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28.06.2005 Crime & Punishment

The Nana Konadu Agyeman /Caridem case ...

Palaver

JUSTICE, NPP STYLE

A.G. Blackmails Caridem Lawyer!

The nauseating face of NPP justice showed itself again two weeks ago when the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. J. Ayiko Otoo, wrote to threaten Messrs Bram-Larbi Beecham and Co, Solicitors of Caridem Co Ltd. that the prestigious Law Firm would have itself to blame if advice it had given its clients put the clients “on the wrong side of the law”.

It all began on June 6, 2005, when Mr. P. K. Ampewuah, writing for the Director/ CID, wrote to Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, Accra, as follows:

“RE-CARIDEM VRS D.I.C. AUDITOR-GENERAL

The CID is investigating an allegation of defrauding and forgery reported by the Auditor General's Department.

You are kindly requested to report to the Deputy Director / CID on Wednesday 8th June 2005 at 0:900 hours to assist in the investigation”.

In response, Lawyers for Caridem, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Miss Sherry Ayittey on June 8, 2005 write to the Director, CID, among other things as follows:

“We are instructed to bring to your notice the fact that the said case is CURRENTLY the subject matter of Suit No. Bmisc. 588/2004 titled Caridem vrs. DIC and Anor PENDING BEFORE the High Court, Accra and presided over by Mr. Justice Asamoah.

We have accordingly advised our clients not to honour your Summons which is at the behest of a party to the suit pending before the High Court.

Finally we will be grateful for a copy of the Report of the Auditor General to enable our clients consider commenting on same for your benefit as the complainant has contrary to all acceptable and known norms of auditing not found it appropriate to discuss his Report with our clients for their comments before circulating same”/

Neither the Director / CID's letter of June 6, 2005, nor the reply of Messrs Bram-Larbi, Beecham & Co, was copied to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

Yet on 17th June 2005, the Attorney General, Mr. J. Ayikoi Otoo, wrote to Bram-Larbi, Beechem (sic) & Co as follows:

“CARIDEM INVESTIGATION:

REFUSAL TO HONOUR POLICE INVITATION

We note that it is your view that because of the civil proceedings, criminal investigations cannot also be conducted.

Whilst we consider your position as a complete misconception of the law, we believe that your clients are perfectly entitled to rely on your advice.

However, we have advised the police and they are proceeding with their investigations. In the event that your clients find themselves on the wrong side of the law, I believe they will know at whose doorstep to put the blame.

Please be advised accordingly”.

Lawyers that 'Ghana Palaver' has contacted have indicated that the learned Attorney General's action is most irregular for the following reasons:

· The title of the Director, CID's letter of June 6, 2005, “Caridem vrs D.I.C Auditor-General”, made it quite clear that the subject matter to be investigated was the civil action brought by Caridem Co. Ltd. against the Auditor-General.

· It was therefore professionally proper for lawyers for Caridem to advise their clients not to agree to the request to report to the Deputy Director, CID, for investigation into a matter that was already sub judice, and to write to inform the Director, CID, of the advice given.

It was professionally wrong and very improper for the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to write to Caridem's Lawyers first, to dispute the professional advice given and second, to literally blackmail the lawyers to hold themselves responsible for the consequences of the advice given, especially since Caridem had not retained the Attorney General to act on their behalf.

· Worse, the correspondence between the police and the solicitors had neither been addressed to, nor copied to, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice who, even though advises the Government, in this case is in the position of an official intermeddler.

· The letter from the Attorney General could have been excused if it had been signed by a subordinate official. For the Attorney General himself to sign such a letter is most strange and unusual.

One of the lawyers consulted by the GP simply murmured, “This is justice, NPP style, and strange things are happening in this supposed era of the rule of law. After the Afreh incident in the Quality Grain Case and the Supreme Court “packing” incident in the Tsatsu Tsikata v. Attorney General case. I am no longer surprised by any legal or judicial move made by the NPP Government."

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