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General News of Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Source: citifmonline.com

Nobody can prosecute using judgment debt findings – Lawyer

A private legal practitioner, Egbert Faibille has disclosed that the adverse findings made by the Judgment Debt Commission cannot be used as evidence to prosecute persons indicted in the report.

Egbert Faibille said this on the Citi Breakfast Show in relation to revelations in a leaked report by the Commission, as well as incriminating findings by the Dzamefe Commission which was tasked to investigate Ghana's participation at the 2014 world cup.

The Judgment Debt Commission’s report, among other things, faulted the Attorney General’s Department and the trial judge for failing to prevent the controversial GH¢51 million judgment debt payment to businessman, Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

According to him, Ghana’s Constitution does not allow for processes to be initiated against persons who give self-incriminating evidence to Commissions of Inquiry.

“It is because the adverse findings become a judgment of the High Court appealable to the Court of Appeal by the person in respect of whom the adverse findings have been made. I think after six months, any person in respect of whom adverse findings have been made by a particular commission's report has the right of an appeal. So a judgment is already in existence by reason of the operation of the law.”

The Commission further recommended that the state should take all necessary steps to retrieve all monies paid Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

Many Ghanaians who contributed on the Citi Breakfast Show, called for those indicted in the report to be made to face the law for causing financial loss to the state.

The legal practitioner explained that per the 1992 Constitution, Commissions of Inquiry are established to perform basically two functions – “find fact and to make recommendations to forestall or prevent the recurrence of the developing’s that have resulted in the setting up of the very commission we are talking about in relation to the law.”

Egbert Faibille further explained that: “As a nation, Ghana has had a checkered history with respect to Commissions of Inquiry…Before the 1992 constitution came into being, the First Republic had a certain arrangement which ensured that persons hauled before Commissions of Inquiry are prosecuted per the adverse findings made against them. It was law in this country then.”

He added that the said law was amended in 992 adding that “the framers of our 1992 constitution were of the considered opinion that the regime under the First Republic, where persons in respect of adverse findings made against them after appearing before Commissions of Inquiry, were prosecuted was wrong and that it infringes on the fundamental human rights of a person.”

“So the 1992 constitution departed from the standard as we had in the past. So now, when adverse findings are made against you by a Commission of Inquiry, those adverse findings after the flashing of time become a judgment of the High Court in respect of which, if you have a subject matter of the adverse findings, then you have the right to appeal to the court of Appeal.”