State v. General Officer Commanding the Ghana Army; Ex Parte Braimah
A Nigerian national resident in Ghana, Yusufu Iteriba Aminu, was arrested on 3rd January, 1967 by the army on suspicion of stealing. On 4th January the Attorney General (AG) gave consent for Braimah’s detention for 28 days pursuant to section 15 (5) of Act 30 (as amended by N.L.C.D. 93). After the expiration of the 28-day period, the AG issued another consent for the detention of Yusufu for an additional 28 days. Yaya Aminu Braimah, the nephew of Yusufu, applied to the High Court, Accra, for a writ of habeas corpus for the release of Yusufu.
The for a writ of habeas corpus was sought at the High Court and was granted. The General Officer Commanding the Ghana Armed Forces appealed the ruling. The case is now at the Court of Appeal for determination.
1. Whether or not the AG had the power to issue a second consent after the expiration of the first consent.
Arguments of the Attorney General:
1. The AG argued that per the provisions in section 10 (1) and (2) of the Interpretation Act, he had the power to issue a second consent after the expiration of the first.
Arguments of Counsel for Braimah:
1. Contented that the exercise of the Attorney-General’s power “from time to time as occasion requires” as stipulated in section 10(1) and (2) of the Interpretation Act only refers to the exercise of the power in the case of a different person, and not to be repeatedly exercised in the case of the same person.
1. That the Attorney General had the power to issue a second consent after the expiration of the first consent.
The court ruled that the inquiry into the matters relating to the arrest of Yusufu was complex enough to require its completion a longer time than 28 days. The court held that the addition of subsection 5 to the Criminal Procedure Code was meant to allow the police continue with their investigations if the initial 24-hour detention period elapsed whilst investigations were still in process. The subsection stipulated that consent ought to be obtained from the AG for the purposes of protracted detention, and the AG gave consent through his second consent.