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General News
NDC MPs boycott parliament in solidarity 2/7/2007
Accra, Feb. 6, GNA - National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday described the 10 years'' imprisonment slapped on Dan Abodakpi, Member for Keta, by an Accra Fast Track High Court as a miscarriage of justice.

They have, therefore, begun an indefinite boycott of Parliament in solidarity with their colleague, who was jailed on Monday for causing financial loss to the State.

"Following the meeting of the Functional Executive (of NDC) yesterday (Monday), the Party has directed the Parliamentary Caucus not to participate in the work of Parliament commencing today (Tuesday) in solidarity with our imprisoned colleague, Dan Abodakpi for obvious miscarriage of justice," Dr Kwabena Adjei, Chairman of the NDC said. Speaking at a well-attended press conference where almost all the 94 NDC MPs wearing red headgears and armbands with some in mourning clothes, were present, Dr Adjei said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had not abandoned its declared agenda to use the Fast Track High Courts to destroy the NDC through the use of political trials to jail the Party''s leading members and functionaries.

Flanked by Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, General Secretary and Mr Alban Bagbin, The Minority Leader, Dr Adjei said Abodakpi, who was Former Minister of Trade and Industry under the NDC Administration, was the latest victim of the agenda.

Dr Adjei said in its 18th December final submission, the Prosecution made the categorical statement that the accused person wilfully caused the loss of 250,000 dollars and not 400,000 dollars. He said the Prosecution had said by so doing the accused person had wilfully caused the nation 250,000 dollars in excess of what should have been paid.

This, he said, showed that even the Prosecution had revised the original quantum of loss from the initial 400,000 dollars to 250,000 dollars and that it represented a tacit acceptance by the Prosecution that some work was done for which indeed payment had been made. "It, therefore, beats our wildest imagination how the learned Judge could still proceed to pronounce judgment and sentence on the basis of the original charge of 400,000 dollars financial loss."

The money, whose transfers were authorised by Victor Selormey (Deceased), Former Deputy Minister of Finance, was to be used as fees for feasibility studies towards the establishment of Science and Technology Valley Park Farm Project.

Dr Adjei said during the trial, a Prosecution Witness, Mr Bibilazu of the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) admitted under oath that the minimum amount that an offshore company would charge for such a project would be between 75,000 dollars and 150,000 dollars and that when asked what the maximum amount in his estimation was, he stated that there was no evidence.

"If there was no maximum, then on what basis was the 400,000 dollars cost of the project described to be a loss to the State? It will amaze you that, as I speak to you today, the money which is supposed to be at the centre of this case and which is deemed to have been lost to the State is still sitting in the frozen account of Dr Fred Owusu-Boadu at ECOBANK Ghana."

Dr Adjei said strange events characterized the judgment of the Abodakpi trial on Monday in that "just as the Judge had started reading the first paragraph of his judgment, a clerk walked in and whispered into his ears.

"He then paused for a while, left the courtroom and returned to his Chamber. He returned after about 10 minutes clutching in his hands a blue diary. He then started reading all over again and in the process appeared so confused that he kept referring to the National Democratic Congress as the National Defence Council."

Dr Adjei said Abodakpi had, therefore, become the latest victim of NPP''s politics of judicial manipulation and political witch hunting designed purely to decimate the main opposition.

He said an application by Defence Counsel for leniency, a well-established practice in Commonwealth countries, was denied. Giving an addendum of cases that he described as crying even for simple investigation to establish the truth or otherwise of allegation that have appeared in the media since 2001, Dr Adjei said President John Agyekum Kufuor had indicated that he would not proceed to take action on newspaper allegations. Persons who had evidence on any of those matters must provide such evidence to the State before any action was taken.

Ironically, he said, 93many of the cases currently being prosecuted against NDC officials also began as mere newspaper allegations. This attitude of the First Citizen of State runs completely counter to his avowed policy of zero tolerance for corruption. We believe that justice must be blind and that the sword of justice must cut in any direction notwithstanding political or ethnic affiliation." He said 93this cycle of vengeance where justice was administered selectively based on one''s political coloration must be broken especially in this unique year as the nation celebrates 50 years of independence".

Dr Adjei said those currently administering this measure of justice must remember that the same measure with which they judged their political opponents today might be the same measure by which they would be judged in the future.

Mr Bagbin, The Minority Leader, noted that Abodakpi still remained a Member of Parliament and that his seat still remained for him until all the avenues for appeal had been exhausted.

He said the difference between Mr Abodakpi and Mr Eric Amoateng, NPP MP for Nkoranza North, who has been arrested in the US on alleged drug charges, was that the former did not write to the Speaker for permission to absent himself from Parliament while the latter wrote for permission to visit his sick daughter.

However, after his arrest he said he went to buy wrist watches and had since not explained the reason for his absence though he sent a letter of resignation.

Mr Asiedu-Nketia said that these events would not shake the resolution of the NDC to fully participate in the constitutional governance of the country and to give voice to its teeming supporters and sympathizers across the country.

"The NDC is here to stay and the earlier some people adjusted to that reality, the better it will be for our dear nation Ghana."


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