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Three pages lay before me like episodes in the Delta Force horrifying movie and all I can say is what a sad day.
The first: court discharges eight Delta force vigilante members of the governing New Patriotic Party. Reason being that the attorney general’s department does not still have enough evidence to link the eight to the attack on the court and the freeing of 13 Delta force members who were being tried for assaulting a national security coordinator. To make things more heart breaking, the chairman of the Delta force Salu Musa says the Delta force has become so attractive that its membership has increased from 4,500 to 7,000 in the Ashanti region.
The second: the minority says the eight should be rearrested. Led by minority leader MP and lawyer Haruna Idrisu, they described the judgement and the advice offered by a very respected senior State Attorney Marie Louis Simons as a slap on the face of justice.
Third: the Information ministry releases a statement accusing the state attorney in Kumasi for acting unilaterally without recourse to the AG’s office in Accra. In what could be described as an investigation with a ruling already delivered; the statement says the AG’s office will investigate the case of a breach in laid down internal procedure.
Now a few concerns I have and why I am saddened by the incidents tabled so far are as follows:
1. The police doing investigations have not been able to identify who really perpetrated that act of entering a magistrate’s court, threatening the judge, breaking through the judge’s back door and letting out 13 people who were standing trial. We are told they just got the wrong people. All these happened and the Delta Force was successful while we still had law enforcement in Kumasi.
They said there were videos which several people have. I heard a lawyer say the videos were blur and the person who took the videos had not stepped up as witness. Is this to say the police have no forensic tools to help it extract clear pictures from a video to aid investigations? A little bird who knows Delta Force members tells me he can identify as many as 15 of the men in the videos.
Still on the leg of investigations for evidence: the 13 who have been in police custody for over a month since they turned themselves in after being rescued by their compatriots. Can anyone tell me they (the thirteen) do not know their friends who aided them to escape and run away together with them?
2. What kind of precedence is this setting? Someone can easily break into the courts; conduct a smooth operation of overriding the police; threatening a judge who has to be bundled for cover and free persons standing trial and does it so successfully that no trace is left for the perpetrator to be traced and arrested?
3. Why would a statement come from the information ministry questioning the decision of the court and the conduct of the state attorney? Do the authors of that letter acknowledge the weight of their insistence that the case should have been referred to the Attorney General’s office in Accra for advice? My little consultation with legal luminaries suggests that there is a commendable process in the country’s judicial system where state attorneys in the various decentralized offices are empowered to give independent advice on cases. I would wish to also interrogate if this statement had the blessing of the Attorney General and minister of Justice Gloria Akuffo.
4. This statement from the information ministry appears to suggest that the state would have required that it goes to the politician, cabinet member Minister of Justice and Attorney General Gloria Akuffo to offer advice. A state attorney empowered to independently give advice on the basis of the evidence and facts before her, is being hounded publicly because she gave her professional advice without consulting the politician Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecution. Where then lies that campaign promise of the president Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo Addo to establish the office of the special prosecutor. Wouldn’t there be any time when the state will ascribe these descriptions of “a matter of high public interest of this nature” to shoot down his advice and require that the politician minister of justice and attorney general be asked to intervene in some cases?
5. And the minority. I think sometimes they are too quick to come out to create a storm in the tea cup without taking time to study the case properly. You may have a point. But the fact would make the point as useless and shameful as the haste with which it is delivered. Lawyers in political suits attacking the very profession to which they have sworn to protect just for populism and political point scoring.
Proffering solutions or recommendations may not be in my purview to offer. But a little Bible Verse tells me all things work together for good for them that love the lord. And the lord sure loves justice because he is the highest judge. Let’s learn lessons. At least we can now apprise ourselves of the operations of the Attorney General’s office and how state attorneys can operate. We can now also tell how our police personnel can operate. May be we can add fixing CCTV cameras in all our courts. The rest of the recommendations I leave to the experts to give.