A request by the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to Parliament for the release of Mr. Richard Anane and Dr. Akoto Osei for their caution statements on the Ghana International Airlines (GIA) probe saga has seriously backfired because the laid down procedure was not followed. This development has created a ‘temporal roadblock’ in the way of the Attorney-General’s quest to prosecute Dr. Anane and Dr. Akoto Osei on a variety of charges at the courts.
The CID boss had in a letter No. S.220/SF.1/INVEST/V.1/116 requested the Clerk of Parliament to release Hon. Dr. Akoto Osei and Hon. Dr. Richard Anane on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 14:00 hours and 15:00 hours respectively “to appear before the ‘committee’ at the CID Headquarters for further discussions on the Ghana International Airline investigations.”
A letter in response to the CID boss dated March 10, 2010 and signed by Mr. Ebenezer Ahumah Djietror, Principal Assistant Clerk, Legal (for the Clerk to Parliament) – which was intercepted by The New Crusading GUIDE – read in part, “FIRST OF ALL, I RESPECTFULLY WISH TO STATE THAT THE REQUEST IS MISPLACED AS THE CLERK TO PARLIAMENT HAS NO CONSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL OR ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY OVER HON. MEMBERS.”
It continued that “per Article 118(2) of the 1992 Constitution, if at all, it is only the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament who may exercise any such authority.” The Principal Assistant Clerk quoted the provision under the Article thus, “The certificate of the Speaker that a Member or the Clerk is attending the proceedings of Parliament is conclusive evidence of attendance at Parliament.”
According to the letter, the Constitution also provides in Articles 117 as follows, “Civil or criminal process coming from any court or place out of Parliament shall not be served on, or executed in relation to, the Speaker or a Member or the Clerk to Parliament while he is on his way to, attending at or returning from, any proceedings of Parliament.”
Article 118(1) also states, “Neither the Speaker, nor a Member of, nor the Clerk to, Parliament shall be compelled, while attending Parliament to appear as a witness in any court or place out of Parliament.”
The missive stated categorically, “PLEASE BE ACCORDINGLY INFORMED THAT THE CLERK IS UNABLE TO BRING YOUR REQUEST TO THE ATTENTION OF THE TWO (2) HON. MEMBERS AS THE HOUSE IS IN SESSION AND SITTING IS OFTEN EXTENDED BEYOND THE NORMAL SITTING HOURS AFTER WHICH SOME COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE ALSO MEET. BARRING THE ABOVE CONSTITUTIONAL LIMITATIONS, YOU MAY WISH TO HAVE THE PROCESS SERVED ON THE TWO (2) HON. MEMBERS IN ANOTHER MANNER,” the letter concluded.
Records available to The New Crusading GUIDE, indicate that in a similar case where Hon. Dan Abodakpi – then Member of Parliament – was needed by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for investigations into the formation of a company by name Gateway Services Ltd., the proper procedure was followed.
Mr. T.A. Codjoe, Deputy Executive Director, SFO, in a letter dated August 9, 2001, requested the Speaker of Parliament at the time to release Dan Abodakpi to assist the SFO’s investigators in the exercise.
Acknowledging receipt of the said letter, the then Acting Clerk of Parliament, Mr. K.E.K. Tachie, asserted that “the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament is currently out of the country on official assignment and is expected to return to the country on the 20th of August, 2001.”
In a follow-up letter dated August 22, 2001, Mr. Tachie informed the Deputy Executive Director of the SFO that the Hon. Speaker had returned to the country from his official assignment abroad “AND HAS INSTRUCTED ME TO SAY, IN REPLY TO YOUR REQUEST, THAT THE HON. MEMBER FOR KETA, MR. DAN ABODAKPI MAY BE RELEASED TO ASSIST YOU IN YOUR INVESTIGATION INTO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF GATEWAY SERVICES LTD.”
Readers will recall that the "New Crusading Guide" last week carried a front page story headlined, “MPIANI, ANANE & CO. FOR COURT …On Charges Of Willfully/Negligently Causing Financial Loss To The State,” and stated that “Apparently being pressurized by the former President, Jerry John Rawlings and some fanatics of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to take quick action against some former public officials whom they (Rawlings & Co) perceive as having milked the national economy, the ruling government has decided to take legal action against some former public office holders in connection with alleged malfeasance in the operations of Ghana International Airlines Limited (GIAL).”
The said publication quoted a source close to the office of the Attorney-General and said a confirmation of the hint was in a letter written to the Director-General CID, at the CID Headquarters in Accra, by Ms Gertrude G. Aikins, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), which was intercepted by this paper.
The letter under reference read in part, “I REFER TO THE INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE OPERATIONS OF THE GHANA INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES LIMITED CASE AND HAVE BEEN DIRECTED BY THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL (A-G) AND MINISTER FOR JUSTICE TO ASK YOU TO TAKE CAUTION STATEMENTS FROM THE UNDERLISTED SUSPECTS IDENTIFIED BY THE INVESTIGATIONS.”
According to the letter from the A-G’s office, nine suspects had been invited to write their caution statements in connection with the GIA saga. They included Dr. Richard Anane, charged with willfully causing financial loss contrary to S.179A 3(a); Mr. Sam Crabbe – willfully causing financial loss contrary to S.179A 3(a); Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani – negligently causing financial loss to the state contrary to S.179A 2(a); Dr. Akoto Osei – negligently causing financial loss to the state contrary to S.179A 2(a); Mr. Sam Azu - negligently causing financial loss to the state contrary to S.179A 2(a) and Mr. Daniel Boakye Agyeman - negligently causing financial loss to the state contrary to S.179A 2(a).
The rest are Mr. Albert Vitale - willfully causing financial loss contrary to S.179A 3(a); Mr. Ralph Atkin - willfully causing financial loss contrary to S.179A 3(a) and Mr. Kirk Healon - willfully causing financial loss contrary to S.179A 3(a).
Source: Peter Atiemo/New Crusading Guide/Ghana
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