Be Circumspect – Else...

Justice Isaac Duose, Chairman of the Commission set up to probe financial irregularities concerning the celebration of the country’s golden jubilee celebration, has urged journalists to be circumspect with their reportage, else they could be cited for contempt. He said journalists who would sign the attendance book to indicate their presence during the sittings, could be pardoned if any blunder is committed in their reportage, however those who report an event they were not party to would be penalised. “When you come, you have to sign the attendance book so that we will know that you were here, if you don’t sign the attendance book, and you publish anything wrongly, you are in trouble,” he warned. Speaking to The Chronicle in an interview, he noted that all the sittings of the Commission would held in public. “Nothing would be done in-camera; if you say we are sitting in camera, then it means that some people are appearing in private,” he stressed. He said the commission does not know when it would complete its sittings, however it would work within its terms of reference. He further said the Commission had in its itinerary, plans to invite the regional and district coordinating directors to testify. He said the financial institutions that would be invited, include the Agricultural Development Bank, Prudential Bank, National Investment Bank and the Social Security and National Investment Trust. Justice Duose noted that they were currently studying petitions submitted by contractors who have not been paid after executing projects for the government. “We are looking at all those things so that when the public hearing starts, we will have a general knowledge of what happened,” he said. He said also that the venue for the sittings was being put in good shape for them to commence work tomorrow, stressing that any member of the public who had a problem, could present his or her petition to the Commission. The three-member commission has Justice Isaac Duose, a Court of Appeal Judge, as Chairman, with Mr. O. T. Prempeh, a former Auditor-General, and Ms. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, a legal practitioner, as members. The terms of reference of the Commission are to inquire into and report on allegations of improper use of public and other funds; inquire into the use by the Secretariat of any movable and unmovable property. It will also look into any matter which appears to the Commission to be incidental to, or reasonably related to the celebrations, which in the opinion of the Commission, ought to be inquired into, and to make recommendations in respect of the findings of fact by the Commission.