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Opinions of Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Columnist: Adomako, Appiah Kusi

Abodapki: Victim Of Political Persecution Or A Victory For Justice?

The trial and ten year jail sentence for former NDC Minister of Trade and Industry and Member of Parliament for Keta Daniel Kwasi Abodakpi, has generated mixed debate all over the country and Ghanaians abroad. Opinions seem to be divided largely on party lines. This seems to have clouded every discussion on this matter.

There are those of schools of thought with some claiming that the trial like, the earlier ones of the late Victor Selormey, Kwame Pepprah and Ibrahim Adam were politically engineered to strangulate the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). Another school of thought dissents from the first group and believes that the trial is a victory of justice.

The NDC in their press statement on Tuesday 6th February, 2007 expressed their sadness and regret about the trial. The party maintains that what happened on Monday was indicative of the plethora of evidence that the NPP has still not abandoned its declared agenda to use the Fast Track Court to destroy the National Democratic Congress through the use of political trials to jail the party leading members and functionaries.

The NDC in the press release vehemently opposed to the use of criminal legislation as a tool for persecution of political opponents.

After the 29-month-long trial of Dan Abodakpi, the Accra Fast Track High Court handed a 10-year jail term with hard labour after the court found him guilty of conspiracy; defrauding by false pretences and wilfully causing 400,000-dollar financial loss to the State.

The party from which Dan Abodakpi comes has been quick to declare that the trial was not credible. The NDC contends that it is therefore rather easy to prove that the trial, largely political as it was theatrical, and the judgment were structured and choreographed to weaken the NDC. In the statement of the NDC, the party says it remains committed to the Rule of Law and supports efforts to strengthen the institutions of state, especially the judiciary and the legislature. There is a shift of goal posts here. The trial is seen as persecution rather than pursuing justice. The NDC members have threatened revenge when they come to power. Again the party has commenced a boycott of parliamentary sitting.

Perhaps those who believe that the trial is part of the conspiracy on the part of the government to decimate the opposition NDC may be right in their thinking. To them they see President Kufuor’s anti corruption crusade high sword cuts only one side but no the other. They may be worried because the fight and prosecution of alleged corrupt cases are geared towards only the former functionaries of the NDC.

The NDC in their press release appendixed a catalogue of a few allegations crying for investigation by NPP administration which included Volta River Authority (VRA) Strategic Reserve Plant which led to an alleged colossal loss of about $35 million to the state, TMA computerization contract and decommissioning of Kpone refuse dump site, UNIMAX MACMILLAN contract involving US $27 million, cost incurred in pursuing IFC and CNTCI loans, Energy Commission lease agreement for headquarters building involving 7.5 billion cedis and host of others.

The trial of Sherry Ayittey by the Accra Fast Track Court which she was latter acquitted, was celebrated by the NDC as a victory of rule of law. But today the same people sing a different chorus. This is double standards by the NDC here. If the same court which they perceive to be used by the government as a tool to persecute its members finds no fault on its members during a trial process and acquits her amidst claims it is victory for democracy and rule of law. On the other hand if the court finds its foul of its member and jails him the party goes on to label the trial as political trial and draws all sorts of meanings. We live in a nation where if things do not favour a group, then it is perceived to be evil. If it favours a particular group then it is good otherwise, it is bad. We must come to see that truth is one. We have unconsciously been applying Einstein’s theory of relativity in physics in our national politics that everything that happens in this world is relative and that nothing is absolute.

CONCLUSION Abodapki’s trial has really followed the due process of the law. The beauty of it all is that filing an appeal is still an alternative for the defence. Others have been acquitted by the Fast Track Court on charges ‘wilfully causing financial loss to the state.’ Let us not let our faith wane in the judicial system in the country. Like what Rev Martin Luther King Jr said ‘Let us realize that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. William Cullen Bryant is right: "Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again." The good book says, "Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

The NPP must know that it will not stay in power forever for ever. The world goes round. At one point it is winter and at other point it is summer. NPP functionaries must live their life such that the angels above and the demons below would not have any bad thing against them. All NPP functionaries must know as Akan adages informs us that ‘abaa yede boo Takyi no eno ara na yede boo Baah” which is literally interpreted as “the cane that was used to punish Takyi was also used to punish Takyi”. I do not say this in a vindictive sense. The Methodist Hymn joyfully sums it as A charge to keep I have.

Abodapki’s case should be an eternal reminder to every public official that no one is above the law. Perhaps, one can be too great that he cannot be prosecuted or charged for offence committed because his political party is in office. But let us remember that one day we will face justice either before the infinite God or before mortal court of justice. Like Charles C Beard said ‘the mill of God grinds slowly yet it is exceedingly fine”

Appiah Kusi Adomako,
Leaders of Tomorrow Foundation, Kumasi

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.