Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ruling for Tarzan, Mpiani

Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani are on trial and Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 29, 2010
An Accra Fast Track High Court will on August 10, 2010, decide on whether or not to prosecute Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby aka Tarzan and Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani for causing financial loss to the state in the matters of Ghana@50.

The court presided over by Justice Samuel Marful-Sau of the Court of Appeal however made it clear that the court could only deliver the ruling “subject to the approval of the Chief Justice in view of the legal vacation” which commences on August 1,2010.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby, a former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Ghana @50 Secretariat and Mr. Mpiani, former Chief of Staff in the erstwhile NPP administration and also the Chairman of the National Planning Committee for the celebration have been put on trial by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government for the various roles they played during the 50th Independence Anniversary and the 2007 African Union Summit hosted by Ghana.

However, the two NPP stalwarts are saying that the charges preferred against them by the state “is a violation of their constitutional right under Articles 278 (1) (a) and 280 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) of the 1992 Constitution,” but the state insists the two men have a case to answer in the Ghana @ 50 celebrations.

At their maiden appearance, the two accused persons pleaded not guilty to four counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state and were granted GH¢ 35 million self-recognizance bail.

Messrs Akoto Ampaw and Yoni Kulendi, counsel for Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani respectively, have already moved separate motions urging the court to strike out the charges preferred against the two.

Responding to the separate applications yesterday, Mr. Anthony Gyambiby, a Chief State Attorney who will be prosecuting the case said “the steps taken by the Attorney General to mount this prosecution are within the confines of the 1992 Constitution,” and urged the court to try the case.

He said “the Attorney General has not breached any mandatory procedure. She is exercising her powers within the confines of the law. The mounting of this prosecution is not with any malice or any personal hatred. She is only exercising her powers conferred in her under Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution.”

“What the Attorney General is seeking to do is fair. It is not as if someone is vindictive and has personal hatred against the applicants.”

The Chief State Attorney contested the two applicant’s counsel submissions that once Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani appeared before the Ghana @ 50 Commission of Enquiry as witnesses, they have immunity from prosecution saying “their status at the Commission were other than witnesses. The immunity is not a shield for anybody who has appeared before the Commission.”

He said Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani were the ‘subject matter’ of the Commission’s enquiry saying “this immunity does not apply to persons whose conduct was the subject matter of the enquiry.”

He said the President had a choice as to what to do with the Commission’s report saying “having accepted the recommendations, the President came out with a white paper and instructed the Attorney General to institute mount prosecution against the applicants under the law.”

Mr. Gyambiby argued that once the six months needed before Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani could contest the Commission’s report at the Court of Appeal had not elapsed, the Attorney General had the right to mount a prosecution saying “after the six months the Attorney general’s hands are tied under the law”

Replying the prosecution, Mr. Ampaw said “it is unlawful for the Attorney General to sneak in between the six months mandatory period to mount a prosecution. The six months is to permit aggrieved persons whom adverse findings have been made against them to do an assessment and challenge the report.”

When Mr. Kulendi took his turn, he said Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani could not be the subject matter of the Commission’s enquiry because the terms of reference and the preamble of the Commission were to among other things “enquire into the activities of Ghana@ 50 Secretariat and the celebration”.

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