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Thursday, July 7, 2022

NPP jabs Betty

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Betty Mould-Iddrissu and Kwadwo MpianiTHE MINORITY in Parliament yesterday pointed out to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould-Iddrisu that

she cannot prosecute officials of the defunct Ghana @ 50 Secretariat in court, since President Atta Mills has taken the option of a commission of enquiry.

The Minority NPP said Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu cannot process Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani, former Chief of Staff and chairman of the [email protected] National Planning Committee, and Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby, Chief Executive Officer of the Secretariat, for court, when a commission of enquiry had looked into the same case.

It said that would amount to a double trial, which would infringe on the rights of the affected persons.

President Mills had set up the Duose Commission of Enquiry to probe the activities of [email protected] celebrations.

The President was yet to issue a White Paper on the commission’s recommendations; but his party supporters were mounting pressure on him to prosecute the affected officials to satisfy campaign promises.

In a statement signed by Fredrick Opare-Ansah, Minority Chief Whip, the Minority NPP noted that as long as there was a report by the commission, which was upheld by a White Paper from government, there could not be another trial since that already constituted judgment.

The Minority’s reaction followed a story published in the Daily Graphic of Friday March 19, 2010, which stated among others that:

“Responding to the recommendations of the Ghana @ 50 Commission for Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, the former Chief of Staff, to be prosecuted, the minister said her office, in conjunction with other institutions of state, was working on a government White Paper after which prosecutions would commence”.

According to the Minority, by the 1992 Constitution, recommendations of the [email protected] 50 Commission was equivalent to the judgment of a High Court, which could only be challenged at the Court of Appeal.

Minority pointed out that Article 280 of the Constitution provided that “where a commission of enquiry makes an adverse finding against any person, the report of the commission of enquiry shall, for the purposes of this constitution, be deemed to be the judgment of the High Court, and accordingly shall lie as of right from the finding of the Commission to the Court of Appeal”.

The NPP said it was totally at a loss and confused as to whether the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice was operating by the provisions of the 1992 Constitution or by some other law foreign to Ghana.

The Minority indicated that when President Mills embarked on the path of pursuing persons involved in the Ghana @ 50 celebrations in the former Kufuor administration, he had a number of options open to him.

The options, according to the Minority, included the Auditor General’s report to Parliament, the Attorney-General working with other institutions of State and a Commission of Enquiry, in which the President chose the latter and therefore could not go back to court for prosecution.

The Minority said assuming the commission even erred in its recommendations and recommended prosecution, it was the duty of the A-G to advise the President on the propitious legal route to proceed on.

“The gamut of our argument is that since the Constitution makes the recommendation of the commission equal to the judgment of the high court with contention only at the Court of Appeal, one wonders what locus anyone has to take the same matter to high court again,” they argued.

They wondered how anyone could suffer double trials for the same alleged offence when there had already been a judgment.

In the opinion of the Minority, the Commission’s judgment was final unless the persons against whom the report made adverse findings wanted to appeal at the Court of Appeal, or unless the government chose to reject the report of its own commission of enquiry in which instance the Constitution once again made clear the provisions of procedure.

The Minority observed that the campaigns and elections were over and that they did not begrudge the NDC “for the wanton lies that were propagated during the 2008 electioneering campaign”.

The group admonished President Mills to focus his energy and dwindling resources on more productive and profitable enterprises, stressing that the people of Ghana were waiting for the ‘better Ghana’ President Mills and his team promised.

It further advised the A-G and the President to tread cautiously as the Minority in Parliament was prepared to use all means to protect and uphold the Constitution of the land.

By Awudu Mahama

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