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Politics Fri, 24 Jun 2005

Restless Josiah Aryeh Pleads: 'Clear Me Now!'

Dr. JOSIAH ARYEH, the suspended general secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), says he can no longer sit on tenterhooks, waiting for the outcome of a high-power three-member party committee, set up to look into his alleged flirtation with the ruling NPP. He is demanding that they should indict him or clear him now.

Speaking to The Chronicle in an interview Monday, this week, Dr. Aryeh said it was unfortunate that the committee has up till now not come out with their findings.

Hinting at a looming constitutional crisis in the NDC, he expressed dismay and disgust about the delay of the three-member committee to either indict him or clear him.

According to him, though he responded to the queries from the committee and had mentioned key witnesses involved, none of them were invited, except the one that accompanied him on the day that he appeared before them.

The leadership of the NDC suspended its ex-general secretary prior to December 7, 2004 elections due to his alleged relationship with the main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and tasked a three-member committee to investigate and submit the report on January 4, this year.

Since then, the committee chaired by Hon. S.K Bagbin, the minority leader in parliament, has not completed its work in order to submit the report, but the ex-embattled chief scribe contended that, "it was worth-noting that the committee has failed to submit its report on the mandatory date, January 4."

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"This is basically an injustice," the frustrated party bigshot said.

Dr. Aryeh, a law lecturer in the Faculty of Law in the University of Ghana, Legon told this paper that, in spite of the assertions of his party, nobody has officially accused him so as to enable him cross-examine him to give credence that he has a prima facie case.

"What worries me is that there are no accusers. We are at the level of allegations. The remit to suspend me was my alleged relationship with the NPP. They have produced a tape and I have explained to them but till now none of the key witnesses have been invited. This is very serious," he said.

When asked that his party averred that he has a prima facie case which warranted his suspension, Dr. Aryeh said, "Prima facie case is established when the adjudicator forms an opinion that the evidence of the witness is credible enough for the accused person to cross examine. It is only at this point that the adjudicator draws his conclusion. But in my case, the committee met and I was the first person before the committee and I cited at least five witnesses of which one of them who was with me was instantly questioned and he corroborated my testimony."

He continued, "As far as I am concerned, I know nobody was spoken to and no prima facie has been reached. I am yet to face any accuser, let alone to cross examine the person. At the meeting I told them what transpired."

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On the position of the party's constitution, Dr. Aryeh said it seemed to him that there is a constitutional crisis and added that his suspension had lapsed.

Explaining the significance of the lapse of the suspension, he said when it happens it means that he is to report back to his substantive position.

An in-depth scrutiny of the constitution of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) shows that the party is facing constitutional crisis and has woefully contravened the party's constitution in dealing with the suspension of its General Secretary, Dr. Nii Josiah Nii Armah Aryeh. Article 36 (1) of the party's legal document clearly spells out how an offending member should be disciplined.

Clause (4) of this article in the legal document of the partly states, "Where the executive fails to refer the matter to the disciplinary committee within one month the suspension shall lapse unless renewed," while clause (5) also states, "The executive committee may renew the suspension for five consecutive months only."

But The Chronicle can report that contrary to these provisions, the suspension of Dr. Aryeh had been renewed for more than five consecutive months and he had not been told on what basis his suspension had warranted the renewals.

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Josiah Aryeh was accused of divulging untrue stories about the party to the NPP to the effect that the NDC was hatching plans to destabilize the nation among others.

In the process of the meeting with the NPP top officials, he was accused of receiving an amount of $3000 from Mr. Stephen Ntim, the first vice national chairman of the NPP.

When this paper reached the ex-embattled chief scribe who is also a legal expert, he averred that justice delayed is justice denied and called upon the leadership of his party to clear him or indict him.

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle