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General News
Press Statement By Martin Amidu 3/12/2007
had been contacted by journalists and other citizens seeking my comments regarding the recent conviction and sentencing of the Hon. Dan Aboakpi to a term of imprisonment of ten years, among other things, for causing financial loss to the state as well as the reaction and boycott of Parliament by the NDC Members of Parliament. I thought it appropriate to let the passions surrounding the issues to subside and for reason to prevail before formally addressing these important matters.

The media have reported that Hon. Dan Abodakpi has requested that members boycotting the parliamentary proceedings return to the business of the people. Despite his difficult personal situation, his request was correct and his judgment wise. Hon. Abodakpi was convicted by a duly constituted court of law and he has appealed the conviction and sentence to another court pursuant to our system of justice. Based on my experience, the overwhelming majority of judges are independent and they are certainly not subject to direction or pressure from third parties including the executive branch of government. Additionally, the career prosecutors in the Attorney''s General''s Department do not take dictation from the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General regarding the merits or otherwise of their cases or in their prosecution of them. It would therefore be improper for any entity including my party to cast aspersions on the integrity or independence of these fine public servants.

It is of course the province of any government including the current one to prosecute any crimes that it alleges have been committed. Professor Mills and I had promised to investigate and prosecute all reasonable allegations of corruption and abuse of office if we won the 2000 elections. We indeed intended to do so - these are crimes which go beyond Governments and constitute violence to the very structures of the society.

What is worrisome is the prosecution of only members of the former administration and a complete refusal or failure to prosecute contemporaneously known offences committed by the current government’s own appointees. We are witnesses to the cesspool of corruption, bribery, fraud, waste and abuse of the country''s resources as well as the infiltration of dug money into our country. The latter have tended to degrade morals and our institutions and they have affected the reputation and commitment of our country.

Selective prosecution of persons who are suspected of committing the same or similar offences is not only in consistent with the Constitution but it is also against all international laws on human rights and freedoms. This was why one expected that investigations of the several allegations of corruption and abuse of office by members of the current government would have been undertaken and completed for prosecution to demonstrate zero tolerance for crime. A prosecutor cannot prosecute unless a docket is submitted to him. A court cannot try a case that is not before it. The current government does not appear to be interested in a fair administration of criminal justice. It is thereby politicizing the administration of criminal justice for purely political partisan and electoral objectives.

It is also worrisome that the current government is quick to assert the distinction the Constitution makes between the Executive arm of Government and Political Parties when allegations of criminal conduct are made against its appointees or other affiliates of the NPP but spins prosecutions of members of the former administration as though the NDC was on trial. This position of the government and the NPP on the Kufour Hotelgate to the Amoateng’sgate drug trafficking in America are cases in point. I would, therefore, be at pains to understand how the NDC could allow the NPP to saddle it with any direct or indirect moral or legal responsibility for any suspected criminal conduct on my part, for instance, when I was an appointee of the Executive.

We cannot as a nation expand democracy, sustain stability, and fight crime if we lock our country up in a partisan prosecution of criminal offences for the sole purpose of political gains at public elections.

Professor John Evans Atta Mills was nominated at the last NDC Congress as its Presidential candidate to contest the 2008 Presidential elections. That was an unequivocal mandate by the Party to him to takeover absolute leadership and control of the Party to win the 2008 elections under his vision for achieving Social Democracy in Ghana. The surest way the NDC can support and effectively implement a system of a fair and equal administration of criminal justice on its own terms is to support him to win the 2008 elections. I believe he will win the 2008 elections. Every Ghanaian who shares this belief should let us concentrate on that task now. That is the surest way to defend the Constitution and serve every persecuted Ghanaian better.

Martin A. B. K. Amidu (Formerly Deputy Attorney-General And Deputy Secretary/Minister for Justice) 01/03/07

Source:
GHP

 
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