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17.08.2009 Feature Article

THE WEEK AHEAD: Akwatia, Asabee and BNI

THE WEEK AHEAD: Akwatia, Asabee and BNI
17.08.2009 LISTEN

By the end of this week, the people of Akwatia will know who their representative in parliament will be. It most certainly will not be deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Baba Jamal.

He knows that only a miracle will give him the Akwatia seat and that might explain why he has been urging his supporters to stage a “jihad” to help him win the re-run of last year's parliamentary elections in six polling centres in the constituencies. The re-run has been necessitated by the theft of ballot boxes in these polling stations in the last polls.

Ballots counted so far from the other polling stations (numbering about 80) give the NPP candidate, Dr. Kofi Asare a decent lead of some 3000 votes. Baba Jamal needs three-quarters of the remaining votes 4000 votes in the 'uncounted' polling stations to just break even. And to win, therefore, he might need each of the votes that will be cast on Tuesday.

No amount of 'jihad' (however intense) will wrought this miracle and Mr. Jamal should therefore be content with his job as the second most powerful man in the Eastern Region. This job is not as secure as that of an MP – and he will not get a loan he can choose not to repay – but it's better than nothing. It's not too late for him to throw in the towel, is it?

Ahead of the Akwatia re-run some NPP bigwigs have converged in the town to campaign and make the assurance of victory a certainty. Some of them would have loved to be in Accra to lend some moral support to the embattled former information minister Steven Asamoah-Boateng. He is due in court this morning for the start of his trial on nine charges ranging from fraud to causing financial loss to the state.

He has been caught up in yet another controversy with the BNI (the Bureau of National Idiots, as someone described them on this site) and this has angered not just his friends in the NPP but all right-thinking Ghanaians who believe firmly in the rule of law.

The BNI locked him up on Thursday (after he had turned himself in). The BNI reportedly decided to detain him when he refused to be questioned in the absence of his lawyers, who had been told to leave. Angered by his resistance, the BNI chose to detain him overnight.

The next day (Friday) they failed to show up in good time for a court hearing and last minute efforts by his lawyers to secure bail for him yielded no positive results for him. Then out of the blue on Saturday, there was news that he had been granted a bail of sorts. Details of that will be clarified this week when Mr. Asamoah-Boateng appears in court.

Even if he doesn't appear in court today for the start of his criminal trial, Mr. Asamoah-Boateng will be in court for a ruling on his suit against the BNI. In that suit, he is seeking a declaration that the BNI had no right to stop him from travelling outside of the country. The court will probably agree with him. His wife is also due in court this week for the continuation of her trial for assaulting a public officer (ahem!).

A separate court will also rule in yet another case brought against the BNI by Sammy Crabbe, another NPP big shot. He went to court after the BNI interrogated him in the absence of his lawyers. Last week, the Attorney General (who doesn't seem to be “seeing top”) threw in the towel and declined to put in a defence. That, essentially means that the BNI has already suffered a TKO and the judge will rule on Tuesday that they had (and will never have) no right to question anyone in the absence of a lawyer.

It's remarkably stupefying that just a few hours after the AG had thrown in the towel, the BNI were at it again – denying Asamoah-Boateng his right to have his lawyers present during his interrogation, making one wonder whether the BNI and its directors and agents have grains for brains.

Also this week, we should expect the police to conclude the autopsy on the corpse of the young man who reportedly died after allegedly being assaulted by police officers. The officers reportedly pounced on him and beat him mercilessly in the precincts of the offices of the BNI. He was with a group of NPP supporters who had gone to the area in solidarity with Steven Asamoah-Boateng. The autopsy report will determine the actual cause of death, after which the corpse (which was forcibly seized on Friday) will be handed back to the family for burial.

By Ato Kwamena Dadzie
Atokd.com

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