.
“This is the highest form of contempt,” one bailiff told the Daily Graphic.