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Opinions of Saturday, 29 November 2014

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

An Open Letter to Police Commander Kofi Boakye

Dear Commander Boakye,

Your demonstrable integrity through selfless dedication to duty, and your enviable service to your nation and humanity are well noticed and much applauded. I heard much about you during that unfortunate cocaine incident involving one Tagoe, in which Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the late Alhaji Morro's names were mentioned.

Your reputation was nearly tarnished, although, you were as innocent and as white as snow in the execution of your professional duties to investigating and arresting the real criminals behind that cocaine saga. You suffered a lot of needless humiliation, but in the end, your honesty, sincerity, dynamism and professionalism, the pivots on which your service to Ghana and humanity revolve, saved you and your job.

You are one of the few credible police officers to be found in today's Ghana Police Force that is either perceived, or is truly, as rotten and corrupt as anything undesirably stinky as the mind can imagine of. I pray you keep to these precious qualities that make you unique, and make you stand out taller among your colleagues.

Going back to the reason for publishing this open letter to you, I have heard Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and his elders heap praises upon praise on you. They have not only been congratulating you, but also, admonishing you to arrest anyone in Ashanti region who breaks the laws of the land irrespective of that person's social standing within the community or society. They talk about chiefs dubiously selling lands with their hired "Land guards" and macho men all being inclusive when they flout the laws of the land and natural justice.

It is rather unfortunate to encounter a situation where the pot tells the kettle you are dark. Would you please permit me to ask if the law is a respecter of persons? What I have been taught throughout my schooling is that, the law is no respecter of persons. Will you be able to arrest Asantehene if he breaks the laws, or he is above the law and hence is untouchable?

He has been praising you for your good works and even plans to give you an award for that. Additionally, he has been advising you strongly to arrest and prosecute whoever breaks the laws or disturbs the public peace regardless of whoever they are.

For your attention, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has stated it clearly boldly to the elders of Kumawuman that he can do whatever he likes in Ghana without any one or any law able to prevent him from doing it.

Truly to his statement as said, he has colluded with Kumawuhemaa to impose one Dr Yaw Sarfo on Kumawu as their Omanhene. In pursuance of his evil intentions, he has claimed on video tape that the Kumawu Ankaase family members are royals of same matrilineal descent as Barima Tweneboah Koduah I, the originator of the Kumawu Koduah Stool. His assertion is as flawed as any historian with knowledge of Kumawu paramountcy and the facts as known to all discerning Kumawu citizens would attest. You, Commander Kofi Boakye, can inquire from your own elders to know the truth about who the Ankaases, Odumases and the Ananangyas of Kumawuman are.

I shall refer you to YouTube under the title, "Asantehene involves in corruption". Look at how he prejudicially exercises the discretionary powers conferred upon him by traditional and statutory laws. His actions are in total breach of Article 296 of the 1992 Republican Constitution. Further to that, his actions and those of Kumawuhemaa and Dr Yaw Sarfo, the supposed Kumawuhene, are in contravention of Warrington Notes on Stool Disputes (Article 13), Ghana Criminal Code ACT 1960 (Act29) – Sections 239 to 247and traditional laws accepted by Asante Confederacy which became applicable laws since 1938.These are comprehensively explained in Dr K. A. Busia's book titled, "THE POSITION OF CHIEF IN THE MODERN POLITICAL SYSTEM OF ASHANTI" .

Article 296 of the Constitution states: Where in this Constitution or in any other law discretionary power is vested in any person or authority – a) That discretionary power shall be deemed to imply a duty to be fair and candid; b) The exercise of the discretionary power shall not be arbitrary, capricious or biased whether by resentment, prejudice or personal dislike and shall be in accordance with due process of law; and c) Where the person or authority is not a judge or other judicial officer, there shall be published by constitutional instrument or statutory instrument, regulations that are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution or that other law to govern the exercise of the discretionary power.

Here we go. Before the restoration of the Ashanti Confederacy in 1935 and up until 1949, laws were made and approved for the traditional governance of the Asante Kingdom. These laws were compiled, and passed on to the District Commissioners. They have remained legal since then. They were compiled by J.S. Warrington and are called Warrington Notes.

Article 13 of the Warrington Notes on STOOL DISPUTES states inter alia, "The offering and taking of bribes to influence an election by candidates, elders and young men was declared in 1941 to be illegal. If a candidate does so he loses his right to election on that occasion (only); and if a stool holder does so it is a ground for destoolment. The nomination, installation or election of a person not entitled to the stool is also a ground for destooling the person who does any of these acts".

From Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia's book, "THE POSITION OF CHIEF IN THE MODERN POLITICAL SYSTEM OF ASHANTI" the underlying has been stated on pages 210 to 212.

"1938. Item 5. The offering and accepting bribes in connextion with election and destoolment of Chiefs.

Asantehene: This subject was discussed at the last session of the Council, but at that time the Council had no power to make by-laws, therefore our decision in the matter could not have legal effect. As the Council has now been granted powers to do so, the subject is introduced again so that the necessary by-laws may be made.

Mampong Representative: the practice of offering and accepting bribes in connexion with election and destoolment of Chiefs is as bad as it is detrimental to the welfare of the country. It should, therefore, be prohibited and made a punishable offence. I suggest that by-laws be passed by the Council providing that any Chief found guilty of such offence shall be destooled and any young man found guilty of the same offence shall be imprisoned for six months with hard labour.

Juabenhene: I support the view of the Mampong representative. A trader always wants to gain on his investments; in the same way if a person is compelled to spend all his money and to borrow in order to bribe the Elders of a Stool before he is elected to that Stool, he would naturally try to pay off his debt with Stool money and to have some profit whilst he is on the Stool. Moreover, as he is conscious of the fact that he might be destooled on the least pretence, he thinks more of his personal interest than the welfare of the Stool. Such a state of affairs is deplorable, and therefore its cause which forms the subject of our discussion should be removed. In the olden days affairs were not in such a deplorable state as they are to-day, and destoolments were of very rare occurrence.

Nsutahene: Bribery in connexion with destoolments and estoolments is bad and should be stopped. I therefore support the previous speakers.

Agonahene: I support the views expressed by the previous speakers and would further suggest royals should not be allowed to contest for a Stool. If and when a Stool becomes vacant the Elders should approach the Queen-Mother for a candidate and in consultation with the Gyase and Ankobea Chiefs and the members of the Stool family, she should nominate a candidate and the Elders may accept or reject her nominee without allowing any of the royals to influence them in any way in their decision.

Nkoranzahene: In certain cases if a Stool becomes vacant, wealthy subjects of the Stool try to bribe the Elders concerned in order to gain election. Under these circumstances, the royals too start to give bribes in order to ensure election to the Stool. Whilst, therefore, agreeing with the previous speakers, I should like to suggest further that any subject of a Stool who tries to contest for that Stool should be banished from the Division concerned.

Oyoko Clan: We agree with the previous speakers and would add that certain Chiefs instigate the subjects of another Chief to destool their Chief. By-laws should therefore be passed to the effect that any Chief who is found guilty of such an offence will be destooled.

Asantehene: The matter under discussion is so important that I should like all present to listen attentively. It is a disgrace for any Chief to neglect to train his nephews who will succeed him in future. The practice of offering and accepting bribes in connexion with the enstoolment or destoolment of Chiefs is also very bad and should be stopped. I request the Committee which was appointed yesterday to deal with the question of the payment of annual 'sheep' in respect of cocoa-farms to deal with this subject also.

The committee appointed later submitted its suggestions, which the Confederacy Council adopted. 'After a lengthy discussion the Committee was of the opinion that the practice of people offering and accepting bribes to destool or enstool a Chief has become very common and has been the source of political unrest in this country.' It made the following recommendations:

1. It shall not be lawful for any member of a Royal Family to contest for a Stool whenever a Stool becomes vacant, and he shall not canvass for votes from any Elder of the Stool.

2. Any member of Royal Family who contests, offers, or accepts any bribe in any form in any enstoolment case shall be guilty of an offence and shall be struck off the roll of the Royal Family and shall forfeit his right of succession to the Stool.

3. It shall not be lawful for any Elder or Elders to nominate, elect, or install any candidate on any Stool other than a member of the Royal Family of such Stool.

4. Any Elder or sub-chief who offers or accepts a bribe in an enstoolment case, or nominates, elects, or installs any candidate other than a member of the Royal Family of any such Stool, or breaks away from the Elders' meeting with the intent to prolong or delay the enstoolment of a Chief shall be guilty of an offence and shall on summary conviction thereof be removed from his office and destooled.

5. Any subject of a Stool who offers or accepts a bribe in an enstoolment case or interferes with or canvasses votes for any candidate shall be guilty of an offence, and shall on summary conviction thereof be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months with hard labour".

Please find below excerpts from ACTS OF GHANA: Criminal Code, 1960 (Act 29) – THE CRIMINAL CODE (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2003 (ACT 646)

Section 239—Corruption, etc. of and by Public officer, or Juror. (1) Every public officer or juror who commits corruption, or wilful oppression, or extortion, in respect duties of his office, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour. (2) (2) whoever corrupts any person in respect of any duties as a public officer or juror shall be guilty misdemeanour.

Section 240—Explanation as to Corruption by Public Officer, etc. A public officer, juror, or voter is guilty of corruption in respect of the duties of his office or vote, if he directly or indirectly agrees or offers to permit his conduct as such officer, juror, or voter to be influenced by the promise, or prospect of any valuable consideration to be received by him, or by any other person, from person whomsoever.

Section 241—Explanation as to Corruption of Public Officer, etc. A person is guilty of corrupting a public officer, juror, or voter in respect of the duties of his office respect of his vote, if he endeavours directly or indirectly to influence the conduct of such public officer, or voter in respect of the duties of his office or in respect of his vote, by the gift, promise, or prospect valuable consideration to be received by such public officer, juror, or voter, or by other person, from person whomsoever.

Section 242—Special Explanation as to Corruption of and by Public Officer, etc. It is immaterial, for the purposes of section 240 or 241, that the person respecting whose conduct endeavour, agreement, or offer therein mentioned is made is not yet at the time of the making of endeavour, agreement, or offer, such a public officer, juror, or voter, if the endeavour, agreement, or offer made in the expectation that he will or may become or act as such officer, juror, or voter.

Section 243—Corrupt Agreement for Lawful Consideration, etc. It is immaterial, for the purposes of section 240, 241 or 242, whether the act to be done by a person consideration or in pursuance of any such gift, promise, prospect, agreement or offer as therein mentioned be in any manner criminal or wrongful otherwise than by reason of the provisions of the said sections.

Section 244—Acceptance of Bribe by Public Officer, etc., After Doing Act. If, after a person has done any act as a public officer, juror, or voter, he secretly accepts, or agrees or secretly to accept for himself or for any other person, any valuable consideration on account of such act, shall be presumed, until the contrary is shown, to have been guilty corruption, within the meaning Chapter, in respect of that act before the doing thereof.

Section 245—Promise of bribe to Public Officer, etc. After act Done. If, after a public officer, juror, or voter has done any act as such officer, juror, or voter, any other person secretly agrees or offers to give to or procure for him or any other person any valuable consideration account of such act, the person so agreeing or offering shall be presumed, until the contrary is shown, have been guilty of having, before the doing of such act, corrupted such public officer, juror, or voter, respect of such act.

Section 246—Explanation as to Oppression. A public officer or juror is guilty of wilful oppression in respect of the duties of his office if he wilfully commits any excess or abuse of his authority, to the injury of the public or of any person.

Section 247—Explanation as to Extortion. A public officer is guilty of extortion, who, under colour of his office, demands or obtains from any person, whether for purposes or for himself or any other person any money or valuable consideration which knows that he is not lawfully authorised to demand or obtain, or at a time at which he knows that he lawfully authorised to demand obtain the same.

Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II influenced one Justice Paul K. Richardson of Kumasi Human Rights Court to dismiss a Kumawu case brought before him, subsequent upon which someone has placed the video evidence on YouTube. There was also an inventorying court injunction pending; without the determination of which by a competent judicial body, nobody could be enthroned as Kumawuhene. However, Asantehene compelled the Kumawu kingmakers to flout that injunction to enthrone Dr Yaw Sarfo as Kumawuhene. Is he above the laws of Ghana? Can he breach the laws as and when he wants, by virtue of his position? This is the person giving you advice to arrest other law breakers.

I shall only advise you to be fair, friendly and firm in the execution of your duties. I have reproduced the laws same as I found them without alterations, corrections, omissions or additions.

May God bless you with His abundant mercies, wisdom and grace. Additionally, may you perform your duties without fear or favour. Amen.

Yours Sincerely,

Rockson Adofo