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Opinions of Friday, 25 May 2012

Columnist: Amidu, Martin A. B. K.

RE: Gov’t deliberately delaying the prosecution of Woyome

Gov’t is deliberately delaying the prosecution of Woyome – Former AG: A Rejoinder by Martin A. B. K. Amidu

I have read the worries expressed by Hon Ayikoi Otoo on citifmonline of 18th May 2012 about the seeming delay in the prosecution of Alfred Agbesi Woyome and others for suspected fraud and other offences arising out of the ill fated Government of Ghana and Waterville contracts. I entirely share his desire for expeditious justice through an early prosecution of the case. I had insisted on Mr. Prosper Agblor, the Director-General/CID, and his very able professional staff being allowed to investigating this matter for possible criminal prosecutions. The President told me to allow the Economic and Organized Crime Office to investigate the case and submit a report first. The Government’s inexperienced faction supporting Mr. Woyome did not want any type of police criminal investigations and surprisingly had their way.

The subsequent decision to allow the Inspector-General of Police and his Director-General/CID to arrest and investigate Alfred Agbesi Woyome, and Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh was clearly a victory for Ghana resulting from the intense pressure from the overwhelming public agitation against any cover up of the scandal in the circumstances of my exit from office. I have every confidence that if the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is given a free hand to direct the police investigations, the resulting police docket will be solid for prosecution.

The Director-General/CID had to build a docket from the scratch. The case to the best of my knowledge is complex and could lead to others being charged for prosecution as well. The Police cannot just rely on the report and materials supplied by EOCO without taking their own statements and going through the requisite motions. EOCO has the capacity, if left alone, to assist the Police to trace assets and do many other helpful things for the Police.

My understanding is that the trial will start at the next adjourned date on 4th June 2012. Hon. Otoo will agree with me that a good police investigation will more than compensation for any delays. Any further adjournment beyond the next adjourned date on 4th June will definitely create the impression that Government is deliberately buying time by pushing the trial to after the legal vacation in October and thus avoid the conclusion of the trial before the elections in December. But I also have an additional worry from Hon. Otoo’s. I hope the Director of Public Prosecution’s Office will have a free hand to review the docket professionally and advice the Attorney-General. What I fear is the so called “NDC Legal Team” some of whose members unethically make it their business to meddle in the professional affairs of the office of the Attorney-General while at the same time acting as lawyers for clients whose interest are opposed to those of the Republic.

I am as concerned as Hon. Otoo to get to the bottom of this suspected fraudulent crime or crimes. I appreciate his patriotism in keeping this matter alive in the eyes of the public by his intervention.

Martin A. B. K. Amidu