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General News | May 7, 2004

Late President's family wants apology from PNDC

GNA

Wa, May 7, GNA- Kuoro Kuri-Buktie Liman, Paramount Chief of the Gwollu Traditional Area on Thursday told the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) on Thursday that the family wanted the PNDC and NDC regimes to apologise for the false allegations made against the late President Hilla Liman after his overthrow.

Kuoro Kuri-Buktie Liman said both regimes unjustifiably accused Dr. Liman of presiding over corruption, nepotism, mal-administration and described it as the worst government that ever ruled Ghana.

He said those allegations have been proved to be "total lies after what he termed as "revolutionary zeal and unorthodox methods" used by those two governments to expose corruption in the Liman administration". Kuoro Liman who is also a legal practitioner based at Wa was testifying on behalf of the family.

Witness said though, there was no any wrongdoing by the late President, the two regimes refused to treat or recognise him as a former Head of State.

"Even the Greenstreet Committee's Report on providing for the welfare of former Presidents was published during his life time, but it was never implemented until after his death."

Kuoro Liman told the Commission that the late President was in good health at the time of the termination of his government, but after being tortured both physically and mentally and deprived of certain basic services during his 22 months imprisonment, he developed heart problems, which eventually resulted in his death in 1998.

Witness said the late President died as an accused person on 50,000 cedis bail granted him since 1983, adding that Mr. Alhassan Bin Salih, then Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture who stood surety for him lost his job because of that.

He said the government at that time knew that he had a heart problem and the medical authorities advised that he should be sent abroad for specialist's treatment, but he was denied that facility. He alleged that after his death, instead of the government waiting to be officially informed by the family, Ex-President J.J. Rawlings announced his government's intention to give him a state burial while he (Rawlings) was desilting a gutter at Nima.

"We regard this as an insult to the family and the fact that he was neglected, we announced our decision to reject a state burial for him." He said the family was not asking for monetary compensation and commended the current government for taking steps to rehabilitate his name and giving stipend to his immediate family for their upkeep.

Uborr Dalefu Labal, one of the Commissioners, in reaction to the petition, noted that the late President left many questions unanswered. He said majority of Ghanaians were angered by the kind of statements that were coming from those who overthrew him, but he kept silent over them.

"As Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, he owed Ghanaians an explanation to some of the statements. If he had responded, his accusers would have said something while he was alive", he said.

Both Mrs (Dr) Sylvia Boye and Lieutenant-General Emmanuel Erskine (Rtd) said they could not see any link between Dr. Liman's detention and his ill health because he was strong enough to campaign for the Presidency in 1992.

The Commission requested witness to produce a medical report on the late President's death to back his petition.

Another witness, Mr. Bugu Martin Mutuo, a transport owner said the GPRTU banned him from operating in any part of the country for one year because he could not transport dancers from a village to Tumu for a function attended by the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings.

He said sometime in 1988, he received a message from the regional GPRTU Executive at Wa that Nana Konadu was to visit Tumu. Witness said his vehicle had a problem and could therefore not make the journey.

"After the visit, I received a letter from the regional executive that I had refused to convey the dancers", he said adding that he later received a letter from the union signed by the 15-member executive banning him from working in any part of the country.

Mr Mutuo said after the ban, the vehicle became unserviceable and he sold it as a scrap. He said he petitioned the then Sissala District Secretary but to no avail.

A member of the Commission, Mr Christian Appiah Agyei, a former TUC Secretary General said the GPRTU politicised the union against all advice to the detriment of its members.

He said the union flouted its constitution, which prevented regional executive officers from holding positions in political parties. What happened to the petitioner was an "unnecessary show of power and authority," Mr. Appiah Agyei added.

Testifying before the commission, Naa Bakuro Dombo, brother of the late S.D. Dombo, Minister of State in the Second Republic, said he was arrested after the 1972 coup and moved from one prison to the other for a total of 12 months, though he was not a politician.

"I spent four months at Wa Prison, transferred to the prison at Tamale for another four months and completed the rest of the one year in the Nsawam Prisons. All this while I did not know my offence", he said. Witness said he was put before the Justice Taylor Commission of Enquiry but the commission found no cause for his arrest and therefore, acquitted and ordered his release.

During his incarceration, he lost a car, two sewing machines, a rice-milling machine, and his animals comprising 12 goats, 13 sheep and 24 pigs, all stolen, Naa Dombo said.

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