Alleged coercion of witnesses: ‘This is not the first time Godfred Dame has done this’ – Martin Kpebu

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Renowned private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu has called for a public inquiry into the actions of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Dame, following an accusation of the Attorney General coercing a witness in the ongoing trial of the Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson.

According to Kpebu, this is not the first time Godfred Dame has engaged in such an act, citing events in the case between the state and Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Dr Benjamin Agordzo, who was one of the accused persons in the coup plot trial.

He claimed that the Attorney General told him that his client, ACP Agordzo, was not guilty of any crime but was just added to the list of accused persons.

He made the point that a public inquiry is needed to get to the bottom of the allegations against the Attorney General.

“The Attorney General is not a witness in this case, so after Jakpa (the third accused in the Ato Forson trial) makes his statement, the Attorney General would not be called into the witness box because he is only a lawyer (a prosecutor) in the case. So, the court cannot fully resolve this matter.

“So, if we want to hear from the Attorney General, there must be a public inquiry per Article 278 of the constitution or so. This issue is very serious, and it is not the first time. The Attorney General went on Joy FM, on May 4, and lied that Maame Tiwaa Addo-Danquah (EOCO boss) had fully investigated the case of Cecilia Dapaah and did not find anything against the former Minister. Not knowing, he had instructed one of his subordinates to write to Tiwaa that the investigation could be started but it was not needed… so he lied,” he said in Twi in an interview on Onua TV on May 25, 2024.

He added, “The same thing happened in my case with ACP Dr. Benjamin Agordzo. The Attorney General told me that Agordzo had done nothing wrong but ‘I’ve just added him’. How can you destroy someone’s life like this?”

About the allegation of coercion by Godfred Dame:

Richard Jakpa accused the Attorney General, Godfred Dame, of attempting to collude with him to make a case against the Majority Leader.

Jakpa claimed during court proceedings on Thursday, May 23, 2024, that the Attorney General called him at odd hours to get his cooperation.

He made these remarks when Dame accused him of protecting Ato Forson, threatening to reveal more if the Attorney General dares him.

“The AG has on several occasions engaged me at odd hours to help him make a case against A1, and I have evidence for that.

“If he pushes me, I will open Pandora’s box. I don’t understand why the AG would accuse me of defending A1 when I’m here to defend myself,” the third accused is quoted as having said.

Dr. Ato Forson, a former Deputy Minister for Finance; Sylvester Anemana, a former Chief Director at the Ministry of Health; and private businessman Richard Jakpa, are standing trial for allegedly wilfully causing a financial loss of €2.37 million to the state through a contract to purchase 200 ambulances for the Ministry of Health.

The trial of the former deputy finance minister and the two others began on January 18, 2022, before the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting as an additional High Court Judge.

They have pleaded not guilty to the five counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment of crime, contravention of the Public Procurement Act, and intentionally misapplying public property.

The state in March 2024 opted to discontinue the case against the former Chief Director at the Ministry, who is currently undergoing further care in India due to health complications.

About Cecilia Dapaah’s case:

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) closed its case against the former minister and her husband, Daniel Osei Kufuor, who was accused of corruption and corruption-related offences after two of their house helps allegedly stole $1 million and €300,000 in cash, along with other valuable items from their residence in Abelemkpe.

The Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, concluded that his office lacked the authority to prosecute or take further action against the former minister and referred the case to EOCO.

The referral was based on the suspicion that the large sums of money found at Cecilia Dapaah’s properties and bank accounts could be the proceeds of a money laundering and structuring scheme.

However, EOCO returned the dockets on the case following advice by the Office of the Attorney General that “The OSP’s referral to EOCO for investigations into money laundering is without basis.”

Attorney General Godfred Dame also said that there was no evidence of corruption or procurement breaches against the former Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources and her husband.

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