General News of Sunday, 21 June 2015
Journalists, lawyers and the general public who go to the Assembly Press daily to buy the report of the World Cup Commission of Inquiry may have to suspend the daily ritual until further notice.
Joy News can confirm that the report is not ready and may take several months to be available for the public.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, has stated that “the report and the Government White Paper on the Report will be available for purchase by members of the general public…within the six months period required by Article 280(5) for the report to become a judgment of the High Court.”
The Attorney-General’s statement is contained in a letter she wrote to the lawyer for the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Thaddeus Sory, who had written to request a copy of the report. Thaddeus Sory’s letter was dated June 15, and the A-G’s response, a copy of which is available to Joy News was dated June 17 but it was received by the lawyer on Friday, June 19.
On March 30, 2015, the Justice Senyo Dzamafe Commission presented its findings to President John Dramani Mahama.
The A-G on June 11, announced the release of the Government White Paper and the Report of the Commission of Enquiry and directed journalists to the government printer, the Assembly Press, to secure copies. Soft copies of the Government White Paper were later distributed to the media.
A Gazette notice published by government and dated June 11, reads:
“The Following White Paper and Report are published today:
‘Whitepaper on the Report of the Commission of Enquiry into matters relating to the Participation of the Black Stars Team in the World Cup Tournament in Brazil 2014.
‘Report of the Commission of Enquiry into matters relating to the Participation of the Black Stars Team in the World Cup Tournament in Brazil 2014.’”
On June 16, Presidential Staffer Stan Xoese Dogbe tweeted a picture of the Gazette notification with the following words: “Some pple just like to talk. Journalism is also abt gettn out to look 4 info. Spoonfed journalism is our bane.”
His comment later that day on one Kojo Oduro Boakye’s Facebook post on the gazette notification was:
“Kojo, thanks. But what information was not shared about the above? The AG briefed the press. The White Paper instead of saying go get it, was circulated to all media houses via our usual channel. The report, a voluminous 400-page document, should be photocopied and sent out to media houses? Media were told where copies of report and the gazetted white paper can be found. They won’t go, and sit back and rely on what people to tell them, that it is not available. That’s not journalism, respectfully. You have supposed lawyers come and sit on programmes and spew out falsehood, and journalists won’t check the facts and make the falsehood by these people the news?”
People who had gone to the Assembly Press but failed to secure a copy of the report pointed it out to the Presidential Staffer. Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, wrote:
“My reporters went to the Assembly Press yesterday with the intention to buy a copy of the Report for our study and work. They were informed that there were no copies on offer for sale to the public yet. I have directed them to go back there today for same purpose. I also know that the GFA President was yesterday personally at the same Assembly Press to buy a copy of the Report.”
In reply to the GFA lawyer, the Attorney-General said “for the purposes of clarity, we quote below relevant portions of Article 280 of the 1992 Constitution on Commissions of Inquiry particularly Article 280 (2), (3), (5) and (6):
“(2) Where a commission of inquiry makes an adverse finding against any person, the report of the commission of inquiry shall, for the purposes of this Constitution, be deemed to be the judgment of the High Court; and accordingly, an appeal shall lie as of right from the finding of the commission to the Court of Appeal.
“(3) The President shall, subject to clause (4) of this article cause to be published the report of a commission of inquiry together with the White Paper on it within six months after the date of the submission of the report by the commission.
On Thaddeus Sory’s request for a copy of the Commission of Inquiry’s Report, the Attorney-General wrote:
“Your attention is also drawn to the fact that considering the volume of the report of the Commission of Inquiry, reasonable time is required for the Government Printer to prepare an initial print of the Report and the Government White Paper on the Report, proof read the Report and the Government White Paper on the Report, print the Report and the Government White Paper on the Report on Vellum and finally print for the public.
“Be informed that the only copy of the Report available to this office and the Government White Paper have been submitted to the government printer and is being used to expedite the process involved in printing the Report and the White Paper for the public.
“This office has the assurance of the Government Printer that the report and the Government White Paper on the report will be available for purchase by members of the general public including your client within the six months period required by Article 280(5) for the report to be come a judgment of the High Court.”