General News of Fri, 30 Jan 20040
Foreign Minister Owes Me An Apology – Kofi "Chronicle" Coomson
The Publisher of The Chronicle, Nana Kofi Coomson, has revealed that Foreign Minister Nana Akufo-Addo deliberately pressurized one of the lawyers in his chambers, Yoni Kulendi, to withdraw from representing him in his lawful challenge of Paul Victor Obeng (PV) before the Commission on Human Rights and Administration Justice (CHRAJ) inquiries in 1996. Mr. Kulendi was the last of the strings of lawyers who withdrew from assisting Mr. Coomson in his anti-corruption crusade in the early days of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime.
The realization of Akufo-Addo’s act of betrayal came to him five years later and Mr. Coomson says if Nana really has conscience, he should apologize to him as he (Akufo-Addo) has confessed to certain named individuals.
“It is all in the past and a lot of water has gone under the bridge and I am not personally against him but the records have to be set straight,” he underscored.
Kofi Coomson, who is currently domiciled in Europe, was reacting to media speculation that he failed to pursue to the conclusion his public outing of half a dozen ministers and top functionaries during the NDC administration.
He explained to The Chronicle that the former Attorney General is known in inner New Patriotic Party (NPP) circles as a friend of Captain (rtd) Kojo Tsikata.
PV was said to have approached Kojo Tsikata to get Nana Akufo-Addo to sabotage Kofi Coomson and “his dangerous campaign to rock the NDC political leaders.”
According to Kofi Coomson, this information was used against Akufo-Addo during the presidential primaries of the NPP in 1998.
The publisher also complained that it was Emile Short’s office that has persistently refused to keep records of proceedings covering his appearance before the Commission on Human Rights and Administration Justice (CHRAJ) in 1996.
Coomson personally took six ministers and some top public servants to CHRAJ for unjustly enriching themselves.
He was represented in the final case involving Mr. Paul Victor Obeng by the current deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Captain (Rtd) Nkrabeah Effah Dartey.
Kofi Coomson said he was surprised that there was still widespread public perception that he did not appear to press charges against P. V. Obeng.
He blamed Mr. Short for the public misconception that he did not appear before CHRAJ, especially in the PV Obeng case.
“Emile Short has kept quiet. He is the person who should have officially and formally corrected that public misconception. I did appear with Effah Dartey against six lawyers of P.V. Obeng, including Nana Akuoku Sarpong, Norbert Kudjawu, Kyeretwee Opoku, Larry Adjetey, Nii Okaija Amartefio and Lamptey in a packed room of PV supporters,” he stressed.
According to Kofi Coomson, Commissioner Short told him that a virus had destroyed the records of the proceedings when he made an official request for them.
He emphasized, saying, “I did testify and a round speech of about 45 minutes was delivered by me, and Emile Short has the records.
The last time I spoke to him he said he had found them (the records) and I challenge the commissioner to produce the evidence for all the doubting Thomases.”
He told The Chronicle that PV Obeng was the last of the ministers that he testified against, days after he came out of the James Fort Prison, where he had been confined.
“ The Government only issued a white paper and cleared them all,” he said.
Those Mr. Coomson took to CHRAJ included the current Acting Managing Director of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Mr. K.K. Sarpong, the former Minister of Food and Agriculture, Ibrahim Adam, and Dr. Adjei Marfo, then Minister for Cocoa Affairs.
He hoped Mr. Short would produce verbatim the transcripts and the report of the proceedings to the press to lay down this matter once and for all.
Some media analysts and social commentators had recently tried to distort history in the wake of the ruling by CHRAJ on the complaint made before the commission by Minority Leader Alban Bagbin by saying that Kofi Coomson chickened out when he was billed to testify against Mr. Paul Victor Obeng.