General News of Thursday, 8 April 2010
STATEMENT BY THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY ON RECENT POLITICAL PROSECUTIONS
The New Patriotic Party is firmly committed to the Rule of Law and the pursuit of justice. It is our firm belief that if any officer of the party or the government which was formed by it involves or involved himself in any impropriety, that person must not be protected or shielded from facing justice. However, events leading to the investigations and the initiation of prosecution against certain frontline personalities of the party give cause for concern.
It would be recalled that a little over three years ago, the former President of Ghana, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings openly and brazenly called upon the then Kufuor Administration to expand the facilities at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison to accommodate the Ministers and other officials of that Administration who would be thrown into prisons on the assumption of power by the National Democratic Congress of which he is the Founder. The Ex-President persistently and true to his character described, labeled and branded the former Ministers and some key officials of the Kufuor Administration as “murderers”, “thieves” and “corrupt”. He repeatedly made such pronouncements at practically every available local or international forum that he found himself at.
President Rawlings never on any such occasion provided any credible evidence of murder, thievery or corruption but hoarsely poured out his jaundiced tantrums. The 2008 manifesto of the NDC at many places asserts that the NPP government was “corrupt”. They provide no proof.
It is not surprising that thereafter some adherents and apologists of the National Democratic Congress including, rather unfortunately, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana and some otherwise senior journalists who ordinarily should know better, have entered the fray. It is important to remind ourselves that Mr. Justice Kpegah, contrary to the code of ethics of a Judge and the true import of his judicial oath has stated that whilst he was a sitting member of the Supreme Court, the most august court of our land, he assiduously assisted to bring the National Democratic Congress into power. These immense political pressures apparently constrained the incumbent Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Betty Mould-Iddrisu to openly proclaim at a political function in Kumasi recently and prior to the arraignment and prosecution of some former Ministers and key officials of the Kufuor Administration that she would jail those officials. The Honourable Attorney-General and Minister for Justice unfortunately transgressed her position as a member of the Executive branch of the Government under our democratic dispensation and arrogated to herself the sacred role of the Judiciary. That pronouncement was a veritably unpardonable constitutional aberration. Not quite surprisingly the Honourable Attorney-General has thereafter hurriedly bundled the officials and arraigned them before an Accra Fast Track High Court. It is significant to note that the names of the officials were mentioned in some pro NDC newspapers as having been charged with specific criminal offences when only police investigative statements had been taken from them. It is in only three cases that police caution statements had been taken from them. The same trace of unpreparedness was demonstrated in court when the Hon. Professor Gyan-Baffour’s name was mentioned as one of the accused persons “at large” when no police caution statement had been taken from him. Is this evidence of the rule of law or the work of men and women in “authority”?
The Attorney-General appears to be the embodiment of contradiction. Barely a week before the commencement of these prosecutions she is on record as having lamented the situation that whereas there is a cacophonous instigation for the prosecution of officers of the former administration the current sector ministers, fifteen months into Prof. Mills regime, have not produced any incriminating evidence based on which prosecutions should commence. What credible evidence has been assembled within five days which have engendered the initiation of prosecution now? Or are we laying the ground rules for persecutions instead of prosecutions? We may also remind ourselves of the President’s statement when he delivered his message on the State of the Nation to Parliament on February 25, 2010. The President at a point in his delivery paused and looking at the gallery boldly declared: “And let me say we are in the process (to vigorously prosecute all past and present officials of state) and very soon you will begin to see results”.
It is instructive to observe that this addition which the President made was not part of the original text submitted to Parliament. What was this meant for?
Recently President Atta Mills was confronted starkly with the case of alleged misappropriation and corruption at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The investigations into the allegations were clearly manipulated and the President crowned it with his pronouncement that what happened in that Ministry was a case of ‘exercise of the Ministerial indiscretion rather than official thievery and corruption’. The alleged acts were prosecutable but the self-proclaimed Father for all citizens irrespective of one’s political affiliation, race, religion or parenthood discriminatorily failed to prosecute his officials.
On the other hand, the President and his Attorney-General have kowtowed and succumbed to the unjustifiable political pressure from the Founder of the Party, Jerry Rawlings and some adherents to accelerate with disturbing alacrity the prosecution of NPP former Ministers and officials whilst the murderers, arsonists, rapists, dangerous assailants and unauthorized gun-wielders at Tamale, Chereponi, Bawku, Nalerigu, Garizlegu, Agbogbloshie, Akwatia, and other places roam the roads, streets, lanes and alleys of these respective communities untouched. One cannot forget to mention the irate Karaga gangster attack on a journalist and the infamous Karl Wilson Tema Harbour debacle which remains unresolved. We recount these episodes because, apparently, under President Atta-Mills, criminality is assuming political colours, which is a dangerous threat to our security and democracy. It is worthwhile to remind ourselves about the public inquiry into the affairs of Ghana at 50 secretariat. The Auditor-General had by then completed their auditing of the secretariat and were in the process if submitting their report to Parliament as constitutionally mandated. The obvious intent of that circus of an inquisition when the Auditor-General had completed their investigation was to arrest the constitutional process. Without doubt the integrity of the Auditor-General was at issue. What is the status of the report of the so-called probe into the Ghana @ 50? To the NDC if the constitutional process has to be circumvented to embarrass the NPP, so be it.
The Leadership of the NPP would like to assure the rank and file of the New Patriotic Party that, we continue to have confidence in the independence and integrity of our Judiciary to deliver. The Rule of Law and Democracy will triumph at the end of the day over pernicious prosecution of a political agenda against visible political opponents. This agenda and their sponsors will undoubtedly suffer irrecoverable defeat in 2012. The days of selective and discriminatory justice are numbered and Freedom and Justice which is the dream of our country will triumph. Justice contrived and brewed in the pot of propaganda and populism is justice denied. God bless our homeland Ghana.
New Patriotic Party April 7, 2010