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General News of Saturday, 24 February 2018

Source: mynewsgh.com

Take advantage of plea bargain, forfeit loot - Ursula advises potential indictees

Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin Alamisi Benz-Kaizer Amidu had during his vetting said his priority was to recoup money looted from the state and not fill Nsawam Prison, as mynewsgh.com reported earlier.

It now appears Mr Martin Amidu is not alone in that thought, as influential Minister of Communications, MP, and Lawyer, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has thrown her support behind the idea.

She believes that the priority of the state should be about recouping every single stolen dime with interest back into the national kitty, by securing the cooperation of the looters through the plea bargain arrangement the Special Prosecutor Law has introduced for the first time in Ghana.

She said when prospective indictees take advantage of the plea bargain in Special Prosecutor Law, they would have been able to “kill several birds with one stone”.



“I was in Parliament when Amidu was being approved and I was looking at the plea bargaining arrangement in the law… We are interested in retrieving money than locking people up. So if anybody think they have done something untoward and come out and say this money has come into our possession wrongfully, so here is the money with interest and that’s it, we move on with our lives. It can save all of us a lot of angst as that will be the end of the matter.”, she told Umaru Sanda Amadu on Point Blank on CitiFM as mynewsgh.com monitored.



“If there is anyone who find themselves in similar positions, I think they should look at that [option] by killing several birds with one stone and getting on with their lives.”, the lawmaker said.

Martin Amidu had in his vetting said “we are not going to only fill Nsawam, so that we feed you, we cloth you, we take you to hospital when you are sick, we will concentrate on collecting the stolen money too. That’s very important.”

“If a person agrees to pay back the money they have misappropriated, ensuring they do that is better than imprisoning them and feeding them with state funds until they grow old and are pardoned”, he told the vetting committee.

A Plea bargain is any agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in return for some concession from the prosecutor. This may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to a less serious charge, or to one of the several charges, in return for the dismissal of other charges; or it may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to the original criminal charge in return for a more lenient sentence.

A plea bargain allows both parties to avoid a lengthy criminal trial and may allow criminal defendants to avoid the risk of conviction at trial on a more serious charge.

Many Ghanaians mynewsgh.com spoke to on this issue expressed fears that the plea bargain could be a ploy to get the rich and powerful escape justice.