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Opinions of Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Rawlings Bemoans the Fire Brigade's Report and the Trial of Nana Darkwah

I can still not get my head around what appears to be the most senseless prosecution of the year. Is it not rather of the decade or the century? In the annals of Criminal or Civil prosecutions in Ghana, the trial of Nana Darkwah has become a test case revealing how shallow and incompetent some of our Law Court judges are. This young man is on trial for alleging that Former President Togbui Avaklasu Jeremiah John Rawlings did cause the fire that gutted his own residence at Ridge on the night of this year's Valentine Day. No sooner had he opined as stated in response to a Top FM radio presenter's question than he got arrested. He is said to have been emphatic about his views on Rawlings being responsible for the very fire that razed his house. Be that as it may, why should he be arrested, and on whose orders and on what charge?

One Kofi Adams in exercising his machismo and portraying his ludicrous NDC cum Rawlings' fanaticism, and further laying bare his shallow-mindedness with lack of intellectual comprehension of issues, caused the arrest of Nana Darkwah. Lest I forget, this Kofi Adams is the Spokesperson of Former President J.J. Rawlings who is now known by a stool name, Togbui Avaklasu. Kofi Adams, thinking to exercise his powers of citizen's arrest, marched in total bravado into the radio studio where Nana Darkwah was sitting as a panellist on a programme to arrest him. My question to Kofi Adams who at this stage appears to be quite demented is, how and why did he feel it appropriate to arrest Nana Darkwah without the prior knowledge of, and authorisation by the accused, in which case and at this stage, is Former President Togbui Avaklasu J.J. Rawlings? Kofi Adams might think his tin god, should under all circumstances be revered with everyone prostrating before him, hence his intolerance to what he perceived as Nana Darkwah's mudslinging of his boss, Togbui Avaklasu J.J. Rawlings.

Kofi Adams by the exhibition of his compulsive infantile behaviour as a "boy boy" trying to appease his master at any time has opened the Pandora box. He thinks Rawlings by his office as the Former President of Ghana is above reproach. To him Rawlings must perpetually be held in high esteem without blemish and anyone defaulting on this must mercilessly be punished. By what seems to be his stupid capriciousness, Kofi Adams anticipates being handsomely rewarded one day should the Rawlingses ever again have their way as was pertained under the PNDC/NDC rule in the 1980s and 1990s. Has Ato Smith, a once Spokesperson of Rawlings who turned a macho man with a penchant for seizing Kufuor's NPP boys' cars with zest, same as wished by Rawlings, not rewarded with an ambassadorial post by President Mills? Why then shouldn't he, Kofi Adams, do the same as a reward always waits such outrageous posturing under the NDC administrations?

Rawlings, very conscious of having misconducted criminally far worse than Nana Darkwah, has not only steered clear from the ongoing wrangling involving Nana Darkwah but also, prayed for God's forgiveness of sins for him. This action by Rawlings is noble and commendable. This is a quality of a Statesman and I wish he had always been. But having surrounded himself with irresponsible persons of the likes of Ato Smith and Kofi Adams, who will unceasingly goad and praise him for his often supposed altruistic but really absurd behaviours and utterances, Rawlings will forever incur the wrath and insults of the public. No person in their right mind would love to tease their Former Head of State but for the attitude of, and ill-advice given by the selfish lots they surround themselves with; they will always be ridiculed by the public.

Rawlings is on record to have said he knows who killed the numerous call girls in the streets of Accra in 1999; he knows who killed Ya'na Yakubu Andani and has knowledge of many other perpetrators of serious crimes of national concern. But he goes on to say, "I will not disclose their identities unless I have been taken before the famous Asante shrine "Nana Antoa Nyamaa" at Kumasi-Antoa and or made to go through a Lie detector test". This confession by Rawlings has more criminal import and must be of serious concern to the State than the allegation made against him by Nana Darkwah of which he is being prosecuted and persecuted. Nana Darkwah has alleged or accused Rawlings of torching his own officially assigned residence. Should Rawlings' assertion not be of more serious concern to the State, meriting investigation and his subsequent arrest in an event of him failing to cooperate with the State to identify and catch the culprits than Nana Darkwah's momentary accusation of arson against him?

By the understanding of a maverick social commentator, Kwesi Pratt, though Nana Darkwah has been reckless, he deserves to be set free. He goes further to say that Nana Darkwah is being prosecuted upon the understanding of the Judge that the onus probandi (the burden of proof) is on him to prove that Rawlings actually did burn his house as alleged. Be that as it may, then I will say justice has gone bonkers in Ghana. Until when did Ghanaians see it rationally convenient to place the cart before the horse? I am lost for words to describe how nonsensical and insane that is, if this is actually the view of our supposed Learned Justice Charles A. Wilson and whoever that person unknown as the prosecutor is. They must be kidding themselves. Is it the reason why Nana Darkwah is charged with "Publishing false statement which can cause fear and harm to public" as under the Criminal Justice Code Section 208? How does his allegation against Rawlings but not the State amount to that most stupid charge without bearing, as preferred against him? Let it be known to the Judge, the Prosecutor, the Defence lawyers and all stakeholders that Nana Darkwah should rather be a principal witness to the State in what should have been the trial of Rawlings for arson. Rawlings is alleged to have burned a State property that the government allocated to him for his residence. Should he not be put before the courts in an event of sufficient implicative evidence being gathered against him?

Why should the accuser in which case he is the complainant (Nana Darkwah), be charged and put before the court instead of the accused, in this case the would-be defendant(Rawlings)? The law has really become a conspicuous ass in Ghana though; it is known to be always an ass. Let me seize this opportunity to tutor or be a brief mentor to the mentee, Justice Charles A. Wilson. Nana Darkwah is liable for trial only in the event of him being found to have misled the court, wasted the time and resources of the law enforcement agencies, or, perverted the cause of justice if Rawlings had been investigated or charged. If he had played the role of a principal State witness but the trial of Rawlings had collapsed due to lack of evidence or inconsistencies in the statements submitted by Nana Darkwah, then a charge of misdemeanour could be brought against him but not that silly charge under discussion. This prior initiative was never taken. Rawlings was even not aware of the arrest of Nana Darkwah let alone himself getting interviewed and investigated.

Is Rawlings actually the one and only monster in Ghana that everyone fears to approach? Unfortunately, I must say, the Ghanaian society for silly reasons out of sheer cowardice has made a monster out of once a probable affable and courteous gentleman. What do you expect if you surround yourself with derelict macho men like say, Kofi Adams? I pity Rawlings for all the written and verbal attacks he comes under on daily basis all for the stupid actions and inactions of those he surrounds himself with. What good can ever come out of persons like Kofi Adams and his numerous fanatic foot-soldiers?

Continuing with my mentoring, I will say as follows, "Criminal law is concerned with offences against society generally. Crimes are actions which violate the basic rules and principles by which society lives. The aim of a criminal prosecution is to punish the offender with financial penalties or imprisonment.

Civil law is concerned with the rights and duties of individuals (organisations) towards each other. Violation of these established rights and duties are known as TORTS (legal wrongs). Civil cases comprise an action brought by one person against another in order to seek restitution for some form of wrong-doing. The remedies sought are to put right the wrong committed, i.e., compensation (damages), for losses incurred". Under which of these two laws (criminal or civil) is Nana Darkwah being held culpable if he was at all? Who is the right person to hold him accountable for infringing on their rights in respect of these laws with the attendant prosecution? I want my readers to draw their own conclusions based on common sense. I am not going to spoon-feed anyone with logical persuasions. Your individual conclusions will tell you how clueless Justice Charles A. Wilson and those unknown prosecutor and investigator are, with regard to the charge on which Nana Darkwah is on trial.

The following legal statement is a food for thought. "The prosecutor has extensive powers, which have significant implications for the criminal justice system as a whole. The principal decision of the prosecutor is whether to prosecute in a particular case once it has been referred by the police. Generally speaking there are two factors which the prosecutor will consider: (a) whether there is enough evidence to justify a prosecution and (b) whether it is in the public interest to do so".

Deducing from Kofi Adams' reactions and statements after the submission of the Ghana Fire Brigade's investigative report, the Rawlingses hold the secret key to the cause of the fire that gutted their residence. The Fire Brigade indicated in their report that they could not ascertain the cause of the fire but it could possibly be electrical, they asserted. My noble Kofi Adams, still the usual arrogant “Mr. Know All” but actually ignorant “Mr. Know Nothing/Little”, went on air to lambast not only their report but them. Fortunately, he claimed to be criticising them from the point of view of a layman but not as an expert, thus, electrical engineer or technician. He could not understand why they could not pin-point the exact cause of the fire. Secondly, he could not understand why the report or a copy of it was not first submitted to the Rawlingses for their perusal and approval prior to going public with it. He further stated that if the Fire Brigade had contacted the Rawlingses in the course of their investigations, they could have been furnished with information and explanations necessary to establish the actual course of the fire. His last statement is of most interest to me. If the Rawlingses knew/know the cause of the fire as possibly deducible from Kofi Adams' statement, why have they continually kept mute over it? Does this not mean that they did torch the house, or have perfect knowledge about the cause of the fire as alleged by Nana Darkwah? Should the Rawlingses have the slightest foreknowledge of any possible fire hazards but failed to report them or take remedial action, then I can conclude without mincing words that they themselves burned their own house, but inadvertently. This logical conclusion is a derivation from the statements of that flippant Fante comedian calling himself Kofi Adams.

Mr. Kofi Adams dwelling in utter ignorance finds it hard to believe that electricity could be a possible factor for the fire outbreak. Let me help him. The incessant power fluctuations, the mark of our incompetent and under-performing Ghana Electricity Company, are a danger that poses fire threat. The power fluctuations or oscillations result in intermittent HIGH and LOW voltages, what is normally called in Ghana as "low current" and "high current". OSCILLATION in Physics is an effect expressible as a quantity that repeatedly and regularly fluctuates above and below some mean value, as the pressure of a sound wave or the voltage of an alternating current. On the other hand, the repeated On and Off (power outages) provision of electricity in Ghana, what we popularly call in the Ghanaian parlance as "So dom", is a number one cause of electric fire outbreaks. How does this cause fire, one may query? When power is switched back on at that unnecessary repetitive rate with the possible attendant of surge current which normally supersedes the requirement of certain household electrical appliances, it sets them on fire. When the load becomes too much for either the electric appliance or the conductive material - wire, it starts to burn it. When anything gets overloaded, it starts to breakdown. This is the more reason why in England, you cannot add any extra fixed electrical plug to your electrical installation without prior approval and certification by a competent person. How often than not have Ghanaians engaged in dodgy additional plug installations and extension leads without any checks or verification by a competent electrical tester? If the Rawlingses had inadvertently exceeded the capabilities of their electrical installations by way of additional sockets and extension leads, then they did burn their house as alleged by Nana Darkwah. Why is it often recommended that when switching on a bank of induction lamps/lights, thus, fluorescent tubes or lamps, it has to be staggered? It is simply to curtail the likely hugely inrush or input surge current which is not only harmful to the electrical installation but also to avoid possible electrical fire outbreak.

"It's one of the most predictable human reactions: you are failing and you lash out, blaming anyone but yourself. It's also said that once the supposed molesting strongmen in society have scented blood, they do their utmost to ensure they succeed and their prey perishes, that they indulge in a feeding frenzy with only one outcome". This is exactly what Kofi Adams is doing for the Rawlingses as in the trial of Nana Darkwah and the castigation of the Fire Brigade. What a useless effort expended uselessly?

Rockson Adofo