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General News Wed, 13 Oct 2004

Bamba is FREE at Last!

WE WON?T PROSECUTE BAMBA - Attorney General
... He committed no criminal offense

Accra, Oct. 13, Chronicle -- The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Papa Owusu Ankomah has stated that government does not intend to prosecute disgraced former Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs, Alhaji Moctar Bamba as being demanded by a section of the public. The A-G?s comments came weeks after Moctar had publicly declared that he was untouchable because President Kufuor was his father and loved him.

Mr. Ankomah said when the story about the former Deputy Minister?s involvement in the incorporation of a company using the letterhead of the office of the president broke out, the police were tasked to conduct a thorough investigation into the case and submit their report for action.

But there is documentary evidence that Bamba?s corruptive conduct was more than the mere incorporation of a company; the minister?s assertion that Moctar Bamba did not use the office of the president?s letterhead to establish a company was also not true.

There is evidence that Bamba was involved in visa deals, that he lied to the Registrar General?s department, that he abused the office of the President, using letterheads for his visa deals and establishing foreign branches for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to achieve ?his own agenda? There is evidence also that the signature of Mr. Kwamena Bartels was forged on a letterhead of the Ministry of Private Sector Development and presented to a bank to provide a government of Ghana guarantee for Bamba and his partner?s company.

Both Bamba and Mr. Raymond Akuffo have denied responsibility for the forgery of the Minister?s signature and the fraudulent use of the letterhead of the Minister for Private Sector Development.

Mr. Akuffo, in his written statements to the BNI, stated that he was not the one who forged the signature but Bamba has not even answered any question from the BNI even though evidence exists that as company secretary, he was the one responsible for writing letters.

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Bamba has admitted that he was listed as a shareholder, director and Secretary of Emirate Investment Limited but said in actual fact, he was only helping his friend, Raymond Akuffo who had fraudulently represented himself as a member of parliament.

Legal opinion is that from Bamba?s own admission, he could be arraigned before court for lying under oath to the Registrar General?s Department and for providing the accessories at the presidency for abuse of the president?s letterhead for criminal purposes.

Other legal opinions are that Bamba could be tried for conspiracy to commit fraud or for causing fraud, adding only a court could acquit Bamba for no wrong done.

But the Attorney said police, after conducting impartial investigations into the case, had exonerated Bamba from any wrong doing, adding that the only mistake Bamba had committed was what he described as ?judgmental error without any criminal intent.?

But Chronicle can report that the case pending before court only deals with the aspect of impersonation and defrauding by false pretence. The case was instituted against Akuffo by Unibank who are suing him for defrauding them by false pretence.

The cases of forgery, abuse of the president?s letterheads and the visa deals have not been touched by the police even though observers say these had the potential of dragging Bamba into the legal net.

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Meanwhile, there is no evidence that the police have conducted any investigations into the visa deals of Mr. Bamba, nor the fraudulent activities, which had been linked to him.

The Chronicle has evidence that Bamba criminally used the office of the president?s and its letterhead to establish a branch of the New Patriotic Party, an act which does not only constitute abuse of office but also runs counter to the party?s constitution.

Significantly, it was this branch that was used by Bamba and his gang for their numerous visa deals.

Continuing, Papa Ankomah who was speaking at a meeting with media men in Sekondi-Takoradi to formally introduce himself to them as the NPP parliamentary candidate for the Sekondi constituency last Friday said Bamba, on realizing his judgmental error, had to pay dearly for that by resigning from government honorably.

He further told the reporters that those who were found to have acted wrongly after police investigations had been sent to court where they were currently facing prosecution.

He noted that if the police had recommended Bamba for prosecution after their investigations, the deputy minister would have been put before court without any delay but he failed to admit that the aspects of the case, which indicted Bamba had not been investigated.

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?I, as Attorney General will not cause the prosecution of anyone until I am satisfied that there is sufficient grounds to do so. It will be travesty of justice to rush a person to court without any compelling evidence to prosecute him,? he said, adding that considerable damage would have been caused to the person if at the end of the trial, he was found be to innocent.

The A-G responded to questions from the media who complained that what started as a fast track court had now degenerated into a slow track.

THE FAsT TRACK

He explained that as a government that believed in the rule of law, they could not block an accused person from using the due process of the law to defend himself through appeals to other courts.

According to him, one of the accused people currently facing trial had even objected to one of the judges sitting on the case.

He noted that because of this objection, the case had had to be adjourned sine dine without any objection from his outfit because he believed in the rule of law.

He said if all the cases went through the due court process before the courts gave final judgment, everybody would accept the verdict.

When asked why his ministry had refused to investigate cases of corruption against some of the government functionaries, the A-G said the police had investigated most of the allegations at his directive and appropriate actions had been taken against those who deserved to be punished.

He did not state the sort of punishment meted out to the offenders nor their names.

Owusu Ankomah, however, noted that punishment could take the form of dismissal, interdiction or appearing before court to face criminal prosecution, depending on the gravity of the case.

The Sekondi MP commended the Ghanaian media for the crucial role they have played so far to sustain our democracy. He said though some people used the media to constantly bash the government after repealing the criminal libel law from our statute books, he would personally say that the media had so far played the role expected of it.

Bambagate refuses to die

Source: Chronicle
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