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Opinions of Friday, 24 January 2020

Columnist: Dawda Eric

Hon. James Avedzi should know better

James Avedzi James Avedzi

Dear James Avedzi...

I have had the benefit of reading your unwarranted attacks on the Hon. Member of Parliament for Effutu Constituency, Hon. Alexander Afenyo Markin who also happens to be a member of the finance committee of parliament. Your take in respect of his position on how your leadership ordered the arrest of the two gentlemen from Sefwi Akontombra which has been published on myjoyonline sought to question his locus to speak on the matter because, according to you, he is an "absentee committee member"

As a chairman of such a respected committee, one would have thought that you would eschew extreme pettiness in your public engagement but you failed to live up to expectation. Mr. Avedzi, you also made claims that he has no right to criticise the decision of the committee.

Aside from your mischief that, he is not the only lawyer in Ghana, you failed to appreciate the wisdom that, the order which came from your end has the tendency of sinking the core functions of the Public Accounts Committee.

On Monday, 20th January, you ordered the arrest of two gentlemen who appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of parliament for deceiving the members of the committee. According to you, since they were under oath, their disjointed claims amounted to perjury.

For your information, Hon. Alexander Afenyo Markin is a citizen of Ghana and his view on the matter was activation of his freedom of speech guaranteed by the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

Sir, the Hon. Member of Parliament for Effutu on eye-witness news with Omaru Sanda Amadu, argued on point of law and made emphasis that, Under criminal jurisprudence, due process is essential, therefore to him as a matter of law, if there were issues regarding the testimonies or documents,a formal complaint ought to have been filed to the police for proper investigation.

The Hon. Member who is also a certified fraud examiner queried why the Public Accounts Committee decided to act as documentation examiners as well as a fraud examiner. He also questioned the basis upon which the committee came to the conclusion that there were issues with the documents presented by the two gentlemen and their testimonies.

Sir, if you care to know, the Hon. member is known to be an advocate for adherence when it comes to procedure(s). One particular example was his erudite submission which was affirmed by the high court, financial division in the famous case of *Executive Director, Economic and Organised Crime Office* v *Investment Strategies Enterprise* concerning a freezing order which was set aside by the court as being fraught with a procedural error.

It is worthy of note that, the duty to prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt is a standard one that does not change according to the status or disposition of either the accused or a suspect or the complainant involved [See Tagor v The Republic].

What is so serious is the fact that, as at the time the chairman made the said directive for the arrest of the two gentlemen, the committee which is not tribunal had not established the basis for the order.

You would recall that in 2017, Joynews carried a serious report about a scandal which rocked the nation's Parliament. In that reportage, you were alleged to have taken 1000k from the National Lotteries Authority before deliberating on the amendment of the National Lottery Act, 2006 (Act 722).

When the issue came to the public domain, you openly confessed without shame that, you took the said money on the mistaken notion that it was for allowance when you knew that it was not the case because every activity of Parliament is financed by the state and not entities properly so-called.

Today you are ordering people's arrest on television when in 2017 you were spared from any form of embarrassment which would have been occasioned by your untimely arrest for a bribery allegation that still hangs on your neck like an albatross.

Let me end here with this maxim "he who comes to equity must be seen to have come with clean hands"

Stay blessed.

Dawda Eric(Equity)

Citizen Vigilance for Justice