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Opinions of Friday, 28 April 2017

Columnist: Alhassan Andani

My take on Mr. Lead Counsel’s sojourn at Dubai and citizen vigilantism

I have read analysis from professionals on the AMERI deal saga. From energy consultants to policy analysts and to investment and international lawyers who are not “substandard”. The Philip Addison’s committee gave me this opportunity and I am grateful. Mr. Addison led a team to DUBAI to “negotiate” a deal that was signed and delivered during the erstwhile Mahama administration, bone out of the suspicion, that the deal did not worth its initial price and that now “Akufo-Addo Ghana” was shortchanged, surreptitiously and pitilessly. Let me go on record; I will forever hail and praise any Ghanaian who defy all odds in protecting mother Ghana from being diddled by any opportunist. This notwithstanding, if it must be done, it must be done well!

“We visited DUBAI to negotiate, not to investigate AMERI”; from the horses mouth on Citifm. I don’t need further demystification on this. But I do not think I would be denied posing question(s) that continue to give me sleepless nights ever since lawyer Addison stop sleeping in the plush hostel in DUBAI. Was the committee there to renegotiate an already reached deal or it was there to negotiate? Because I don’t think it was an exercise to negotiate a new deal with the company. I think your usage of “negotiate” in this context is not fit. This portion of your report lends credence to my thought; “based on the observations of the committee, it has recommended that Ameri Energy should be brought be invited back to the negotiation table to rectify the anomalies in the agreement and for government of Ghana to aim to claw back a substantial portion of the over US$150million commission.” Mr. legal luminary, if you had not investigated AMERI, then on what bases did you include this “clawing back of commission” in your report? In furtherance of this, your report continue to read, “in the event that Ameri Energy refuses to come to the negotiation table, the committee recommends that the Government of Ghana should repudiate the agreement on the grounds of fraud.” Sir, if you don’t investigate an agreement, how can you conclude that it might be fraudulent or otherwise? Once again, I demand an answer to satisfy my curiosity! The word “negotiate” was baselessly and wrongly used, with all due respect. So take note that I would forthwith continue to write on “investigation” and not “negotiation” as I am repulsed!

The acceptance of favour from Ameri was totally shocking and legally unacceptable though I am not a lawyer but just a Ghanaian with cognitive domain to know wrongs. You heavily suspected a company of shortchanging your country and the need to retrieve the shortchanged amount. Ok, you started the investigation in Ghana and Ameri landed you in DUBAI to continue the process? With whose resources, the institution you are going to probe and investigate? Mercy! Methinks this is not right. I am saying this out of no antagonistic relationship with you. The probability of your compromise is one, thus, it is sure to happen. For the purpose of this discourse, permit me to bring this word from my village folk here for analysis since you are a lawyer, “A dog is better than a lawyer”, my village folk said confidently as I start to decode this “nonsense talk”. I asked why and he said that “if a dog sees a wrong happening, it will raise alarm by backing but a lawyer will continue to defend same as though it wasn’t wrong.” I strongly opposed this statement but he was still stubborn in his conviction. It is as though you have vindicated my village folk with his “nonsense talk” in this AMERI hullabaloo. Mr. Addison, the constitution that you read a lot at the supreme court in 2012 to remove Mahama from office also talks about conflict of interest in article 284. I am unworthy of educating you on the detail of the article. You may quickly do that with your device. As you may be aware, the constitution is not only meant for filing election petitions but also to fight corruption and any activity that can breed corruption. You ought to know that Ghanaians won’t take you serious together with your DUBAI report just because the company under discussion sponsored part of the trip. As a lawyer called to the bar, your sobriquet supposed to be watchdog who never derelict in his duties!

The Civil Society Organisations and the selected few like justice Emle short who shared nonpartisan views on the committee’s report did their job well, I doff my hat. The politician should never be given the free will to operate. Having said this, I think it is equally important I take a swipe on citizen vigilantism. The only citizen vigilante I grew up to meet is Martin A.B.K Amidu, who did a lot of vigilante works during Mahama’s regime. He run after Woyome to the point of suffocation over a judgement debt he thought was wrongly paid him. I was happy to see a fight for the rights in the society to prosper. I was delighted to see someone champion a fight to win victory for justice and rule of law. Still and all, it is totally unacceptable to start keeping quiet on issues of your interest like this conflict of interest donnybrook. You should have start to write a long article like previously when any wrong was about to start representing your opinion. Uncle Amidu, I shudder to think that you had an agenda and that agenda has been achieved or you are now too silent to be too vocal as your cup is now full. I personally started downgrading your integrity when you dropped the oral cross examination of the embattled business man and your silence on this matter gave me more reasons to continue the downgrading. Please don’t become a spectator even when the president expects everybody to be citizens because you once lived as not just a citizen but a “citizen vigilante”. Your integrity is on the line, quickly redeem it. This pieces of sentences are not meant to bring you down but to bring you to your senses relative to what you believed in the past and fought for in the midst of all stumbling blocks.

Writer’s email: alhassanandani98@gmail.com