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20.10.2005 Crime & Punishment

John Opoku lied about my examinations - Otchere-Darko

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Accra, Oct 20, GNA - Mr Gaby Asare Otchere-Darko, Editor in Chief of the Statesman, an Accra Bi-weekly, on Thursday denied that he failed his examinations at the Ghana School of Law (GSL) but was passed on the orders of Mr Kwaku Ansa-Asare, the Director of the School. He said it was unfortunate that Mr John Opoku, a Former Deputy Registrar of the School, told such a lie even though he knew very well that he passed out as a lawyer from the GSL after going through all the due processes.

Mr Otchere-Darko was giving evidence before the Committee of Inquiry investigating allegations of corruption and abuse of office against Mr Ansa-Asare, Director of the GSL.

He said when he realized that his name did not appear in the results of the GSL final examinations, which were pasted on the School's premises in September 2003, he contacted Mr Opoku, who told him that his name did not appear because he had failed. Mr Otchere-Darko said a few days later he wrote his petition to have both papers - Law on Taxation and Family Law - re-marked because he believed that he deserved better marks adding that the GSL granted him that petition.

He said he received a letter dated November 3 2003 from the GSL stating he had passed the Family Law Examination upon remarking but had to re-write the paper on the Law on Taxation. Mr Otchere-Darko said he registered to re-write the examination on November 4 2003, stressing that Mr Opoku was the one who handed to him his registration forms.

He said he was, therefore, surprised that although Mr Opoku was well aware of both facts, he still went ahead to say that he (Otchere-Darko) failed but was passed on the orders of Mr Ansa-Asare.

Mr Otchere-Darko said Mr Opoku's allegation that Mr Ansa-Asare caused his (Mr Opoku) dismissal on November 21, the same week within which he (Mr Opoku) had refused instructions from Mr Ansa-Asare to pass him (Mr Otchere-Darko), was a blatant lie.

He said the allegation that Mr Ansa-Asare had promised him that he would deal with all those who had a hand in his failure concerning the two papers was not true.

Mr Otchere-Darko said in a recent interview that he granted to some sections of the press, he had said that during a talk with Mr Ansa-Asare, the GSL Director had advised him not to take legal action against the GSL and assured him that the General Legal Council (GLC) would deal with the matter.

He said he had even considered taking legal action against the GSL since he believed that he had been treated most unfairly. Mr Otchere-Darko said unfortunately, he was told at the GSL that all the documents, which covered the processes he undertook to pass his examinations and finally be called to the Bar could not be found and wished the wrong impression created on the minds of the public about him were corrected.

Mr Ansa-Asare tendered a memorandum that had been approved by the GLC proving that his appointment as Director of the GSL was through due process and not as a result of his scheming.

He also presented documents covering the payment of salaries at the GSL to prove that it was not true as was stated in a petition by Mr Maxwell Opoku-Agyeman, a lecturer at the School, that since his tenure as Director of the GSL, salaries of staff had always been delayed.

Tendering the documents, Mr Ansa-Asare said the School relied on Government subvention for the payment of staff and added that he sometimes had to pay staff with school fees of students when the subvention delayed.

He denied allegations that the Law School had paid utility bills on his private estate in Larteh in the Easter Region to the tune of 19 million cedis and that he had vacated his official Labone residence and rented it out to his relatives.

Mr Ansa-Asare described as an "outrageous lie" the allegation that the GSL had paid millions of cedis on his official Labone residence. He said he never diverted any tiles meant for renovation works on the GSL to his Larteh residence adding that he completed his Larteh house in 1992, well before his appointment as the GSL Director. He said he bought his tiles from Rainbow Trading Company and added that since it was his style to buy in large quantities, he still had some of the tiles left.

Mr Ansa-Asare tendered documents to prove that he purchased through his own means, tiles that were used for renovation works on his Read Wide shop at Kanda in Accra.

The GSL Director expressed surprise at the allegations that Mr Opoku-Agyemang had made against him, adding that his good relations with Mr Opoku-Agyemang even extended to his (Opoku-Agyemang's) wife and children.

Mr Ansa-Asare said he had even nominated Mr Opoku-Agyemang to the World Criminal Court when the court requested a nominee from him following a vacancy.

The GSL Director said the culture of people trying to destroy others, who were doing well in the society, should stop since it was born out of envy and said he managed to make it in life not through foul means but through "hard work, common sense and planning". Sitting continues on Friday.

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