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17.07.2004 General News

UK NDC criticises Fast Track Court

By GNA

Accra, July 17, GNA - The United Kingdom and Ireland branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has expressed worries on some legal issues under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration A statement signed by Mr Alex Segbefia, the Chairman of the branch on Friday, said the former NDC Government first created the Fast Track High Courts (FTHC) to deal mainly with civil and commercial litigation to resolve investment disputes, adding that, the intention was to create favourable environment to attract investment.

"President Kufuor's Government expanded this into the Criminal Justice realm. There are no juries in these courts. There are no assessors. They are presided over by single Judges, even though the liberty of the individual is at stake and long custodial sentences are a possibility."

The statement accused the NPP Party of insulating its officials from prosecution under the Law of Wilfully Causing Financial Loss to the State.

"Notwithstanding the numerous allegations of the same 'causing financial loss' and 'corruption' reports made against the NPP officials in the last three years, we are being asked to accept that there has been absolutely no malfeasance by any NPP officials." It said the non-prosecution of any NPP official under the law showed that the exercise of prosecutorial discretion was partisan and biased.

The statement appealed to the Government to consider Professor John Evans Atta Mill's proposal to review the law on 'causing financial loss' adding; "a restructuring of the criminal Fast Track High Court is desirable".

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