Firing of AG, judgement debt, ‘Nana Konadu for president’ posters played up in Ghana media - The dismissal of Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Martin Amidu, the never-ending crises of a huge judgement debt to a businessman and swapping of cocaine, and the sudden appearance of posters of former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, as a potential presidential candidate dominated the newspapers in Ghana this week.
Rumours of the imminent dismissal of Mr Amidu filled the air all week after he failed to substantiate an allegation in a strongly-worded statement the previous week accusing an unnamed colleague of “gargantuan crimes”.
And it came to pass on Thursday when the President John Evans Atta Mills fired him for “misconduct”.
“Amidu fired for misconduct” was the headline of the state-owned Graphic.
It said President Mills had with immediate effect relieved Mr Amidu of his post as a result of his 'misconduct' at a meeting on 13 January presided over by the President.
'Mr Amidu's behaviour is incompatible with acceptable standards expected of ministers and appointees of the President,' an official statement said.
Mr Amidu had been angered by what he called attacks on him by newspapers loyal to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and suspected a colleague minister of being the hand behind them. The newspapers had accused him of not prosecuting a number of important cases, an allegation he flatly denied.
The state-owned Ghanaian Times had the headline, “Amidu axed” with the story saying President Mills on Thursday fired Mr Amidu for gross misconduct.
Interior Minister Dr Benjamin Kunbuor replaces him as acting Attorney-General and Minister of Justice until the appointment of a substantive minister.
Dr Kunbuor has been directed to continue the prosecution of all cases currently before the courts, including the Alfred Woyome case on the payment of a huge controversial judgement debt over the abrogation of an alleged contract by the previous government to rehabilitate sports stadiums in 2006.
Other headlines included “Amidu sacked” (Daily Guide) and Amidu booted out; Kunbuor in”(New Crusading Guide), both pro-opposition newspapers.
The Graphic had earlier in the week in a story “Amidu ‘floored’: Can’t prove ‘gargantuan crimes claims” said President Mills had met with Mr Amidu over the minister’s allegation of crime against some ministers in the government and demanded him to substantiate it.
“At the end of the meeting, held behind closed doors at the Castle, Mr Amidu failed to mention the names of anybody in government or substantiate his claims of ‘gargantuan crimes’ purportedly committed by members of the government,” the Graphic reported.
It said the Minister, who had said that he had never begged President Mills to be appointed Attorney-General, pleaded with the President to temper justice with mercy, particularly in the face of an impending cabinet reshuffle.
On the judgement debt crisis, the Daily Guide had the headline “Amidu grabs Woyome” with the story saying Mr Amidu on Monday described as fraudulent, the judgement debt paid to Alfred Agbesi Woyome, who is also a member of the ruling party.
The Attorney General in an amendment writ filed in an Accra Commercial Court to challenge the payment of the money said Mr Woyome deliberately defrauded the state with his claim, knowing fully well that he had no contract with the state.
He said what Woyome relied on as a contract could not hold because the document had a caveat disclaiming any obligations from the state.
The Ghanaian Times in its headline said “A-G goes to court – Wants Woyome to refund moneys.”
The story said the Attorney-General’s Department on Monday began the process in court to compel Mr Woyome to refund the controversial money “mistakenly” paid to him as judegement debt, saying it was obtained through a “fraudulent misrepresentation”.
In a new motion filed at the Accra Commercial Court, the AG admitted that there was no contract between the government and Mr Woyome, hence he lacked the capacity to take legal action against the state, which resulted in the payment of the judgement debt.
Furthermore, the AG is claiming that the two contracts signed between the government and Waterville for the rehabilitation of Ohene Djan and upgrading the El Wak stadia, both in Accra, on 26 April, 2006, was an international business transaction which was neither laid before nor approved by Parliament to become operative.
Graphic had another story with the headline, “Payment of judgement debt to Woyome - only 17 million Ghana cedis was paid.”
It said the office of the Auditor-General has clarified the payment of judgement debt to Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, saying that it was only one payment totalling 17,094,493.54 Ghana cedis made in 2010 and not 58,905,974.13 Ghana cedis.
Meanwhile, former Sports minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo, and a number of officials under the former government, who have refused to appear before the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), which has been asked by President Mills to investigate the case, have gone to court to stop EOCO proceeding with its investigations.
“Osafo-Maafo Drags EOCO To Court,” was the headline of the Daily Guide, which said Osafo-Maafo had gone to court challenging EOCO’s decision to invite him to testify in investigations into the payment of the judgement debt to Mr Woyome.
“Top cop charged” was the headline of the Daily Guide on the ongoing cocaine-turned-baking soda crisis.
It said Gifty Mawueyenga Tehoda, the senior police officer who was being held by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) in connection with the infamous cocaine-turned-baking soda saga was on Monday charged with abetment of crime and stealing of cocaine.
The accused person, who appeared at a Circuit Court in Accra, pleaded not guilty to the offence and was remanded in police custody to re-appear on 6 February.
The Graphic reported under the headline, “Cocaine swap: Police service interdicts DSP Tehoda” that the Police Administration had interdicted DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda who is at the centre of the cocaine-turned-soda saga.
A statement from the police said Tehoda’s interdiction was in line with the Police Administration’s regulations.
“Konadu for President posters out,” was the headline of the story in the Daily Guide which said residents of Kumasi and other parts of the country woke up on Sunday morning to witness fresh 2012 election posters of Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, wife of former president and NDC founder, Jerry John Rawlings, in circulation.
“The posters, which were nicely made by experts in the designing business, had a huge smiling portrait of Nana Konadu, wearing a head gear in National Democratic Congress (NDC) colours.”
The newspaper said the inscription on the posters was “Vote Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings for President 2012”.
“Other inscriptions on the posters which had already started creating hullabaloo in political circles in Kumasi included ‘Come and redeem us’, ‘NDC is dying slowly’, ‘Grassroots need you’, and ‘Still be bold’”.
Aides of the former first lady, who lost her bid to unseat President Mills at the party's primaries, have denied involvement in the release of the posters.
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