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11.04.2007 General News

Abodakpi must vacate his seat-Lawyer


An Accra-based lawyer, K. Danso-Acheampong on Tuesday said that the jailed MP for Keta, Daniel Kwasi Abodakpi ceased to be a parliamentarian when he was jailed by the Fast Track High Court on February 5.

In a letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Begyina Sekyi Hughes, he said: “I respectfully write as a concerned citizen of Ghana to remind you that Dan Abodakpi on being convicted and sentenced by the High Court (Fast Track) mandatorily ceases to be a Member of Parliament.”

Mr Acheampong said the 1992 Constitution made it “unambiguously clear to Abodakpi under Article 91 (1) (e) and Article 92 (2) (e) to vacate his seat mandatorily”.

He said the Constitution was supreme to all other laws and therefore any law that states anything contrary to the clear provision was void.

“The 1992 Constitution does not permit any Member of Parliament convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction to hold on to his seat on grounds that he has filed an appeal,” he said.

Mr Acheampong said the law cited by those who believed that Mr Abodakpi could still hold on to the seat while in prison was “void and provided no salvation to Mr Abodakpi”.

“Without mincing words, the seat which Mr Abodakpi occupied has been vacant since the date of his conviction and sentence and it must be so declared if he is not prepared to honourably vacant it as mandated.”

An Accra Fast Track High Court on February 5 sentenced Dan Abodakpi, former Minister of Trade and Industry to 10 years' imprisonment.

The Court presided over by Justice S.T. Farkye, an Appeal Court Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, found him guilty of conspiracy, defrauding by false pretences and willfully causing 400,000-dollar financial loss to the State.

It observed that monies were paid, 400,000 dollars to Dr Frederick Owusu Boadu, a consultant of Leebda Corporation, whom the accused persons claimed conducted feasibility study for a Science and Technology Park Valley Farm Project which was not done.

Dan Abodakpi was standing trial with late Victor Selormey, Former Deputy Finance Minister.

Dan Abodakpi and Selormey were being tried on seven counts of conspiracy to commit crime; defrauding by false pretences and wilfully causing a total loss of 2.73 billion cedis to the State.

The court sentenced him 10 years imprisonment each on the seven counts. Sentences were to run concurrently.

Dan Abodakpi however denied all the charges.

Source: GNA