The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu has filed an appeal seeking to overturn the High Court ruling that freed the two principal organizers of Ghana's 50th independence anniversary celebrations.

About a fortnight ago, an Accra High Court, presided over by Justice Charles Marful-Sau struck out a case of causing financial to the state brought against the two former officials by the A-G.

The court discharged the former Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Anniversary Planning Committee, Kwadwo Mpiani and Chief Executive of the erstwhile Ghana@50 Secretariat, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby.

It upheld an application by the defendants that it was wrong for the state to press criminal charges against them using evidence from the commission of inquiry set up by President Mills to probe the celebrations.

Lawyers for the two men hailed the decision as a victory for democracy contending also that the case was fundamentally closed.

But the AG disagreed and served notice of her intention to appeal. Consistent with her promise she filed the appeal Friday.

Speaking to Joy News after the filing of the processes, Director of Public Prosecutions, Gertrude Aikins said it was a bit premature for the trial judge to conclude that the prosecution was going to rely on the evidence gathered at the Justice Douse Commission hearing and thereby proceed to strike out the case.

“You know something, in prosecutions, you file a charge [but] that doesn’t mean that that is the charge you are going to go on. You are free to amend, to add to it, to subtract from it…before the case starts. We only filed one charge sheet, we hadn’t even settled when this matter came.”

She said the prosecution was not going to rely on the evidence garnered at the commission hearings.

“This is a criminal prosecution, we are not using the evidence that was given there because that was an enquiry, nobody was on trial there,…what happened there was an enquiry, they were trying to get facts, now we are going to prosecute. This is a trial, what we are trying to do is to try [them], we are not going to use their [testimonies] against them, we have to find other evidence,” she explained.

But was it the case that Justice Marful-Sau misunderstood the prosecution when he said in his ruling that mounting criminal prosecution against the two amounted to a violation of the Constitutional Instrument (CI61) which gave birth to the commission that probed the Ghana@50 celebrations?

The relevant provisions read:

8(2) A person shall not be subject to any civil or criminal proceedings under any enactment by reason of that person's compliance with a requirement of the Commission.

10(1) Subject to paragraph (2), in any proceedings before the Commission, a person called a witness shall be compelled to produce any document or article and answer any question as regards the subject matter of the proceedings although the document, article or answer may incriminate that person.

(2)Where a person gives incriminatory evidence under paragraph (1) the evidence shall not be used in any criminal or civil proceedings against that person.

In her reaction, the prosecutor said the prosecution did not “give any testimony saying this is the evidence we are going to use so the court couldn’t know what evidence we were going to give. Who said we were going to use that evidence,” she asked rhetorically.

“So you never gave that impression in you opening address,? Joy News’ Sampson Ladi Ayenini asked and Ms Aikins responded, “I don’t remember. What am telling you is, am talking off the cuff now, if you come to the office on Monday, I’ll give you a copy of our grounds of appeal.”

The defence lawyers have declined to comment on the appeal but they earlier indicated their preparedness to meet the prosecution in court.


Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana