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What Is Wrong With AG’s Dept?
 
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29-May-2012  
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The image of the Attorney General’s Department has suffered serious battering in the past few months as lawyers and members of the public question the Department’s inability to commence prosecution or win high profile cases.

Matters have been made worse by allegations of corruption against persons who have occupied the high position of government’s lawyer and high level officials in the department.

Some of the serious charges against the Department have come from individuals who have headed the department at a point in time.

One came last week from former Attorney General Mr Martin Amidu who, after earlier expressing doubts over the commitment of some personnel within the department, expressed the fear that some National Democratic Congress (NDC) legal team members whose business, he alleged, was to meddle in the affairs of the AG’s Department could undermine the prosecution of the infamous Alfred Agbesi Woyome case.

“What I fear is the so called ‘NDC Legal Team,’ some of whose members unethically make it their business to meddle in the professional affairs of the office of the Attorney General while at the same time acting as lawyers for clients whose interest are opposed to those of the Republic,” Mr Amidu wrote in a statement to the press.

Mr Amidu’s statement was in reaction to another allegation from a former Attorney General under the previous government, Ayikoi Otoo, that the government was unduly delaying the prosecution of Mr Woyome.

The AG’s seeming paralysis is however not limited to the case involving Mr Woyome.

Lawyers from the AG frequently plead in court that “the AG is still investigating the matter and so we will appeal to the court to grant us an adjourned date of two weeks or four,” often months into the commencement of these cases.

This attitude of state prosecutors have even received judicial censure, with some judges asking the AG to be sensitive to the human rights of the accused persons while other judges have also threatened to strike out the cases.

Ms Audrey Kocuvie Tay, the trial judge sitting on the case involving Christian Asem Dake, alias Limping Man, on April 4 appealed to the AG to be sensitive to the human rights of the accused person after the state had asked for adjournment date on several occasions and had even told the court at a point that they were not ready to prosecute the accused person.

Justice John Ajet-Nasam on March 26 also told the state prosecutor, Ms Lamptey, that he had given the state up to April 30 to start the prosecution of Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome or throw in the towel.

Cases such as those of DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda, lawyer Charles Owusu Juanah and other two accomplices in the money laundering case, Ken Agyapong, who is Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, and the AG versus Woyome case had all suffered some delay in proceedings due to the inability of the AG to start prosecution.

In Woyome’s civil case, cost has been awarded against the AG twice for delaying proceedings.

Some lawyers have openly expressed worry that the posture of the AG would make Ghana appear rather odd among countries using the commonwealth legal system as most of the practice follows the same legal system and uses cases in one country to advance the law in another.

Some inside sources within the Department also contend that there is work overload at the Department.

However, it is clear from claims and counterclaims that there is more than one factor at work for the AG’s difficulties.
 
 
 
Source: The Finder
 
 

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