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General News of Monday, 23 December 2002

Source: GNA

Govt Accepts Wuaku Commission Report, But....

.... Rejects criminal charges against Minister
The Government on Monday said it has accepted the general findings and recommendations of the Wuaku Commission and has instituted criminal proceedings of murder against Yidana Sugri and Iddrisu Gyamfo, "who should be presumed to have killed the Ya-Na", Yakubu Andani II in the Yendi as recommended in the Wuaku Commission report submitted to government.

Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, Attorney General and Minister for Justice, said in Accra that as far as other specific recommendations were concerned, the Attorney General would issue instruction to the Police to use the evidence before the Commission and its findings as the basis for further investigation and appropriate action.

At a press conference in Accra, where a Government White Paper on the Commission's report was issued, Nana Akufo-Addo said the Police would be instructed to undertake further investigations on the recommendations for the prosecution of Iddrisu Iddi, "Mbadugu", the former Zalinko Lana, Shani Moro and Mahammadu Abdulai, now in prison custody for conspiracy to murder.

Government, Nana Akufo-Addo said, found the position of the Wuaku Commission on the treatment of Mr Ibrahim Mahama, a well-known Tamale lawyer, somewhat surprising and contradictory.

He stated that government was at a loss to the recommendation of the Commission to refer Mahama to the General Legal Council for necessary action for suborning witnesses, when the report had implicated him of unlawful recruitment, sponsoring of warriors and military training for the late Ya-Na.

Nana Akufo-Addo said Government had directed Police to further investigate the conduct of Mr Mahama for appropriate legal action to be considered. He said the report found that individuals from both the Andani and Abudu gates blameable for the three-day clash, which took place from 25 to 27 March 2002.

The Attorney General said the report exonerated Alhaji Malik Alhassan Yakubu, the then Minister of Interior and MP, Lt. Gen. Joshua Hamidu, the then National Security Advisor, Major (rtd) Sulemana Abubakar, Alhaji Mohammed Aminu Amadu, a businessman, and the Bolin Lana, Mahammadu Abdulai from any complicity in the disturbances and killing of the Ya-Na.

The report, however, recommended specific measures against the then Regional Minister Prince Imoru Andani, the then Yendi District Chief Executive (DCE) Mohamed Habib Tijani, and some security officials.

Government, according to the White Paper noted the Commission's recommendation of a charge of "criminal negligence" against Prince Andani, but said even though his conduct merited censure and reprimand, Government was unable to accept the recommendation since there was no evidence that his conduct was motivated buy ill-will or any sinister design.

The White Paper said the offence of "criminal negligence" recommended by the Commission's report "is unknown to our law," and in the "circumstances Government will decide on appropriate action in his regard."

Also, while the Commission recommended the transfer of the then Yendi DCE, Government in a similar view with the Commission said he "displayed exceptional leadership qualities during the crisis, and with the Commission". It said with the Commission's caution in mind, Government would make appropriate decision in his regard.

The White Paper took note of the operations of Ghana Telecom and referred the recommendation of demotion of the Area Manager to the management of Ghana Telecom for review and possible action.

It said Government found generally acceptable the Commission's recommendation on the measures needed to improve the performance of the security agencies in emergency situations.

It had taken particular note that key state agencies and utility systems whose optimal functioning could have contained the situation and saved lives and property either malfunctioned or were in a state of disrepair.

Government also accepted the recommendation to as a matter of urgency to recommend vigorously regulations governing the importation, use and manufacture of arms in the country.

The White Paper noted that the most poignant of the Commission's recommendations is that government should make conscious efforts to reconcile the two royal gates of Dagbon. "This appeal reinforces Government, in its determination to pursue the goal of reconciliation as the only permanent solution to the Dagbon crisis.

"It is Government's fervent hope that with the publication of the Report and this White Paper thereon, all persons of goodwill, especially in the Dagbon area, will join hands with the Government to bring reconciliation in Dagbon and the restoration of peace and harmony to that troubled part of our nation."

The White Paper said the government would not slacken or relax in its efforts, which will continue in conditions of "scrupulous respect for rule of law and due process."

Finance Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo said a recurrent expenditure of ?1.25bn were being spent quarterly to maintain the police and military personnel in the area, in addition to the ?6.4bn already spent on efforts at maintaining peace following the crisis.