General News of Thursday, 26 January 2017
Godfred Dame , lawyer for Catherine Afeku, Member of Parliament for Evalue Ajomoro-Gwira in the Western Region, has clarified that his client has not been involved in any criminal lawsuit or convicted for fraud as alleged.
Catherine Afeku has been nominated as the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, but a group calling itself the Truth and Accountable Governance (TAG), has petitioned Parliament’s Appointments Committee to reject her because she was once found guilty fraud.
Mr. Dame indeed confirmed that Mrs. Afeku and her husband, were involved in a court case in 2007, but it was a civil lawsuit filed by an American couple, as evidenced by public records.
But he insisted that “there has not been any judgment whatsoever by any court of competent jurisdiction in Ghana, or anywhere in the world convicting Catherine Afeku of fraud or any other criminal offence.
“The case between the Americans was a civil one; a civil one instituted by them in 2005 and Judgment was given by the commercial division of the High Court in 2007. The Judgments were for the specific reliefs of the recovery of the sum of $217,000. That is not a criminal offence; is it?” he asked.
He further noted that, fraud is a criminal offence prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office, saying that in this case, “there has not been a prosecution by the Attorney General.”
Giving some background to the civil suit, Mr. Dame explained that, “Catherine Afeku and the Americans entered into some business transactions, the object of which was to incorporate a company in Ghana. The Americans, who claimed to have an interest in the company, were not satisfied with certain payments that were made, and it was specifically in relation to that the action was filed.”
2007 judgment appealed
The case took another turn in 2013, when Mrs. Afeku appealed the 2007 judgment alleging fraud on the part of the Americans, who filed the initial lawsuit.
“She had come by evidence suggesting that the judgement itself was procured by fraud. So Catherine Afeku filed another action and I executed it on her behalf in 2013, seeking to set aside the earlier judgement on the basis of fraud.”
That application was granted by the High Court, according to Mr. Dame, as he stated that it meant “that [the 2007] judgment, as far as I am concerned cannot even be enforced in the Jurisdiction of Ghana.”
Nana Addo orders probe
Mr. Dame confirmed that, following the allegation, the President, Nana Akufo-Addo solicited for explanation from him regarding the nominee.
He said since the President is committed to fighting corruption with integrity, it was necessary that he sought clarity on the matter, saying he has offered the needed explanation to the President.