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General News of Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Source: Daily Mail

Cash for Justice: Coalition to petition ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council


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Ghana’s Coalition for Equal Rights and Justice (CERAJ) has told the media it is filing a petition to the Mediation and Security Council (MSC) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against a Senior State Attorney who was implicated in Ghana in a proven bribery and extortion scandal.

Emmanuel Lawrence Otoo-Boison was caught on undercover videotapes taking money and a pregnant goat to free an accused person, Mohammed Awal, who is standing a rape trial in Ghana and is wanted by the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) for some other serious crimes he allegedly committed in Burkina Faso.

The Senior State Attorney was prosecuting the accused person in a Ghanaian court for an alleged rape offence committed in Ghana when he was caught making multiple demands to free the accused person from prosecution.

Otoo-Boison is seen and heard in a video documentary dubbed “Cash for Justice” revealing to a supposed relative of Awal that the accused person was on a police wanted list in Burkina Faso and urging the ‘relative’ to inform the accused person to abscond to a hideout as soon as he got court bail. The state’s lawyer also revealed in the undercover documentary that the Ghanaian government had asked him to study a programme in London but asked him to secure his air ticket himself to the United Kingdom and demanded 1,350 British pounds sterling from the family of the same accused person he was prosecuting.

Ghana’s Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo, interdicted the Senior State Attorney in November, 2019, after several Ghanaian media outlets aired and published news and editorials on the Cash for Justice documentary film by the EIB Network’s investigative journalist, Edward Adeti. The country’s Special Prosecutor, Martin A.B.K Amidu, also announced that he would probe into the saga involving the senior staff of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department. International media organisations and the public currently are awaiting the verdict of a committee set up by Ghana’s Legal Service Board to further investigate Otoo-Boison.

The committee, chaired by a long-serving Supreme Court judge, Justice Jones Victor Dotse, started its investigation in January, 2020, and ended it in April, 2020, pending a verdict to be announced soon according to sources. The committee has met with both sides, Adeti and Otoo-Boison, in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

“The ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council will soon receive the petition because this is a matter of an international interest. The offence committed by the Senior State Attorney is so serious and highly unpardonable under any serious-minded government who wants to protect its integrity and citizenry as far as the documentary we have all watched is concerned. For a state’s attorney to allow himself to be influenced with money and advise with passion as we can see in the viral video that a serial crime suspect should run and go into hiding where nobody would find him, we cannot say we are safe in this country.

“For a state’s attorney to say an accused person is wanted in Burkina Faso and that he should avoid INTERPOL as we all watched in the documentary, the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council must be alert and very concerned about this because of the serious security implications these shocking revelations portend for all of us in this sub-region, how some state’s attorneys are thwarting the efforts of the ECOWAS MSC and the INTERPOL. This state’s attorney clearly should not and cannot represent the interest of the state.

“It is a big international issue worthy of ECOWAS attention. We are even told the BBC and several international security analysts are also anxiously monitoring the outcome of the Justice Dotse Committee on the saga. Until this Senior State Attorney, who should have even resigned by now, is dealt with by the law without any fear or favour, like the other unscrupulous public officials who were caught in the past in similar circumstances of taking bribes and extorting and were dismissed in this country, for the palpable wrongs he the state’s attorney has committed in the video in the full glare of the entire public, it would be difficult for anyone anywhere to trust the Attorney-General’s Department for justice and fairness. That is why we vehemently speak everywhere as an organization for equal rights and justice no matter who you are,” said the CERAJ’s President and CEO, Augustus Amankwah Mireku.

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