Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Why It Is Absurd To Question The Independence Of Ghana's Organised And Economic Crimes Office

"The Director of the SFO (Richard Alderman) is appointed by and accountable to the Attorney General (Mr Dominic Grieve QC MP) who is responsible to Parliament for the SFO and the other Law Officers' Departments:"

- Quotation from the UK Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) official website.


"Serious Fraud Office (SFO)

"SFO was established in 1987 to investigate and prosecute cases of serious fraud in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The current criteria applied by the SFO to take on a prosecution are that the suspected fraud was such that the direction of the investigation should be in the hands of those responsible for the prosecution. This includes factors such as whether the sum at risk is estimated to be at least £1million; the case is likely to give rise to national publicity and widespread public concern; investigation requires highly specialised knowledge; the case has a significant international dimension; is complex; and there is a need for legal, accountancy and investigative skills to be brought together."

- Quoted passage culled from the official UK Attorney General's website.


I am not, dear reader, a lawyer, and neither do I pretend to have any expertise in the law. However, commonsense informs my view, that it is significant that when it matters most, in the attempt to establish the truth about the Woyome judgement-debt payment matter, the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) apostles of the rule of law, who are shouting themselves hoarse about the Woyame saga, are refusing to appear before the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), and help establish the truth in this matter.

Instead, as the cynics amongst us might say, the apostles of the rule of law, are now seeking to get their allies in the judiciary - Atta Akyea and Malik Yakubu Alhassan's infamous "right judges" - to enable them successfully manipulate the legal system to prevent the EOCO from interviewing them.

Those selfsame cynics, might probably also ask, what exactly the NPP's members are so afraid will emerge, were they to appear before the EOCO - whiles the uncharitable in our midst, might also add, that the Osafo Maafos are hypocrites, whom, when it suits, prefer to remain beyond the reach of the law.

I find it extraordinary that any sincere and honest individual in Ghana, would make excuses, and cast doubt about the independence of a law enforcement body, merely because it comes under the Attorney General's Department. Are we not a democracy?

Whom exactly, do they want Parliament to hold responsible, when exercising its oversight responsibility, for the EOCO, I ask? Which government minister do they prefer to ask questions about the EOCO, on behalf of the good people of Ghana, on the floor of Parliament, when something goes amiss in its work, one wonders?

Osafo Maafo's reluctance to be questioned by the EOCO is astonishing. It is as if a voluble potential witness, whose evidence can help expose a fraudster and career-criminal, who he has been castigating extensively in the media, for defrauding Ghana, refuses to appear before the EOCO, when invited by it, because in his view it is under the Attorney General's Department - and therefore cannot be trusted to investigate a case of fraud against the Ghanaian nation-state involving the said fraudster, fairly. Simply, ridiculous.

Why talk endlessly about due process and the rule of law, in such a matter, then - when it is the basic law of the land that placed the EOCO under the Attorney General's Department, in the first place? How very absurd, dear reader.

To understand just how absurd, irresponsible and dangerous the NPP's position is on the EOCO, one needs to ask the question: What former government minister in the UK, the nation from which much of our common law originates, would take Mr. Osafo Maafo's inexplicable position, in similar circumstances? I doubt very much, dear reader, that any former British cabinet minister would refuse an invitation from the SFO.

I also doubt very much whether any self-respecting judge in the UK, would entertain, even for five minutes, the action Mr. Osafo Maafo's lawyer, Mr. Godfred Odame, has initiated and brought before a Ghanaian judge - seeking an injunction preventing the EOCO from interviewing him.

What kind of democrat and believer in the rule of law is Mr. Osafo Maafo - and those of his ilk, in the NPP, I ask? The trouble about most of those who are the "real owners" of the NPP, is that deep down they think they are a breed apart and above the law. But Ghana is not some feudal state belonging to them, is it, dear reader?

It is obvious that the powerful tribal-supremacist cabal that dominates the NPP, the perfidious Kufuor & Co, has swung into action - and every legal trick known to crooked lawyers, will be employed to delay the Osafo Maafos from being interviewed by the EOCO.

That will buy time for and prevent those who know that their arbitrariness and arrogant abuse of power, during their tenure, is what has led to so many judgement-debt payments, being made to those who were at the receiving end of their sodden pettiness and short-sightedness.

Now they are being hoisted on their own petard - and are getting their just desserts for forgetting that they would not control our nation for the rest of their dishonest and greed-filled lives.

They ought to have been wiser and chosen to act within the law, at all material times, whiles they were in office - but they elected not to do so: and now the chickens are coming home to roost, they think they can hide. It won't happen. Period.

Clearly, their hope is that they will succeed in holding off the EOCO, till the NPP wins power again in the December presidential elections (God forbid!). They can forget that pie-in-the-sky dream. Providence will ensure that they all pay for the brutal and repeated gang-rape of Mother Ghana, from January 2001 to January 2009.

(Incidentally, I also doubt very much, whether any sane lawyer in the UK, would advice a client to seek an injunction preventing the UK equivalent of the EOCO, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), from interviewing a client, for the ridiculous reasons the Osafo Maafos give.)

To show discerning Ghanaians just how absurd and disingenuous the NPP's position is, as regards the EOCO's independence - or lack of it - I am posting content about the UK SFO, culled from the UK Attorney General's Department's official website, and that of the SFO itself, below: Do read the content from both, and make up your own mind, dear reader:


(1) Culled from the official UK Attorney General's website:

"Serious Fraud Office (SFO)

"SFO was established in 1987 to investigate and prosecute cases of serious fraud in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The current criteria applied by the SFO to take on a prosecution are that the suspected fraud was such that the direction of the investigation should be in the hands of those responsible for the prosecution. This includes factors such as whether the sum at risk is estimated to be at least £1million; the case is likely to give rise to national publicity and widespread public concern; investigation requires highly specialised knowledge; the case has a significant international dimension; is complex; and there is a need for legal, accountancy and investigative skills to be brought together."

End of culled content about the SFO, from the UK Attorney General's official website.

(2) Culled content from the UK Serious Fraud Office's official website:

"Who we are

We are the Serious Fraud Office (SFO); an independent Government department that investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud, and corruption.  We are part of the UK criminal justice system with jurisdiction in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not in Scotland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

Our expert forensic accountants and professional investigators and lawyers investigate and prosecute the most serious or complex instances of fraud and corruption.

We use our special legislative powers to obtain the evidence needed to build successful cases and bring criminals to justice and so help maintain confidence in the UK's business and financial institutions.

Using the lessons we learn from the cases we investigate, we try to prevent extensive, deliberate criminal deception which could threaten the public further.

The Director of the SFO (Richard Alderman) is appointed by and accountable to the Attorney General (Mr Dominic Grieve QC MP) who is responsible to Parliament for the SFO and the other Law Officers' Departments:

Crown Prosecution Service,

Treasury Solicitor's Office

the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland

HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.

In July 2009 the then Attorney General (Baroness Scotland) published a protocol which set out clearly the relationship of the Attorney General with the prosecuting authorities she superintended. This was produced in collaboration with the directors of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO).

Protocol (.pdf*)

We are part of a network of Government agencies and other organisations which work to combat fraud and corruption.  For more information on how we fit into the counter-fraud and corruption network, visit External relations and What we do and who we work with.

What we do and who we work with

Our work is part of the overarching aims and objectives of the criminal justice system and we contribute to:

reducing fraud and corruption and the cost of fraud and corruption

delivering justice and the rule of law

maintaining confidence in the UK's business and financial institutions

We aim to do this by:

taking on appropriate cases, investigating them and bringing them to a successful conclusion as quickly as individual circumstances allow

prosecuting fairly and in a way that helps the jury understand the issues.

In doing this we try to:

work effectively and efficiently

help deter fraud and corruption

We work closely with:

External agencies and organisations

Overseas jurisdictions

Counsel"

End of culled content from the UK Serious Fraud Office's official website.

Well, there it is, dear reader. I shall say no more. I rest my case. I shall end by saying that one hopes that the Ghana Bar Association, the Chief Justice and all the judges under her, will always remember, when cases such as that of Mr. Osafo Maafo come up, that in the internet age, every aspect of their work, can be scrutinised in all the corners of the globe, at the click of a computer mouse.

Alas, today, it is not only amongst Ghanains that they must be mindful of their individual reputations - the whole world can now judge them online: so they must seek the common good and what will best serve the whole of Ghanaian society, at all material times.

Their professional reputation is now a matter that is of some global significance - and must be guarded jealously at all times. Serving the interests of Kufuor & Co., ought to be a thing of the past, for those judges who are partial to the NPP. With respect, they were appointed to serve society - not pander to politicians. Period.

Surely, no world-class professional in the legal world, in any established Western constitutional democracy, would entertain a similar request by a citizen, for an injunction preventing a body such as the EOCO from interviewing them?

Would their UK colleagues entertain such an absurdity? Surely, it is absurd for any Ghanaian citizen to say that the EOCO is not independent because it reports to the Attorney General?

Ghana's world-class judges must not support such an outrageous request in a democracy. Despite what the Osafo Maafos of our political world think, they are not above the law in our democracy - and the judiciary must make that absolutely clear to all Ghaianians of that ilk: in as far as being interviewed by the EOCO and the other investigative bodies of the Ghanaian nation-state goes.

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