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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Columnist: Antwi, William

Mobila's Living Ghost, Goka's Escape,

An Indiscipline NPP Leadership And The High Court!!!

There is an all-out media maelstrom blaming the present administration over the escape of Private Seth Goka - one of the accused persons in the gruesome murder of Alhaji Mobila - from military custody. Undoubtedly, the media blitz is a well-calculated attempt by the president $B!G (Bs detractors to shape the issues in this sensitive national case without regard to the facts on the ground. They see Goka $B!G (Bs escape as a coveted opportunity to win political points and make the president and the NDC look "bad". Amazingly, they want the world to believe that the President and his party had been in power since the ghoulish murder of Alhaji Mobila. They nearly succeeded because they still labor under the belief that as a nation, we have very short memory. How so unfortunate!

Many times a national event, tragedy or crime goes a long way to define the character of a nation $B!G (Bs political leadership. I think the prosecution or non-prosecution of the accused persons in the brutal murder of Alhaji Mobila represents such a situation. It is worrisome that the same group that found nothing wrong with the non-prosecution of Mobila $B!G (Bs alleged killers are the same characters that have suddenly found their voices to lambast the President and his party for Goka $B!G (Bs escape. Yes, the same group that allowed Chris Asher to get away with murder!

GOKA $B!G (BS ESCAPE: AN EWE CONSPIRACY?

What is so disturbing about this sleazy campaign to malign the president and our Attorney General is the injection of tribalism into Goka $B!G (Bs escape. How can any right thinking Ghanaian see Goka $B!G (Bs escape as an "Ewe conspiracy" deviously designed by the NDC - a supposedly Ewe-dominated party? By the way, who says that the NDC is an Ewe party? Has anybody taken the time and trouble to look at the numbers generated by the party at the last presidential elections? Could Professor Mills have come anywhere close to the presidency without the numbers from the other seven regions he carried? For example, can anybody make sense of the over 470,000 votes that came from the Ashanti Region despite all the brazen electoral malpractices that took place there? In their haste to cover their tracks, these shameless agitators failed to realize that one of the remaining accused persons, namely Private Modzaka is also said to be of Ewe extraction! Shouldn't this material fact debunk this sordid "Ewe Conspiracy Theory"? They are so indiscipline and lawless that they are prepared to peddle worthless lies even if it means undermining the relative stability we are enjoying in our dear the country.

A LAWLESS AND INDISCIPLINE BUNCH.

Be that as it may, let $B!G (Bs try and make sense of the non-prosecution of the alleged killers and Goka $B!G (Bs escape vis-a-vis the role of the High Court in this unfolding saga. In the end, we will come to one and only one irresistible verdict, to wit, justice was severely battered by those who had sworn to serve it.

Now the unassailable facts:

1. In a worse-than-an-execution style murder, Alhaji Issa Mobila, a former Chairman of the northern region branch of the CPP was dispatched from this world. That was on or about December 08, 2004.

2. As far back as January 2005, we were told by then then IGP, Nana Owusu Nsiah that the docket in the case had been completed and forwarded to the Attorney General for his advice. The significance of that date should not be lost on us because it plays a very important role in understanding and appreciating the issues in this case.

3. In March of 2005, the then Attorney General, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo, told the whole nation he had directed that three suspects, later identified as Privates Seth Goka and Modzaka and Corporal Yaw Appiah be arrested, charged and brought" to Accra for the brutal murder of Alhaji Mobila.

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4. The last time we heard about any kind of "prosecution" by the state was on or about July 7, 2005 when the accused persons were brought before the High Court presided over by Justice Suureebari.

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5. So until last week when the accused persons - sans Private Seth Goka - were brought before the High Court presided over by Justice Senyo Dzamefe, no sort of material prosecution was done by the previous administration of President Kuffour.

6. For emphasis let us draw this parallel: Isn $B!G (Bt it ironic that the full force of the state $B!G (Bs coercive power was brought to bear in investigating, prosecuting and convicting Mr. Thomas Osei for ramming his vehicle into that of President Kuffour?

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IN SEARCH OF TRUE JUSTICE:

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In tune with President Mills' solemn campaign promise of seeking true justice in the case, his Attorney General, Mrs Betty Mould Iddrissu, had resurrected this case from the dead and presented it before the High Court in Accra. As already indicated, Seth Goka is nowhere to be found! In fact, just this morning (Saturday, November 21, 2009), the Director of the Ghana Armed Forces (Public Affairs), Colonel Emmanuel Nibo threw some light on Goka $B!G (Bs escape. We now know that Goka, like the other accused persons, was actually not under any military guard and was living a normal life. This stunning revelation raises very serious questions about this case that cannot and should not be swept under the carpet:

1. Why couldn $B!G (Bt the NPP government prosecute this serious criminal case? In other words, was the indictment just a smokescreen designed to tamp down people $B!G (Bs anger towards the government for its inaction in pursuing Mobila's killers?

2. What was the incentive not to prosecute?

3. Why were the accused persons, who were supposed to be under military guard, allowed to lead normal lives at a time when they were before a court of competent jurisdiction for a grave crime that commands the ultimate punishment of death upon conviction?!

4. Why were the accused persons allowed to be part of the army team that monitored our last general election when the crime for which they were charged was described as politically motivated? lLet the record reflect that the United States Department of State poignantly described Mobila's death as "politically motivated". Soldiers accused of a politically motivated murder allowed to monitor elections with loaded guns?

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5. Again, what were the authorities thinking when they allowed these accused persons to be part of an army team that patrolled the streets of Accra in search of armed robbers?

In whatever angle one views this case, it is safe to state that this is one classic example of miscarriage of justice on the part of the then ruling government that blatantly refused to prosecute a criminal matter in a case where it had already charged some individuals for perpetrating a most heinous crime against the state. Needless to state here that the non-prosecution of this matter was a crying injustice wrapped in a president $B!G (Bs shame! Let $B!G (Bs make no mistake: The delay in prosecuting this case has severely compromised the quality of justice to be served. Don $B!G (Bt look far: Exhibit A is Goka $B!G (Bs escape.

I think the public deserves to know the motive behind why the previous government could not prosecute this serious case at a time when the full force of the state's coercive powers was brought to bear in a case where a citizen - Mr. Thomas Osei - was aggressively investigated, prosecuted and convicted for ramming his car into that of the president.

It should now be clear to all and sundry that the previous NPP administration under ex-president Kuffour had no intention whatsoever of prosecuting the accused persons and that it was deliberately indifferent to the rights of the real victims in this case, namely, law abiding citizens of our country and particularly, Alhaji Mobila $B!G (Bs family.

FAILURE OF THE HIGH COURT.

The High Court cannot escape from its share of blame in undermining the quality of justice in this unfolding tragico-legal drama. It is the considered opinion of this writer that the High Court should have seen to it that its orders were carried out. In the first place, why should these accused person be out in the barracks living normal lives when it was the High Court $B!G (Bs order that they be kept in military custody? By the way, why military and not prison custody when they are being tried in a civilian and not a military court?

Without disrespecting our Chief Justice, I think she failed the nation big time. It is an uncontested fact as the Chief Justice, she is the CEO of the judiciary. And as CEO, she has the responsibility of seeing to it that cases before our courts are handled efficiently and competently especially those national cases that task on the integrity of her outfit. Monitoring whether orders of the High Court are carried out cannot reasonably be said to be interfering in the adjudication of criminal matters. It is one sure way of administering the judicial branch of government in an efficient manner.

Furthermore, why did the High Court allow this sensitive case to fallow on its calendar for that long without a whimper from the Chief Justice. In truth, no court worth its while would allow a criminal matter to fallow on its calendar for four years without hearing any kind of evidence! What kind of criminal justice system is that? It is worth mentioning here that no worthy Attorney General will charge an accused person with a crime without any credible evidence to secure a conviction. Therefore, when the then attorney general charged the three accused persons, it was a clear indication to the world that he was ready, willing and able to engage the accused persons to prove their guilt. So what changed?

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Once the High Court was seized with jurisdiction, it was imperative that justice was not delayed in any way whatsoever. The High Court had absolute control over how the case proceeded in securing the ends of justice. With this true state of affairs in mind, what, then, stopped the High Court from calling the case and inviting the state to prove its case against the accused persons? Can anybody imagine the psychological and/or physical harm that could have been done to the accused persons had they been in military/prison custody without their case being heard? They could have been in custody for well over FOUR YEARS without a thread of evidence proffered against them and the High Court looking on unconcerned. Ironically, all under the supervision of our Chief Justice whose responsibility it is to see to it that true justice is served not only to the state but, also, ALL accused persons brought before our criminal courts!

I have no doubt in my mind that, although, the High Court did not directly OR indirectly participate in murdering Alhaji Mobila, or has anything to do with the case's investigation, it has been grossly negligent in handling it.

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In short, the NPP administration of President Kuffour and the High Court stand accused!

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It is now up to our Attorney General and the High Court to take corrective action in the case in order to burnish the integrity of our criminal justice system: In fact, a criminal justice system so battered and undermined that it has lost its lustre.

Let true justice reign!

We rest our case for now.

And may God save us all.

WILLIAM ANTWI, A.K.A. BAFO

NEW YORK, NEW YORK.