All things being equal, two of the 3 Quality Grain convicts, Minister Ibrahim Adams and George Sipa Yankey will walk out of incarceration this Saturday the 28th of August.
The two were sentenced and jailed two years each for willfully causing financial loss to the state with respect to the roles they played in the implementation of the Quality Grain Project at Aveyime in the Volta Region.
The third, former Finance Minister Kwame Peprah was jailed four years while two others former Chief of Staff Nana Ato Dadzie and Dr. Samuel Dapaah were acquitted and discharged. But counsel for Peprah Nana Adjei Ampofo says there could be a case against the judiciary and the media for treating the accused persons unfairly.
According to him since the two have been pursuing an appeal at the Courts for the past one and half years, if it happens that the two were absolved of any wrong doing, the punishment they would have suffered would constitute an abuse of their fundamental human rights.
Nana Adjei Ampofo told the Network Herald that in his view, the gross abuse of the fundamental human rights of the prisoners is occasioned by the long time it has taken the Court of Appeal to come out with a determination.
“Justice delayed is justice denied, hence the fact that the Court has delayed in determining the grounds of the appeal means it has treated them unfairly and thus denied them justice”. He drew a reference between the haste with which “the three were tried and hurriedly sentenced” and wondered why the same fast track approach was not accorded the appeal against the decision of the trial judge the late Justice Dixon Kwame Afreh.
This he said is in spite of a promise by the same Appeal Court that it was in a position to deal with the matter as quickly as possible while at the same time throwing out an application for bail pending an assessment of Justice Afreh's judgment.
“They said the case will be heard even during the legal vacation,” he said. “What happens to them if the Court of Appeal says they were wrongfully convicted by Justice Afreh. What do you tell the convicts?”
Nana Adjei also accused the media of hyping the trial to such high political dimensions that the trial judges found themselves taking definite positions that may not have been in tune with the fact available to them.
According to him, reversing that status quo would have demanded very courageous judges capable of breaking the expectation especially when the NPP government had amply demonstrated that it had an interest in the case.
He submitted that even though the late Afreh was a legal luminary and a fine judge with proficiency in criminal law; he appeared in his judgment to be under tremendous pressure to give the accused persons long sentences.
Mr. Ampofo picked this rational from a statement attributed to Mr. Afreh to the effect that he'd heard that the accused persons ought to be given longer sentences for one reason or the other.
But both Tony Lithur and Samuel Cudjoe, counsels for George Sipa Yankey and Ibrahim Adams would not want to be drawn into any legal arguments yet insisting they will cross the bridge when they got there.