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General News Wed, 25 Feb 2004

Divisive policy of selective justice by Govt - Mahama

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has stated that it would ensure that all persons are treated equal before the law and that political trials would cease to be a part of the political landscape when it takes over from the NPP in January 2005.

The party expressed disappointment at recent attempts by the NPP government ?to whitewash and exonerate its officials who have been eked in various scandals and corruption cases?.

?It is apparent now that the Kufour administration is determined to continue its divisive policy of selective justice?, said Mr. John Mahama, Party Director of Communications in an interview with The Chronicle in Accra yesterday.

This, he said, explained why the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Papa Owusu Ankomah had been at pains to convince the public why his office would not prosecute Mr. Samuel Ashong Narh, Tema Municipal Chief Executive, over alleged impropriety in the award of contracts that led to considerable financial loss to the state as reported in the Statesman of Thursday, February 19, 2004.

Mr. Mahama asked why Alhaji Moctar Bamba, Deputy Minister and MP for Wenchi East, at the centre of the scandal at the office of the President, had reportedly been exonerated by the BNI, the Police and the Office of the Chief of Staff while his alleged accomplice, Raymond Kwame Akuffo had been arraigned before court.

?It is most unfortunate that Attorney General Papa Owusu Ankomah seems to be obsessed with defending officials of the NPP Government against allegations of corruption, instead of pursuing justice on the basis of equality before the law,? Mr. Mahama pointed out.

He said the Attorney General appeared to find nothing wrong or criminal with discretional misapplication or breach of financial procedure when it involved NPP officials, and yet the same NPP Government had eagerly put former NDC Government functionaries before court for the same offences.

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?The Attorney General has stated that the case of the TMA Chief Executive involves noncompliance with procedure and that does not amount to corruption or criminality.

In the name of equality before the law, the NDC would have expected that the Attorney General would apply the same principle when dealing with former NDC officials, some of who are currently languishing in jail for similar offences?.

Mr. Mahama said that the minority found it unconscionable for the AG to proclaim that people should not be prosecuted because of political pressure when he was doing the exact opposite in the case of NDC officials.

The AG on behalf of the state had the power to decide which cases must be prosecuted and which should not. However, Mr. Mahama pointed out, in exercising such discretionary power, the public expected him to dispense justice with fairness, in order not to undermine the cherished principle of equality before the lawAccording to Mr. Mahama it was a matter of great public concern that the Serious Fraud Office (SF0) had commenced the unprecedented move of re-writing its reports in order to clear NPP officials cited for corruption.

This discriminatory trend was bound to undermine public confidence in the state institutions and strengthen public perception that bodies like the SF0 had become willing tools for the persecution of political opponents of the NPP, he charged.

?The current controversies surrounding SF0 reports on investigations of NPP officials, the rewriting of some reports leading to the eventual exoneration of these officials, lends credence to the NDC view that the Kufour administration is practising selective justice in Ghana today.?

Source: Chronicle
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