Martin A.B.K. Amidu
The Judgement Debt Commission has reacted angrily to a publication in one of the pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) newspapers that the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Martin A.B.K. Amidu, lied to the commission.
According to the commission, the little-known newspaper – The True Spokesman – in October ran a series of publications trying to denigrate the former AG, who is noted for his relentless fight against official corruption, especially in his own party and government (the NDC).
At a news conference in Accra yesterday, Dometi Kofi Sorkpor, counsel for the commission, condemned the publications, which were headlined, 'Martin Amidu's gargantuan lies exposed (2)' and 'Martin Amidu goes into hiding after gargantuan lies were exposed.'
Mr. Sorkpor underscored, 'The Commission has noted with great concern attempts by a section of the press to damage the reputation of the former Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Mr. Martin Amidu, using this commission as a conduit, albeit falsely.'
Counsel said the publications purported to portray that Mr. Amidu petitioned the commission with information 'heavily loaded with falsities and blatant gargantuan lies.'
According to Mr. Sorkpor, 'This commission does not know how and where the paper gathered this false information,' he said and then added, 'The commission wants to state emphatically that it was not Mr. Amidu who brought to the notice or attention of the commission the judgment entered in favour of Gbewaa Civil Engineering Co. & Yakubu Adam Kasule as a result of a purported 'Terms of Settlement' reached between Mr. Kasule and another former Attorney-General, Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu.'
Counsel posited, 'The issue of the judgment entered in favour of Yakubu Kasule based on the said 'Terms of Settlement' was one of the Judgment Debt cases brought to the attention of the commission by the Attorney-General's Department when the commission requested for records on all Judgment Debts entered against the state from 1992 to date, on the inception of the commission.
Explaining further, Mr. Sorkpor said the commission noticed that both Mrs. Mould-lddrisu and Mr. Amidu as Attorney-Generals, had signed documents concerning the matter, including even some State Attorneys at the Attorney-General's Department; and they needed to verify.
'In line with the commission's mandate, it invited the two former Attorney-Generals and other State Attorneys who had something to do with the cases involving Gbewaa Civil Engineering & its Managing Director, Adam Kasule, to provide answers to some questionnaire sent to them.'
He said the Acting Solicitor-General was also invited to brief the commission on the matter, adding, 'The fact that Mr. Amidu and Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu were not invited to publicly face the cameras does not mean that the issue has been swept under the carpet.'
He also said the fact that the judgment entered in favour of Mr. Kasule and his company was that of a court of competent jurisdiction; and did not mean that it automatically fell outside the mandate of the commission.
'The commission is looking into all judgment debts and akin matters from 1992 to date. The judgment in favour of Mr. Kasule is therefore one of such cases and this commission shall issue a report on it,' Mr. Sorkpor asserted.
He said it was not all the cases that witnesses were made to appear publicly before the commission saying, 'Where the documents before the commission were clear and unambiguous, the commission did not invite anybody to appear publicly to explain issues.'
This happened in several of the cases considered by the commission, including the Woyome case, which it was going to report on.
Mr. Sorkpor advised the media to ensure that they did not use the commission as a 'conduit' to 'advance the personal interests of anybody.'
'The True Spokesman should note that what it is doing constitutes contempt of this commission. It should therefore bring to halt these false publications. On the other hand, if the paper has an agenda it wants to advance, it should not draw this commission into it to avoid the unpalatable,' he warned.
By William Yaw Owusu