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General News
Prison Stinks - Abodakpi Cries 8/27/2007
Dan Abodakpi, the jailed Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta has decried the poor conditions at the Nsawam Maximum Security Prison, and therefore appealed to his colleague MPs to help address the situation. The MP made the appeal when the leadership of Parliament paid him a visit to learn about his state of health and show solidarity with their jailed colleague.

Members of the press who accompanied the delegation were denied entry and therefore not privy to the interaction between the MPs and Mr. Abodakpi. Briefing journalists later, Messrs Abraham Ossei Aidooh, Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs; and Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader, disclosed that Mr. Abodakpi was in good health and looked cheerful.

They said Mr. Abodakpi raised concern about the poor conditions in the prison and urged his colleagues to do something about the situation since the prison could be ‘anyone’s home’. One of the major concerns raised by the jailed MP was that the prison lacked tools for the training of inmates who were supposed to be reformed after serving their jail terms. He mentioned the lack of Information Technology Communication (ICT) training for the inmates and called for urgent attention to it.

The leadership of Parliament insisted that since Mr. Abodakpi had filed an appeal at the law courts, he was still an MP until the case had been properly disposed of. They therefore disagreed with the assertion in some quarters that since he had been incarcerated, he must vacate his seat in Parliament and forfeit all privileges attached to that position. “Under the law, he remains a Member of Parliament and until the appeal is resolved, he is entitled to all privileges of Parliament, including his salary until the appeal is determine against him or otherwise. We stand by him until the process is exhausted,” they stressed.

The leadership also intimated that their visit was to demonstrate to the other arms of government that there was the need for brotherly relations, friendship and togetherness among all of them. They dispelled rumours that Abodakpi was receiving special or preferential treatment and said there was no such thing in prison.Mr. Abodakpi, a former Trade Minister, stood trial with the late Victor Selormey, a former deputy Minister of Finance, on counts of conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences and willfully causing a total of ¢ 2.73 billion financial loss to the State.

The fraud was said to have been committed when Abodakpi and the late Victor Selormey co-chaired a Trade and Investment Programme. The two were said to have caused the transfer of $400,000 during Abodakpi’s tenure as Minister from a TIPP interest account lodged with ECOBANK Ghana Limited into the personal account of the project consultant, Dr Fredrick Boadu. Mr. Lithur, his lawyer, who had taken over the brief for the incarcerated MP, stunned the court hearing his case and the entire country when he challenged Justice Henrietta Abban to deny that she was the person who influenced Justice F. T. Farkye to jail his client. Mr. Abodakpi is expected to reappear in court on October 19, 2007.

Other members of the entourage were Messrs. Doe Adjaho and Kwabena Okerchiri, Minority and Majority Chief Whips respectively, Mr. Jones Kugblenu, Director, Public Affairs of Parliament and some officials of the Parliamentary Service. The leadership of Parliament later visited Madam Grace Coleman, MP for Effiduase Asokore at her Roman Ridge residence in Accra.

She was said to be indisposed.

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