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Opinions of Saturday, 16 July 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Atta-Akyea Pays for Humiliating A-G Amidu in Ya-Na Case

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I do not, by this piece, intend to mount a vigorous defense of either the public image or hard-earned reputation of, arguably, Ghana’s finest criminal defense lawyer of his generation. It ought to be more than amply clear by now that Mr. Samuel Atta-Akyea is capable of both swiftly and vigorously defending himself and, perhaps, even this writer, should the occasion and/or need arise. I am only writing to highlight the fact that unless the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is resoundingly booted out of office next year, in much the same manner that President John Evans Atta-Mills eloquently put an imperious and insufferably presumptuous Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings in her place in Sunyani last Saturday, at the party’s quite historic presidential primary, Ghanaian democracy would be seriously imperiled by a vicious culture of executive vigilantism of the sort that is notoriously exemplified by former President Jerry John Rawlings.
Needless to say, any well-meaning reader who surfed the Internet on Tuesday, July 12, 2011, must have come across an overblown picture of the lead defense lawyer in the trial of the “Ya-Na Scapegoats” under the decidedly sensational and obscene banner headline of “Atta-Akyea Arrested for Stealing.” And on the latter score, particular references must be made of, and Remarkably, decided to put a more dramatic spin on its caption as follows: “Renowned NPP MP Arrested for Stealing.”
What was nauseatingly disturbing about the afore-referenced publications is the fact that in terms of content, almost none of the news bulletins featured under these banner headlines offered any substantive details forensically and/or objectively proving that, indeed, the Member of Parliament for Akyem-Abuakwa South had stolen anything from anybody. One had to actually visit the website of The (Ghanaian) Statesman, under the far more accurate caption of “AG Orders Atta-Akyea’s Arrest,” under the byline of Fifi Arhin, to garner any meaningful perspective on the same subject.
In the main, we learn of the quite ordinary dispute between a businessman by the name of Mr. Joseph Adom and his firm called J. Adom Limited, on the one hand, and the distinguished legal practice of which Mr. Atta-Akyea is the head, namely, Zoe, Akyea & Co. Quite pedestrian because a legion stories abound on attorney-client disputes and breaches of trust over retainers and other legal fees all over the world. And, needless to say, the Adom-Akyea impasse is more often the norm than the exception, unless, of course, one chooses to blindly lap up the bogus version presented by the scary-faced Attorney-General Martin Amidu and the rather unhealthily politicized Ghanaian police personnel who, by the way, upon direct instructions from Mr. Amidu, decided to rudely effect the totally unnecessary arrest of the Abuakwa-South MP while Mr. Atta-Akyea was, reportedly, amid an evidentiary presentation in the very case involving his legal practice and his accuser and plaintiff, Mr. Joseph Adom!
In sum, what we have here, fellow countrymen and women, is the Hon. Samuel Atta-Akyea getting arrested by Attorney-General Martin Amidu for duly responding to a summons from the Commercial Division of the Accra High Court! In other words, there seems to be incontrovertibly present in the action of Attorney-General Amidu, an element of unpardonable viciousness that defies both sound judgment and common sense, and can only be explained in terms of vendetta. For starters, Attorney-General Amidu, in capriciously causing the summary arrest of Mr. Atta-Akyea, without the latter having refused to personally and physically respond to a summons from a legitimately constituted court of law, has acted ultra vires. Secondly, in presuming to effect the criminal arrest of Mr. Atta-Akyea for a purely civil matter to which the arrestee was already in dutiful response, Attorney-General Amidu has amply demonstrated his complete lack of either the professional skills and/or experience required to perform in his portfolio as the Government’s Chief Lawyer. And even as one of Mr. Atta-Akyea’s lawyers rightly pointed out, the firm of J. Adom Ltd., with which his client’s legal practice is in heated litigation, is not a state enterprise; and so how come that the Attorney-General would elect to not only take the side of proprietor Joseph Adom but even more curiously, cause the dramatic public humiliation of the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Akyem-Abuakwa South?
We even learn from the Statesman’s reportage of Mr. Atta-Akyea’s arrest that Attorney-General Amidu and, in effect, the National Democratic Congress government of President John Evans Atta-Mills, flagrantly and deliberately violated the constitutional edict on the need to inform Mrs. Joyce Bamford-Addo, Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, of the Government’s intended arrest of an honorable member of the House!
As of this writing (7/13/11), the Akyem-Abuakwa South MP had, reportedly, posted a GH¢100,000 bail with one surety. We hope that Ghanaian voters are studiously monitoring this seemingly ceaseless and wanton breach of law and order by the Mills-Mahama government, in full readiness of returning this clinical posse of “suited” hoodlums back to the gray margins of society where they rightly belong. As for Attorney-General Amidu, our simple and terse advice is as follows: Attempting to publicly humiliate the Hon. Samuel Atta-Akyea is no viable alternative to duly causing the apprehension of the real killers of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, as well as providing sustainable forensic evidence to induce the indictment, prosecution, conviction and incarceration of the same. Long Live Ghanaian Democracy and the Inviolable Rule of Freedom and Justice!

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of 22 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (, 2005). E-mail: