The Director of Legal Affairs for the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gary Nimako has cautioned the public concerning their discussions on the ongoing case involving the former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah.
According to him, the matter is currently before the court, and individuals must exercise restraint in their remarks to avoid potential contempt of court.
“If we are not careful, and the commentary on it appears to suggest that we are dealing with matters put before the judge, we may even be in contempt of the court. That’s the way I’m seeing it.”
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, Mr Nimako clarified that while the case is of significant public interest and the Special Prosecutor has suspicions of misappropriation, these suspicions remain unproven.
He emphasised that the Special Prosecutor has commenced an investigation into the assets of the former Sanitation Minister of which he has reasonable grounds to suspect that the properties of hers appear tainted and wants the court to freeze them.
Mr Nimako explained that the law allows the Special Prosecutor seven days to secure confirmation of the asset freeze, following which he has a 60-day window to file charges.
According to him, in the absence of charges, the court may order the release of the assets and if charges are filed, the Special Prosecutor can proceed to court and request an extension of the order for up to two years to proceed with the trial.
On the back of this, he urged the public to be patient and emphasised the importance of allowing due process to unfold.
“At the state we are now, I think we should allow the system to run the way it’s been running. So far, there’s nobody who has interfered in the investigation process of the Special Prosecutor, not the executive, not anybody. He’s doing his work.
“So I will just plead – and I’m a bit concerned with sometimes the media going to court and picking information and throwing it out there to do more like a media trial. That is my concern.
“I’m only pleading that at this stage, let’s hold our horses, let the process go through, let them go to court whether they confirm or not confirm, let them go through and if at the end of the day it turns out that there’s something there worth charging, you go through the process.
“If there’s nothing there worth charging, everything comes to a halt,” he said.
However, the former Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini speaking on the show argued that the case is of national interest, not because of Madam Dapaah’s name but due to her holding a public office when the alleged misconduct occurred, leading to her resignation as the Minister of Sanitation and Natural Resources.
“There appears to be a violation of the Conduct of Public Officers in Article 284 of the Constitution, so clearly, we would discuss it,” he said.
Mr Fuseini explained that the public is interested in the issue of Madam Dapaah because “before NPP came into office, they made some pledges to the people of Ghana. One such solemn pledge was the fact that their realisation and acknowledgment that Ghana was unable to fight corruption because the Attorney-General sits in cabinet with his colleague ministers – and finds it difficult to prosecute them when they are engaged in acts of corruption.”
He asserted that the NPP was proposing to resolve these developments by establishing the Office of the Special Prosecutor – and subsequently passing the legislation of the Special Prosecutors Act.
“So unless you are prepared to deal with your own appointees, you are not ready to fight corruption.”
The former Tamale Central MP stressed the need to hold ministers and public officers accountable when there is evidence of wrongdoing.
“That’s why I have been very disappointed in President Nana Akufo-Addo when he has turned himself into a clearing agent.”
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