The contents of an interview granted by Mr Dan Abodakpi on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show on Monday June 23, 2014, have been brought to my notice.
Of particular concern to me are some allegations made by the former Minister of Trade under President Rawlings regarding his prosecution and subsequent conviction by the Accra Fast Track High Court.
It may be recalled that on February 5, 2007, the Court, after an exhaustive trial, found Mr Abodakpi and one other guilty on seven counts of conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences and wilfully causing financial loss to the State.
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 I into his party’s internal contest.
In the interview, Mr Abodakpi claimed that, on the decision to prosecute him, he knew “for a fact” that I, as Attorney-General, advised President Kufuor “that this is not the way to go on this matter.” He further alleged, “I know President Kufuor himself called for the docket and ordered some people to proceed with the prosecution. It wasn’t Nana Akufo-Addo who presented my case in court.”
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.
In any event, professional advice that an Attorney-General (or any Minister of State for that matter) gives to the President of the Republic is privileged communication, not public information.
Secondly, 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 Abodapki or any other case for that matter.
Thirdly, criminal trials by the Attorney-General’s Department are usually conducted by the Director of Public Prosecutions or his/her subordinates. So, it is not at all strange for the Attorney-General not to be personally involved in proceedings of a criminal trial.
Again, 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 on the beck and call” of the President. Allegations of this nature are unfortunate because of their tendency to undermine the independence of the Judiciary.
Furthermore, 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.
Under the Kufuor administration, at least three prominent figures of the NDC, including current ministers, Kwesi Ahwoi and 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?
The NPP is founded on the principles of democratic accountability, individual liberty and responsibility, the rule of law and fairness. Both President Kufuor and I are firm believers in these principles. We believe in punishing wrongdoing, which Ambassador Abodapki recognises as legitimate, and not persecuting our political opponents.
The integrity of Ghana’s democracy demands that we all respect decisions of the courts, including the ones which may affect us personally and with which we may disagree.
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. I have also taken note of the fact that President Kufuor has issued a statement, through his spokesperson, Frank Agyekum, denying these allegations.
I, nevertheless, wish Mr Abodakpi the best of luck with his campaign to be the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
London, Wednesday, June 25, 2014.