Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presidential aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has rubbished recent statements made by Daniel Abodakpi, a jailed former Minister of Trade, that he (Abodakpi) was a victim of persecution over his 2007 imprisonment for willfully causing financial loss to the State.
Nana Akufo-Addo said there was no iota of truth in the statement by Mr. Abodakpi that he was jailed by President John Agyekum Kufuor to settle personal score.
Dan Abodakpi, who is currently aspiring for the National Chairmanship slot of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), sparked controversy early this week by stating that his imprisonment was driven by a personal vendetta by former President Kufuor and that Nana Akufo-Addo, an attorney general under the then administration of John Agyekum Kufuor, unsuccessfully tried to advise the President against his avowed intention to jail him (Dan Abodakpi).
Mr. Abodakpi, who was then a Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta, was handed a 10-year jail term on February 5, 2007 after a five-year trial for willfully causing financial loss of $400,000 to the State.
Mr. Abodakpi was eventually granted a presidential pardon by ex-President Kufuor barely two years into his sentence.
The former minister, in an interview with Accra-based Adom FM on his intention to lead the NDC, explained that even though the facts did not support his conviction, President Kufuor personally ordered that he should be jailed, describing him as ‘very vindictive.’
‘President Kufuor called for the docket and advised that some of the people implicated should be prosecuted, although the Attorney General advised him not to pursue the case in that manner. I think Akufo-Addo did a professional job, as a lawyer and attorney-general when he kicked against the prosecution,’ Mr. Abodakpi, also former Ghana High Commissioner to Malaysia, stated.
But a statement issued by Nana Akufo-Addo on Wednesday described as ‘false’ the impression Mr. Abodakpi sought to create, ‘the Constitution of the Republic makes it clear that the power to prosecute any criminal case is given exclusively to the Attorney-General. The President has nothing to do with it. As Attorney-General, I was not aware of President Kufuor ever calling for the docket of the case involving Mr. Abodakpi or any other case for that matter.
‘The allegations by Mr. Abodapki on these matters are, with respect, false and I hope that this statement from me will help set the records straight,’ the statement read.
‘I am surprised that a senior political figure such as Ambassador Abodapki, would make such an unguarded statement. Mr. Abodapki could not have known for a fact that I, as Attorney-General, was against his prosecution since no prosecution can go forward unless the Attorney-General is satisfied that a prima facie case has been raised against the accused. Political considerations do not enter into the matter,’ Nana Addo clarified.
The statement continued: ‘Mr. Abodapki describes his prosecution as ‘persecutorial,’ creating the impression that the Kufuor government was ‘able to work out such that some people on the Bench can be at the beck and call of the President. Allegations of this nature are unfortunate because of their tendency to undermine the independence of the Judiciary.’
‘Unfortunate’ and ‘Bizarre’
‘I find it unfortunate that Mr. Abodakpi, who has announced his intention to contest for the chairmanship of the National Democratic Congress, will drag President Kufuor and me into his party’s internal contest,’ Nana Addo stated.
The office of former President Kufuor has also reacted to Mr. Abodakpi’s explanation, describing it as ‘bizarre’.
Speaking to Myjoyonline.com on Monday, Spokesperson to the former president, Frank Agyekum, explained that Mr. Abodakpi’s trial was adhered to the rule of law.
‘Nana Akufo-Addo and ex-President Kufuor are astute lawyers who believe that the Executive should not intervene in the Judiciary and so cannot allow such a thing to happen,’ Mr. Agyekum stated.
Mr. Abodakpi was tried and found guilty together with the late Victor Selormey, former Deputy Finance Minister, on counts of ‘conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences’ and ‘willfully causing financial loss to the State totaling GH¢273,000 (¢2.73 billion).’
The two were found guilty when they co-chaired the Trade and Investment Programme.
‘ his claim that the New Patriotic Party came to office with a ‘policy’ to ‘jail all the members of this or that party so that [the NPP] shall be stronger’ is completely unfounded,’ Nana Addo stated.
‘Under the Kufuor administration, at least three prominent figures of the NDC, including current ministers, Kwesi Ahwoi, Sherry Ayitey and Seti Ocran, were all acquitted by the courts. And, there were no attempts by Attorney-General, Akufo-Addo to appeal against their acquittals.
‘Is it, therefore, being suggested that the criminal cases brought under the NDC administration against former senior officials of the Kufuor government, including former Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpiani; former Foreign Minister Osei Adjei; former Minister of Transport Richard Anane; former Minister of Information Asamoah Boateng; are all ‘persecutorial’ and driven by a deliberate ‘policy’ to make the NDC ‘stronger’ at the expense of trumped-up charges against their political opponents?’ Nana Addo asked in the statement.
By Raphael Ofori-Adeniran
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