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31.03.2006 General News

Lawyer warns Govt on JJ's Libya trips

By Daily Guide.
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A legal practitioner Francis Kojo Smith is advising the government not to take lightly the news of the recent visit to Libya by former President Rawlings during which he met Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddhafi.

Mr. Smith who worked closely with the Armed Forces revolutionary Council (AFRC), chaired by the then Flt. Lt Jerry Rawlings says he is sending a strong warning to President Kufuor and his security advisors to keep a close watch on the former President, whom he described as having a knack for coup d' etats.

According to Mr Smith he was once contacted by certain officers of the Libyan mission to assist Rawlings to overthrow the People's National Party (PNP) administration of Dr Hilla Limann in 1981.

He said he was offered $2 million by the Libyans if he would agree to the request but he declined the offer and reported the mater to authorities of the military.

“In March 1981 I was invited by the Libyan Intelligence officer Mohammed Kawon at the Libyan bureau in Accra, and together we met the Libyan ambassadors to Benin and Togo at around 11 pm near the office building of the National Council for Women and Development (NCWD) near Achimota forest,” he said.

The legal practitioner said he quickly informed Ghana's military intelligence then headed by Col Annor Odjidja, stressing that, soon after this the Libyan Embassy in Ghana was closed down.

Mr Smith who said he was very influential in running the administration of the junta explained that he joined the AFRC to overthrow General I.K Acheampong because he had arrested many lawyers and was interfering in the affairs of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA).

He has also sent a word of advice to the Libyan leader not to encourage Mr Rawlings to dream about interfering with the present democratic dispensation Ghana is enjoying now.

“In any case it is an offence to solicit or accept any sort of financial assistance from outside of the country to organize political activities,” he said.

He also urged the Libyans to respect the African Union spirit by not interfering in the political affairs of any country.

Mr Smith who had to flee Ghana when Rawlings staged his third coup on December 31, 1981 had lived in exile for 21 years.

He was among the lawyers in Rawlings' defence team when he was charged for treason on May 15, 1979.

They were scheduled to appear in court on June 4, 1979 but this appearance was overshadowed by the junior officers uprising, which was preceded by the forceful release of Rawlings from military guardroom.