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Say It Loud



PROSECUTUS INTERRUMPTUS

Author:
Oheneba O.T
Date:
2002-08-24 04:49:06


According to the Friday edition of the Evening News, our Attorney General, Nana Akuffo Addo, has unequivocally declared that, in his infinite wisdom, the war-mongering statements of Ghana?s enfant terrible, ex-president Jerry John Rawlings at Aboabo -- and the World Bank capital -- do not amount to treason. Nana Akuffo Addo?s views were made after the BNI?s interrogations of the ex-president and the brouhaha that was generated by it. And as if that was reason enough for Rawlings? statement not amounting to treason, he went on to lecture the people of Ghana the gravity of the crime of treason and the penalty that it carries.

I?m no lawyer, neither do I think that the Attorney General will by any means let Jerry Rawlings off the hook, if he has any solid evidence of the commission of treasonable felony by the man. However, past experience with the lackluster and lackadaisical performance of his ministry gives me reason to suspect that they?re laboring under their characteristic ?prosecutus interrumptus? syndrome.

(This is a special illness diagnosed by Oheneba O.T. It afflicts prosecutors who combine courtroom prosecutorial skills with a flair for trial by the media. They (the prosecutors) generate huge pretrial public interest in the alleged crimes of the defendant until push comes to shove. Before you can say ?police docket?, they backpedal on the case, soften their rhetorical grandstanding and become deafeningly silent on the case altogether.)

Admittedly, Nana Akuffo Addo and his ministry have notched quite a few high profile cases under their belt since his government came to town. They have managed to put Mallam Issah behind bars on charges of stealing. They have gotten Selormey under the gaze of his master Rawlings, and even nabbed the serial killer who put the lives of all women of Ghana in danger.

The Ministry of Justice operates on a shoestring budget, I concede. I also concede that currently, the ministry does not have the added boon of implied and actual Executive intimidation and threats, which Jerry Rawlings used to exert on the judiciary during his rule, and which tilted the odds in the Attorney General?s favor in most high profile cases. But the Michael Soussoudis? gunrunning case, the Tsatsu Tsikata case, and now the Rawlings case, have proved beyond reasonable doubt that, the ministry suffers from that disease.

Former tribunal chairman George Agyekum revealed to what every Ghanaian knew about the ease with which Jerry Rawlings used to order vengeance from the courts, under the guise of ?justice?, like you or I would a pizza. Even under a decidedly civilian elective democracy, the Supreme Court justices recounted their horrific experience, during an ?invitation? to the Castle. They told of how Jerry Rawlings snatched the walking stick of one of them and jabbed it threateningly within millimeters of their faces amid his trademark harangues, all because of having given a verdict he was unhappy with.

Because of these and other numerous incidents -- as well as the unforgettable murders of the judges and Major Acquah -- in more ways than one, most lawyers at the Attorney General?s office had their cases cut out for them before they went to court. They were assured of easy victories on the flimsiest of charges. The numerous libel cases which resulted in the imprisonment of journalists attested to this. The Selassie Djentuh case --- in which parents did time for trying to rescue their son who had been abducted and taken to the Castle to be tortured, on an extralegal whim of Rawlings? ? showed the pusillanimous justice that used to be dispensed by our judges. But more importantly, it showed that for 20 years, a job as a state lawyer was simply one of a sinecure.

Our state lawyers have therefore become, slothful, mediocre and dependent on media hype, bluster and bluff to win cases. And it?s lawyers whose modus operandi deteriorate into publicity stunt to win cases, who suffer from prosecutus interremptus.

The people of Ghana want justice. We want to have Tsatsu Tsikata tried, and hear, with the benefit of documented evidence, the much-vaunted villainy of the man. We want to hear about the diversion into personal accounts and the fritting away of the millions of dollars belonging to the impoverished Republic of Ghana. We will like to see it, warts and every tawdry detail of it all, bared in public.

Jerry Rawlings described Tsatsu Tsikata as a ?financial wizard?. Describing a lecturer in law who has no qualifications in banking and finance as such shows that Rawlings was talking about voodoo type of wizardry, and not the Alan Greenspan type. He was given a blank check, taken without proper authorization from the Rep. of Ghana by his crony Rawlings, to play with. The fact that Kwesi Botchwey, an economist, was sidelined in favor of this man was in itself a criminal offence. Furthermore, this abysmal dereliction of Executive responsibility, coming from a people who shot others for taking loans from the bank, demands justice. It must be the kind of justice which carries with it the swiftness and dedication required by democracy.

If the Supreme Court has now freed the hands of the Ministry of Justice to continue with the case, they should put this man with the leprous-looking mouth in the dock immediately. We need justice!

OOT

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Patriot Turncoat
08-24 08:08
Kwaku Azar
08-25 05:19