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30.03.2007 General News

Abodakpi's men attack TV3 cameraman

By Gilbert Boyefio

But for the timely intervention of Doe Adjaho, Member of Parliament for Avenor Ave, sympathisers and family members of Daniel Abodakpi would have beaten up a TV3 cameraman, Phillip Katsriku, for taking shots of the former Minister of Finance in the NDC era, who was on February 5, 2007 found guilty of conspiracy; defrauding by false pretences and willfully causing $400,000 financial loss to the State.

The hapless cameraman was nearly beaten at the forecourt of the Supreme Court where the former Minister and sitting MP for Keta was being escorted by prison guards back to prison after court session.

The irate crowd heckled the cameraman and demanded that he either handed over the tape of his shots to them, erased the pictures on the tape, or faced the consequences. It was at this juncture that Mr Adjaho stepped in and whisked the cameraman out of the crowd.

For well over 20 minutes there was a stand off between officials of the Supreme Court and the furious crowd. Surprisingly, there was only one policeman around, who had a hectic time convincing the crowd to disperse.

The crowd who felt justice was being denied them kept repeating "We are all Ghanaian, why do you want to treat us unfairly…”. Despite several pleas by the crowd for the MP to released the cameraman to them, he stood his grounds. He later decided to take the TV3 crew in his car to their office.

Other Journalists at the court could be seen in a tight knot trying hard not to attract the attention of the crowd.

Earlier on in court, the Acting Director of Public Prosecution, Gertrude Aikins, told the court that it was not mandatory for the court to grant bail to Abodakpi. She said even though the law allows the defence to file an application for bail pending trial, it is not binding on the court to grant it. She further added that it is not necessary to grant bail because Abodakpi is in lawful custody.

She told the court that there is a proof of guilt against him and the law allows that in such circumstance the appeal be dismissed.

This was in response to an application for bail pending trial made by Charles Hayibor, Counsel for Daniel Abodakpi on March 15, 2007.

On the issue of mitigation, Gertrude Aikins argued that the fact that part of the money is available does not mean that the court should have ruled differently or reduced the sentencing.

At the last sitting, the defence expressed their displeasure with certain sections of the court"s judgment, which they described as “errors of law,” adding that the court did not consider the defence of the accuse person when passing its judgment.

But yesterday, the Acting DPP was of the view that the defence of the accused person was fully considered before the passing of judgment by the court. She stated that the court sentence should not be faulted because it was done in the confines of the law.

She further argued that the court did not find any material conflict on the part of the prosecution contrary to what to claims by the defence.

Abodakpi was standing trial with Victor Selormey (deceased), former Deputy Finance Minister. They were being tried on seven counts of conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences and willfully causing a total loss of ¢2.73 billion to the State.

The Court sentenced Abodakpi to 10 years' imprisonment on each of the seven counts, which are to run concurrently.

Abodakpi denied all the charges and was on self-recognisance bail in the sum of ¢3bn.

The court has fixed April 18 for ruling on the application by the defence for bail pending trial.