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05.01.2006 Regional News

Ex-DCE condemns government

By Chronicle
Ex-DCE condemns government
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- for abuse of power; cites his ordeal as example; wants independent A-G A former District Chief Executive (DCE) for the erstwhile Asunafo District in the Brong Ahafo Region, Mohammed Kwaku Doku, has condemned how the executive arm of government was using its powers to subvert the rule of law, thereby undermining the country's infant democracy.

According to him, the only way Ghana's democracy could be sustained and respected was for the state to strengthen the justice system to play its constitutional role effectively and efficiently, without any interference.

Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Sunyani on Tuesday, Mr. Mohammed Doku asserted that the government respected the decision of the courts only when it ruled in their favour, to the neglect of the constitutional rights of the citizenry.

He contended that, the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, as it stands now, suffers some defects in exercising its powers in ensuring equity in the administration of justice between the citizenry and the executive arm of government.

He has therefore advocated for an independent Attorney General cut off from the Executive with a Judicial Service, independent in both financial and administrative aspects of the Executive's control.

The former DCE stated that there were many instances where the Attorney General's Department had overlooked the ruling of the court in certain cases between the state and some Ghanaian citizens.

Pressed to substantiate his claim, Mr. Doku cited his own experience as an example by noting that the Attorney General had shown gross disrespect for the court order issued by the Sunyani High Court for the payment of his remuneration and compensation after the current government terminated his appointment as DCE. He even regretted the situation where the Attorney General or his representative never appeared before the Sunyani High Court during the proceedings.

Explaining further his ordeal, the ex-DCE told the press that the President, through the then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, terminated his appointment by a letter dated February 9, 2001 in which it was stated that his salary and emolument would be paid after a special audit inspection on the Asunafo District Assembly was completed.

However, a year and a half elapsed after the audit inspection without the President making good his promise of compensating him, even though paragraph six (6) of the Minister of Local Government's letter Ref: SCR/MLG.19/SF.3/53 dated September 19, 2002 addressed to the Chief of Staff and copied to the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, stated, "The audit report on Asunafo District Assembly has been submitted and no adverse comments were made against Mr. Doku during his short term of office".

"After waiting for several months without hearing from the Chief of Staff, who was to process and pay me, I went personally to the former Deputy Minister of Local Government, Capt. Rtd. Nkrabeah Effah Dartey, who eventually directed me to the Castle to see the Chief of Staff. But I was turned away by an officer as soon as I introduced myself as a former DCE," he alleged.

He continued that out of frustration, he filed a writ at the Sunyani High Court in September 2003 to compel the government to pay the compensation due him.

He regretted that such a case of injustice against a citizen of Ghana, which was supposed to have the requisite attention of the Attorney General, was treated with contempt during the proceedings and after the court's ruling since July 2004.

The former DCE queried, "Wherein lies President Kufuor's much trumpeted respect for the rule of law, and has the President not acted in contravention of his own presidential oath sworn before Ghanaians "….to do right to all manner of persons"?

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