We Would Not Be Intimidated By Anybody … Justice Senyo Warns

THE CHAIRMAN for the Commission of Inquiry into the performance of Black Stars at the just ended FIFA World 2014, Justice Senyo Damefe, an Appeal Court Judge says the commission was set up by the President of the Republic of Ghana and that he (Mahama) is the only person who can stop their (commission) work. “We would not be intimidated by anybody,” he said.

He was speaking at the Commission’s inaugural sitting in Accra yesterday. With him were ace Sport analyst, Moses Foh Amoaning, Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko, members of the commission, and the Counsel attached to the Commission, Jonathan Acquah. Justice Damefe said that constitutionally, it was only the President who can set up a Commission and not a Minister, therefore, the perception that it was the Minister of Sports who set up the Commission should be disregarded.

He observed that the Commission of Inquiry was an inquisitorial and an adversarial body and they were not here to fight anybody. Justice Damefe revealed that he received a letter from Ghana Football Association (GHA), addressed to the Ministry of Youth and Sports and copied to the Commission, signed by the Deputy Secretary General of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), Marcus Curtner.

However, he did not disclose the content of the letter, adding that at the appropriate time, the Commission would respond to it. He said the Commission was not set up to discuss FIFA, but there were some agitation as to whether it would start proceedings or not, because of FIFA. Justice Damfe said Ghana is a sovereign state and the highest law of the land is the constitution and that the commission has the support of the law to do an independent work.

He also lamented on an incident that happened in the Ashanti Region, where one presenter on a Kumasi based radio station was giving bad reportage that the members of the Commission were in Kumasi, squandering Ghana’s taxpayers’ money. The three member commission organized two separate seminars for the media in Accra and Kumasi last Thursday and Friday to educate journalists on media law and defamation libel. He cautioned the media to desist from bad reportage, which could mar the process of the Commission.

He again said the commission will be operating under the powers of a High Court, in accordance with Articles 278,279 and 280 of the 1992 Constitution and, therefore, could cite people for contempt, it can subpoenaed among others. Four institutions were supposed to appear before the Commission yesterday, namely Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bank of Ghana and Ministry of Youth and Sports.

However, all but one did not appear. The Commission, therefore, adjourned to Wednesday August 13, 2014, to enable them prepare fully. Mr. Amoaning on his part cautioned the media to refrain from bad reportage because the Commission was not there to punch holes into issues or do anything but to put dignity and sanity into institutions of state. On the report made on a Kumasi based radio, he said he had requested for the tape and that appropriate measures would be taken at the right time.