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15.06.2004 General News

Ex-minister, Colleague To Be Freed

By Heritage
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Leading members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have begun preparations towards a warm reception for two of their comrades convicted by the Justice Affreh Fast Track High Court (FTC).

Former Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Ibrahim Adam and Mr. George Adja-Sipa Yankey, former Legal Director of the Ministry of Finance, are expected to be out of jail in August this year, according to information available to The Heritage.

The two convicted public officials would be regaining their freedom after completing their sentences for their roles in what has become known as "the Quality Grain Affair". Both Mr. Adam and Mr. Yankey were given a two-year jail sentence by the late Justice Kwame Afreh for "willfully causing financial loss to the sate". The two will however be coming out in August after 16 calendar months, following the legal system of computing jail term by deducting weekends and public holidays from the sentence period.

Their release would be the first batch since conviction and subsequent imprisonment on Monday April 28, 2003. The second batch of the release is expected to cover their colleague, Mr. Kwame Peprah, former Finance Minister, who received a four-year term of imprisonment by the same court, also for "willfully causing financial loss to the sate". He is expected to be out exactly one year after the release of his colleagues, according to investigations conducted by The Heritage.

The General Secretary of NDC, Dr. Josiah Aryeh told The Heritage in an interview at the Party's headquarters that the Party is not ashamed of receiving the convicted members back into its fold because they always maintained that the three convicted public officials are victims of miscarriage of justice. He said the Party considers them as martyrs who were persecuted for their political belief.

Dr. Aryeh maintained that the two would continue to play the roles they were playing in the party before they were imprisoned.

"We are keen to embrace them and we stand by them because they are martyrs for the NDC. They would continue to play the role that they were playing. The NDC is not shy since these people were innocently convicted," Doctor Ayeh contended.

On whether the NDC would accept Presidential pardon for the remaining convict, the legal juggernaut said the Party would not accept any pardon from the President because "that would portray President Kufuor as a magnanimous person when he has been very unforgiving towards them".

He submitted: "If Kufour offers a pardon and I have any authority within the NDC, we'll decline it… We don't want their pardon …it makes Kufuor magnificent when in fact he has been wicked and unforgiving."