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General News of Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Source: Daily Guide

Victoria Hamah dodges CJ committee

The probe committee commissioned by Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to investigate the nine-member Supreme Court Justices, who sat on the 2012 Presidential election petition, over the allegation of influence, may be winding up its activities without the active cooperation of Victoria Hamah, the person at the centre of the controversy.

The sacked deputy minister of Communications, even though formally invited, did not make any appearance as she was said to have called for an extension to allow her to prepare adequately.

However, the committee that had two weeks to submit its report, as of yesterday had not heard from Ms Hamah, who was relieved of her ministerial appointment because of a damming private conversation which was secretly recorded and later played on radio.

The Date-Bah Committee started sitting two weeks ago and was expected to have submitted its report by now.

However, appearing before the committee yesterday, Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Nana Oye Lithur, who was alleged to have influenced the justices, parried the allegation.

Sir John Questions

Appearing for the second time before the committee, Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie aka Sir John, general secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), posed questions to Nana Oye to the effect that, out of the many women in cabinet why was it that she was the only person that Vicky Hamah mentioned as having influenced the justices who sat on the election petition.

Sir John asked her about the number of women in the Cabinet, to which Nana Oye answered that they were about eight and further asked why Ms Hamah would singled her out among the lot for allegedly influencing the Supreme Court Justices.

The NPP General Secretary wondered whether it was not surprising that out of the eight women, she was the only one capped with the allegation and asked whether the Gender Minister had issues with Vicky.

Nana Oye said she was not in a position to tell except the conveyor of the allegation, Ms Hamah, who incidentally had not appeared to clear the cloud on the horizon.

Sir John had asked the Chief Justice to investigate claims made Ms Hamah that Nana Oye played influential role including meeting the justices who sat on the landmark petition to secure victory for President John Mahama on August 29.

The committee, which is sitting in camera, met Nana Oye, wife of Tony Lithur, who is President John Mahama’s lawyer, around 10:00 am and the meeting was said to have been smooth.

She was said to have spent not less than 30 minutes after which the smartly dressed minister left in her Toyota Land Cruiser through the Ghana Law School exit.

Later, DAILY GUIDE met Sir John on the court’s premises and he remarked that it appeared to him that the committee might be bringing its investigation to an end.

He said to the best of his knowledge, Ms Hamah had not appeared before the committee and since the committee had no ‘coercive’ powers it was unlikely she would attend the sitting.

Sir John again expressed satisfaction with the committee’s work and said “they handled the issues well.”

DAILY GUIDE also caught up with Justice Date-Bah, who was about to leave the premises, but he declined to make any comments and would also not tell if the committee had concluded its work.

Sir John’s View

While before the committee, Sir John was said to have argued that there must be some iota of truth in the infamous secret recordings of Victoria Hamah, which has come to be known as ‘VikiLeaks’.

Sources said Sir John, a qualified lawyer, pointed out that Ms. Hamah made the statement without being prompted; she indeed made the statement in the comfort of her car while having a conversation with a colleague, under no duress.

On the tape, the embattled former minister was heard telling her confidant that, “… I learnt even before the [Supreme Court] judgement, Nana [Oye Lithur] was with the justices and all that. You don’t know the role she has played for us to win the court case…”

Ms. Hamah specifically indicated on the tape that the night before the Supreme Court election petition panel delivered their final judgement, Nana Oye-Lithur went to ‘see’ some of the Justices.

Lawyer Lithur is said to wield too much influence in the Mahama administration, as he is alleged to be controlling three ministries. This information was captured on the VickiLeaks.

The nine-member committee include prominent legal brains such as Nana Dr. S.K.B Asante, Paramount Chief of Asokore Traditional Area in the Ashanti Region and an international arbitrator; a representative of the Attorney General, Frank Beecham, a legal practitioner and former President of the Ghana Bar Association, among others.

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