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03.08.2005 General News

JJ accused of inserting indemnity clause in Constitution

Ghanaian Chronicle

The rebuttal, scorn and criticism that met the shocking revelation of Prof. Y. A. Nuama Akyeampong, about the former Head of State, Flt. Lt. J.J. Rawlings, have compelled the learned Professor to strike again.

This time round, he accuses the former President of having coerced the modifiers of the 1992 Constitution to insert indemnity clauses and others into the Constitution, to shield himself and all members of his AFRC and PNDC regimes from possible prosecution by any succeeding government.

Giving a historical background to the 1992 Constitution, the former Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology lecturer stated that, he was among the 55-member committee set up to draft the constitution in 1978 under the late General Kutu Acheampong regime.

According to him, it took them three months to complete the assignment and he mooted the syllabus of an Executive Presidency, a Legislature, a Judiciary, and any other Chamber (like the present Council of State) to serve as the arms of government.

Prof. Nuama Akyeampong continued that they were given samples of constitutions (including two already-made by Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia) to study and come out with a meaningful one.

He further said after careful study and analyses, he proposed the idea of an executive president elected by the whole country, to the chairman of the committee, whose name he gave as Dr. Thomas Mensah.

The Professor said the chairman then filed a motion for its adoption and in the end, 45 out of the 55 members of the committee voted in favour of the motion while 10 abstained because of dissenting views.

He mentioned Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, a Judge at the Supreme Court at that time, as the chief draftee who polished the constitution with the technicalities needed.

He said other members of the Constitution committee were Nana Kwantwi-Barimah, the late Nana Oduro Numapau, Mr. Harry Sawyer and Mr. Imoro Egala .

Prof. Akyeampong indicated that the 1992 Constitution is the result of thorough reforms and modifications undergone in 1979 during the AFRC regime and in 1992 in the PNDC era, all under Mr. Rawlings.

He alleged that the Constituent Assemblies endorsed the national document, after it had been read to them and they, in hungry for democratic rule, adopted it.

When asked to substantiate his claim that Mr. Rawlings had approached him to tilt the constitution to his advantage, he averred, “Rawlings read the deliberations that led to the drafting of the constitution and saw that I mooted the idea of having an Executive President elected by the whole country.

He then appointed me a member in 1988 to the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) and thereafter accosted me through his security chief, Capt. (Rtd) Kojo Tsikata, who brought seven pamphlets of presidential speeches for studying.”

“Tsikata told me that the Head of State wanted to be a ceremonial president for life and that since I was instrumental in the drafting of the constitution, I should study the seven books (pamphlets of speeches) and come out with something to be put in the constitution to guarantee his agenda,” he emphatically stated.

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