General News of Friday, 25 January 2013
The former Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Adamu Dramani Sakande, has denied reports that he is bed-ridden and has been flown out of Ghana for medical attention.
A number of newspapers today published stories, suggesting that the convicted former lawmaker’s health has deteriorated so much and has been flown out of Ghana for medical care.
Speaking to Citi fm from his Tema home, the former legislator said, “The story of my being flown out for medical care is creating fear and panic. It is simply not true.”
“Yes I am due for medical check-up in the United Kingdom but the impression is not as bad as being suggested by sections of the media...Moreover, I am yet to leave Ghana for the UK.”
Last year, an Accra Fast Track High Court sentenced Mr. Dramani to two years imprisonment after he was found guilty of false declaration of office, perjury and deceit of a public officer.
The state pressed the charges after a cattle farmer from Bawku, Smuaila Bilbil, filed a civil suit claiming Hon Dramani held multiple citizenship and therefore did not qualify under the 1992 Constitution to have run for the office of MP.
For the better part of his incarceration, the former MP spent time receiving medical attention at the cardiothoracic Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for a medical condition that is not publicly known.
On January 31, 2012 President John Mahama, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by article 72 of the 1992 Constitution, granted the ailing former MP “pardon” based on what his spokesperson, John Abdulai Jinapor, described as “medical grounds.” The pardon led to his release from the custody of the state, making him a freeman.
Prior to Hon Dramani’s conviction, the Fast Track Court that ordered his incarceration seized his Ghanaian passport in an attempt to block him from leaving the country during the duration of his trial. But, following the January 31 presidential pardon, Hon Dramani says he has re-claimed his Ghanaian passport.
He said, “My Ghanaian passport has been returned to me by the court authorities and I am still working my travel arrangements to go to the UK.”
“These stories about my failing health have caused so much anxiety and panic....I am therefore using your medium to reassure my friends and followers that the impression conveyed by the stories in the public domain is misleading.”
In spite of his conviction, Hon Dramani continued to be recognised as the representative of the people of Bawku Central in the fifth Parliament of the fourth Republic because, according to our parliamentary correspondent, “the Speaker did not declare his seat vacant.”
Our Correspondent explained, “Although Hon Dramani was in the custody of the state, he was always marked ‘absent with permission’ because he was fighting his conviction at the Appeals Court.
The precedence is clear from the case of former Keta MP, Hon Dan Abodkpi, who was convicted under the Kufour rule for causing financial loss to the state but continued to be recognised as MP until his tenure expired after the midnight of January 6, 2009.”
“Again, the precedence is also clear that while Hon Eric Amoateng of the Nkoranza North Constituency was on trial in the United States for drug peddling, his seat was not declared vacant until he wrote a letter to the then Speaker, Ebenezer Sekyie-Hughes, saying he had resigned as MP,” Richard Sky said.
He added, “Parliament’s position is that for as long as a convicted or detained sitting MP has not exhausted all the lawful and judicial channels available to him or her to seek redress, it would be against the rules of natural justice to declare his or her seat vacant.”