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When the Learned Giants Fight

In the well-known Woyome case, The Ghanaian Chronicle reported that “Mr Alfred Woyome was acquitted and discharged by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Ajet-Nassamdue to weak evidence provided by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong and her team of prosecutors.

There is an honourable professional group in the society who describe themselves as ‘LEARNED’ but those outside the group call them lawyers. These professionals have a special place called ‘COURT’ where they ply their trade.

In the court, they use what they explain to us, the ‘unlearned’ men and women, as technicalities to conduct their business. Many a time, when they come out with their decisions, we, the unlearned, are left baffled. That is the relationship between the learned and the unlearned.

The Veteran Writer and Politician, Elizabeth Ohene, describes the learned men and women as a “group where people speak their own special language the rest of us don’t understand, make rules (laws) that bind all of us and are the only ones that interpret the rules and having them in your corner can make the difference between retaining your liberty or going to jail”.

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For instance, once upon a time, a senior and vocal learned Ohene-Djan from Sunyani and an unlearned man was accused of taking the life of another person. Using that thing called technicality, the two escaped the hangman’s rope and were rather jailed for manslaughter.

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Writing in “Only lawyers will understand” Elizabeth Ohene said, “Dr Ohene-Djan, a famous Sunyani lawyer, was arrested, charged and brought before the courts and put on trial for murder. After the prosecution had finished and after the accused person, Dr Ohene-Djan, himself had gone into the witness box and testified on his own behalf, when it came to delivering the judgment, things took a strange twist (strange to us non-lawyers, that is).

“After the judge (a lawyer), the Director of Public Prosecutions (a lawyer) and the accused person’s lawyer had some lawyerly discussions, the judge announced that Ohene-Djan had been found guilty and was being convicted of manslaughter.

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He hadn’t been accused of, nor tried for manslaughter and at no stage during the trial had there been any talk of the murder charge being changed to manslaughter, but he was suddenly convicted of manslaughter. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and served two to three years and then benefitted from some general amnesty and immediately left for the United Kingdom”.

In the well-known Woyome case, The Ghanaian Chronicle reported that “Mr Alfred Woyome was acquitted and discharged by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Ajet-Nassamdue to weak evidence provided by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong and her team of prosecutors. According to Justice Ajet-Sam, the state could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Woyome obtained GH¢51.2 million fraudulently. This amount was related to financial engineering work for the construction and rehabilitation of stadia to host the CAN 2008 tournament in 2010”.

It is against this background that many people are not enthused by the raging feud between Speaker Alban Bagbin and former Special Prosecutor (SP) Martin Amidu; more especially, when the word ‘court’ is being bandied about by the two giants.

At stake between the two learned men is an accusation of corruption and denial of corruption.

Writing under the headline, “SPEAKER BAGBIN, THE NDC, AND THE “DIRE NEED OF FUNDS BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS” former  Special Prosecutor Martin A. B. K. Amidu, stated among others that the Ghanaian taxpayer cannot be oblivious of the fact that a Speaker of Parliament who presides over the legislative arm of government that cannot provide good and fairly adequate medical facilities in the country’s medical institutions for the electorate that foots the public purse that feeds Parliament, and cannot further control the Parliamentary public purse to prevent the profligate expenditure of public funds on the treatment of “other leaders of the House” abroad so that he can lead the herd in needlessly dissipating the public purse on trips to Dubai himself has no moral as well as constitutional right to ask “his critics to turn their attention to other leaders of the House”.

A real Ghanaian patriot will not be corrupt, let alone for his conscience to prick him to self-confess his personal corruption as a public officer. No real Ghanaian patriot in the position of a Speaker of Parliament will dissipate huge sums from the taxpayer’s public purse when his medical conditions are treatable or manageable in Ghana just because he wants to appropriate public funds on the trips to Dubai,” the former Special Prosecutor said.

According to him, “The NDC can close its eyes to their self-confessed corrupt Speaker refusing to divulge his ailment for which the taxpayer doles out millions of cedis and foreign currency in Dubai but can use the “dire need of funds because of the economic crisis” as a reason for rejecting the tax waivers it has similarly approved under the NDC and NPP Governments until the dawn of the next elections in a few months time on 7 December 2024”.

The NDC in its desperation to return to power has forgotten that instead of targeting me, Mr. Alban Bagbin, the NDC Speaker of Parliament, the self-confessed corrupt person, ought to review his conduct during the passage of the 2022 Budget Estimates and Economic Policy Statement including his expenditure of public funds after he presided over the rejection of the budget on 26 November 2021; his departure to Dubai the next day; the reinstatement of the budget by the majority during his absence on 30 November 2021; his return to Ghana and statement to Parliament on 16 December 2021; his return to and sojourn in Dubai in January 2022; his further return to Dubai in January 2022 to February 2022; and his return and sojourn again in Dubai in March 2022. Mr. Bagbin’s Dubai trips continue to date, but I will stop the count at his reported medical review from 4 to 29 March 2022 when he returned and presided over the passage of the E-Levy Bill,MrAmidu said.

He stated,It is important for every patriot and constitutional activist to realize that the desperation by the NDC and the NPP to win the 2024 election without any scruples, so that it could either be their turn to eat or continue to eat, poses a residual danger for the implosion of the 1992 Constitution if their desperation is recklessly carried too far. Every patriot has a duty to ensure that the 1992 Constitution is defended and the electorate is not Zombified into merely voting for rhetoric instead of on credible and cogent facts, and evidence meriting their votes. Ghana First!

Reacting, the office of the Speaker of Parliament under the caption: SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT: MARTIN AMIDU’S FALSE CLAIMS AGAINST SPEAKER BAGBINsaid the Office of the Speaker of Parliament had taken notice of a malicious and false publication in the media attributed to Mr. Martin Amidu; and pointed out that the said publication was false, baseless and unfounded, and should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

The Office of the Speaker said, “Mr Amidu’s claim in the publications that the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin had secretly met with His Excellency the President in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which is a palpable falsehood. This falsehood is part of ongoing deliberate and calculated attempts by some persons to attempt to tarnish the reputation of the Speaker of Parliament. Such attempts have not succeeded and this recent one by none other than Mr. Amidu would not succeed”.

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The Office among other things reminded Mr. Martin Amidu to appreciate that the decisions taken on the floor of parliament are an extension of the voices of the citizens by the legislators who represent them distinctively.

The Rt. Hon, Speaker requests Mr Amidu to do the honourable thing and withdraw his statements and apologise unreservedly to the Speaker of Parliament and indeed the Parliament of Ghana, with the same prominence as he made the false and malicious statements, within seven days from the date of the release of this rejoinder,” it said.

Read the full statement below:

Speaker Bagbin: The failure of Mr. Amidu to adhere to this request would leave the Rt. Hon. Speaker to no other option than to take all steps necessary within his rights to vindicate his name.

Former SP Amidu responded: If you [Alban Bagbin] think my article defames you in any way, defend your integrity and honour by issuing a writ of summons and a statement of claim against me in a court of law so that I can prove to the whole world that the things I wrote against the NDC in which you were mentioned as its self-confessed corrupt Speaker are either true, justifiable and constitute fair comments or questions on public matters on the conduct of a public officer, the Speaker, in the public interest.”

With such an entrenched stance and the battle lines clearly drawn in the sand for all to see, we the unlearned Ghanaians are waiting with baited breath for what happens next between the two learned giants of our land. One thing though that Yours Truly can promise you is that, lots of legal jargon and technicalities will surely be flying by like scuds should they decide to take their ‘learned’ banter to the next level.

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