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Opinions Tue, 11 Dec 2007

When Justice Takes a Tumble, Criminals Become Angels

While I am not a lawyer by any slice of the word, I think that my nation won’t indict me for commenting on the recent court verdict on Amaning and Alhaji Issah’s case. Can Ghana become a civilized nation-state while maintaining an attitude that encourages doing nothing, and thinking that someone will do something? In the end, nothing is done, because by wanting the imaginary someone do something, Ghana is denied everything, which in turn leaves our nation with nothing. Ghana’s habitual silence in the face of many injustices will make her a victim of her self-serving laws.

Since Judge Dotse’s verdict, no Ghanaian has questioned the moral and legal justification(s) for the handing of one of the most lenient sentences, in the nation’s history to these narco-criminals? Given the verdict, will the international community ever take Ghana seriously on her global commitment to fight drug trafficking? What message did, and does, a fifteen-year jail term for these two narco-kingpins send to the nation’s cocaine millionaires, and their political sponsors? That they could violate our nation’s laws with impunity, and be given a slap on the wrist, and subsequently released from the penal colony to enjoy your narco-fortunes? I don’t see the Vatican, given its magnanimity, ever imposing such a merciful sentence on one of its pedophilic priests knowing that, may altar-boys have to strap themselves in diapers to prevent free access from priests. In Ghana, blessed are the narco-philanthropists who fund their political vicars, for they shall receive the nation’s most prestigious honour. They will be driven at night to sleep in their homes while poor convicts endure the unfairness of our nation’s two-tiered justice system. After all, by falling on the sword to protect their earthly lords, the convicted will be accorded the privileges of royalty.
Ghana, our dearest country, is at a crossroad. It is about time that we shed our cheery attitude, and take the business of justice seriously. In my opinion, a society that lacks the structure to constrain the human criminality will eventually breed human-monsters who could turn the nation's innocence into an incalculable misery. As some here would agree with me, Judge Dotse failed to take into consideration certain key moral issues. (a) How many Ghanaian children are going to become addicts by binging on the missing cocaine? (b) Given the sheer size of the cocaine, and its street value, which is estimated at US$280 million, is Judge Dotse’s verdict an encouragement, or deterrence, to the convicted, and their criminal narco-cohorts? (c) How does this sentence reverse Ghana’s image as a cocaine-friendly nation-state? (c) How can a criminal justice system that sentenced someone to a five year-term for stealing a gourd of palmwine rationalize the sentencing of notorious narco-criminals to a fifteen-year term knowing that they could be pardoned for good behaviour? (d) By failing to seize their convicts’ assets, which were acquired through narco-proceeds, and which our cocaine trafficking laws clearly stipulate, did the presiding judge undermine the penal law by meting out a generous sentence to cocaine dealers whose networks permeate through the upper-tiers of political power? (f) After their release from prison, is Ghana going to see a reenactment of another Benjillo saga where the state was ordered by the court to make financial restitution to a convicted narco-trafficker?
In my opinion, a token justice that is delivered with the view to moderate societal revulsion against a serious criminal action is not justice at all. As a nation, we cannot allow this miscarriage of justice to become part of our nation’s jurisprudential philosophy. As history has it, the subversion of the law to appease certain backdoor-kingmakers is not healthy for our nation’s democratic credentials and international image. In nations where politicians have colluded with narco-entrepreneurs, as it seems to be the case herein, they (i.e. these politicians) have paid the ultimate price for their criminality in offering protection to the drug underworld.
Is our nation going to wait in everlasting quiet until these aggrieved drug dealers begin to kill their political patrons and blame it on the nation’s armed robbers? Have we not learnt our lesson from the Columbian narco-militias and the threats they pose to Alvaro Uribe’s government? Does Ghana have the resources and the expertise to defuse the prospect of our nation becoming a lawless narco-state? The questions are endless, and the potential consequences for our inactions are horrific, to say the least. National security does not thrive on speeches. It is a reflection on the “what ifs,” and existing contingency plans to deal with any criminal actions that threaten the centrality of the state, and the state’s constitutional authority to use legitimate violence to reproduce social order. From the look of things, and from what we know at the present time, our security agencies cannot suppress any narco-violence should it take place in Ghana
Since this verdict, I have watched in disgust the media’s silence in examining the implications of Dr. Dotse’s judgement. As a mouthpiece, the Ghanaian media cannot avoid pressing national issues such as the one herein, and cash in on sensational news items. Our media cannot ignore its socio-moral responsibility to confront the greed in the Ghanaian community, and the hidden and unsightly hands that protect these wrongdoers from criminal law. The mystery that surrounds how the cocaine ship found its way onto our nation’s shores without any detection by the nation’s security agencies raises more questions than answers. How did Dr. Addo Kufuor, who was then the Defence Minister, and Mr. Francis Opoku, both of whom claimed to have preempted many imaginary coup plots fail to defend Ghana’s territorial integrity of from narco-thugs?
The stationing of British narco-officers at the Kotoka International Airport shows the ineffectuality of the Ghanaian government in curbing narco-trafficking. In the eyes of the British government, Ghanaian government cannot be trusted to single-handedly deal with our nation’s surging narco-industry. Lastly, by allowing a foreign agency an operational space in one of the nation’s most sensitive, and strategic installation (i.e. Kotoka International Airport,) the current government has partially ceded our national sovereignty to the British government. To the present administration, surrendering a part of our sovereignty to remain in the good books of our colonial masters is independence. Let’s wait to see the Master-Cyber-Squealer skip on his pointy hoofs to sing his clownish partisan bullfrog hymns, while his nuns yelp the usual chorus line. Who in this age of evolutionary rap and hip-hop listens to a throaty symphony without tuneful melodies? We are not a serious nation. Are we? I cry for my nation. Hope all is well. Good and cheers.



Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

While I am not a lawyer by any slice of the word, I think that my nation won’t indict me for commenting on the recent court verdict on Amaning and Alhaji Issah’s case. Can Ghana become a civilized nation-state while maintaining an attitude that encourages doing nothing, and thinking that someone will do something? In the end, nothing is done, because by wanting the imaginary someone do something, Ghana is denied everything, which in turn leaves our nation with nothing. Ghana’s habitual silence in the face of many injustices will make her a victim of her self-serving laws.

Since Judge Dotse’s verdict, no Ghanaian has questioned the moral and legal justification(s) for the handing of one of the most lenient sentences, in the nation’s history to these narco-criminals? Given the verdict, will the international community ever take Ghana seriously on her global commitment to fight drug trafficking? What message did, and does, a fifteen-year jail term for these two narco-kingpins send to the nation’s cocaine millionaires, and their political sponsors? That they could violate our nation’s laws with impunity, and be given a slap on the wrist, and subsequently released from the penal colony to enjoy your narco-fortunes? I don’t see the Vatican, given its magnanimity, ever imposing such a merciful sentence on one of its pedophilic priests knowing that, may altar-boys have to strap themselves in diapers to prevent free access from priests. In Ghana, blessed are the narco-philanthropists who fund their political vicars, for they shall receive the nation’s most prestigious honour. They will be driven at night to sleep in their homes while poor convicts endure the unfairness of our nation’s two-tiered justice system. After all, by falling on the sword to protect their earthly lords, the convicted will be accorded the privileges of royalty.
Ghana, our dearest country, is at a crossroad. It is about time that we shed our cheery attitude, and take the business of justice seriously. In my opinion, a society that lacks the structure to constrain the human criminality will eventually breed human-monsters who could turn the nation's innocence into an incalculable misery. As some here would agree with me, Judge Dotse failed to take into consideration certain key moral issues. (a) How many Ghanaian children are going to become addicts by binging on the missing cocaine? (b) Given the sheer size of the cocaine, and its street value, which is estimated at US$280 million, is Judge Dotse’s verdict an encouragement, or deterrence, to the convicted, and their criminal narco-cohorts? (c) How does this sentence reverse Ghana’s image as a cocaine-friendly nation-state? (c) How can a criminal justice system that sentenced someone to a five year-term for stealing a gourd of palmwine rationalize the sentencing of notorious narco-criminals to a fifteen-year term knowing that they could be pardoned for good behaviour? (d) By failing to seize their convicts’ assets, which were acquired through narco-proceeds, and which our cocaine trafficking laws clearly stipulate, did the presiding judge undermine the penal law by meting out a generous sentence to cocaine dealers whose networks permeate through the upper-tiers of political power? (f) After their release from prison, is Ghana going to see a reenactment of another Benjillo saga where the state was ordered by the court to make financial restitution to a convicted narco-trafficker?
In my opinion, a token justice that is delivered with the view to moderate societal revulsion against a serious criminal action is not justice at all. As a nation, we cannot allow this miscarriage of justice to become part of our nation’s jurisprudential philosophy. As history has it, the subversion of the law to appease certain backdoor-kingmakers is not healthy for our nation’s democratic credentials and international image. In nations where politicians have colluded with narco-entrepreneurs, as it seems to be the case herein, they (i.e. these politicians) have paid the ultimate price for their criminality in offering protection to the drug underworld.
Is our nation going to wait in everlasting quiet until these aggrieved drug dealers begin to kill their political patrons and blame it on the nation’s armed robbers? Have we not learnt our lesson from the Columbian narco-militias and the threats they pose to Alvaro Uribe’s government? Does Ghana have the resources and the expertise to defuse the prospect of our nation becoming a lawless narco-state? The questions are endless, and the potential consequences for our inactions are horrific, to say the least. National security does not thrive on speeches. It is a reflection on the “what ifs,” and existing contingency plans to deal with any criminal actions that threaten the centrality of the state, and the state’s constitutional authority to use legitimate violence to reproduce social order. From the look of things, and from what we know at the present time, our security agencies cannot suppress any narco-violence should it take place in Ghana
Since this verdict, I have watched in disgust the media’s silence in examining the implications of Dr. Dotse’s judgement. As a mouthpiece, the Ghanaian media cannot avoid pressing national issues such as the one herein, and cash in on sensational news items. Our media cannot ignore its socio-moral responsibility to confront the greed in the Ghanaian community, and the hidden and unsightly hands that protect these wrongdoers from criminal law. The mystery that surrounds how the cocaine ship found its way onto our nation’s shores without any detection by the nation’s security agencies raises more questions than answers. How did Dr. Addo Kufuor, who was then the Defence Minister, and Mr. Francis Opoku, both of whom claimed to have preempted many imaginary coup plots fail to defend Ghana’s territorial integrity of from narco-thugs?
The stationing of British narco-officers at the Kotoka International Airport shows the ineffectuality of the Ghanaian government in curbing narco-trafficking. In the eyes of the British government, Ghanaian government cannot be trusted to single-handedly deal with our nation’s surging narco-industry. Lastly, by allowing a foreign agency an operational space in one of the nation’s most sensitive, and strategic installation (i.e. Kotoka International Airport,) the current government has partially ceded our national sovereignty to the British government. To the present administration, surrendering a part of our sovereignty to remain in the good books of our colonial masters is independence. Let’s wait to see the Master-Cyber-Squealer skip on his pointy hoofs to sing his clownish partisan bullfrog hymns, while his nuns yelp the usual chorus line. Who in this age of evolutionary rap and hip-hop listens to a throaty symphony without tuneful melodies? We are not a serious nation. Are we? I cry for my nation. Hope all is well. Good and cheers.



Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Obenewaa, Nana Amma