A legal practitioner and former Chief of Staff under the Rawlings-led administration, Nana Ato-Dadzie says Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, Chief Executive Officer of the erstwhile Ghana@50 secretariat and Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, former Chief of Staff could have been re-arrested immediately the High Court struck out and discharged them on charges of wilfully causing financial loss to the state.
The two were hauled before court on the recommendation of a commission of enquiry which investigated the expenditure of Ghana@50.
On Tuesday however, High Court judge, Justice Samuel Marful-Sau who presided over the case ruled that the two persons could not be prosecuted.
The judge further stated that the commission of enquiry erred in recommending prosecution of the two men and therefore discharged them.
Even though Nana Ato-Dadzie found the ruling a bit “strange”, he thought the court’s decision could have grounded on the prosecution relying solely on the findings of the commission.
He said there are many options opened to the Attorney General to advise herself in getting the case prosecuted.
“If the Attorney General were minded yesterday, immediately they were discharged they could have been re-arrested and the facts set out afresh before a new court,” he told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah on Wednesday.
In this case, he said the prosecution will have to rely on facts available to them after their own thorough investigation and not on the findings of the commission.
“The power to prosecute rests on the Attorney General and the power to investigate rests on the police, he noted, adding that under no circumstances should the findings of a commission of enquiry be used in prosecuting a case, he added.
Nana Ato Dadzie however disagreed with suggestions that the judge implied once the case has been dealt with by a commission of enquiry, the same case cannot be subjected to criminal prosecution.
According to him, civil and criminal evidence may be revealed during a commission of enquiry and the onus lie on the Attorney General to further investigate and prosecute the criminal elements involved.
But lead counsel for the discharged persons, Yoni Kulendi says the arguments by Nana Ato-Dadzie are fundamentally flawed, arguing there is more to the case than the “pedestrian conversation going on.”
He told Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah the state is opened to two options; to criminally investigate and prosecute a case at the law court or to adopt a commission of enquiry which will make findings which will be in the public good.
Once the latter option has been exercised the Attorney General “forfeits its right to prosecute.”
He said the law establishing a commission of enquiry states unequivocally that once a person has been subjected to the commission of enquiry, that person is immune to criminal prosecution.
He also dismissed assertions that his clients, per the ruling have failed to account for their commissions and omissions in the organisation of the Ghana@50 celebrations.
Kulendi noted that the two have the albatross of the adverse findings of the commission of enquiry still hanging around their necks and it is in their own interest to appeal the decision or forever forget about holding any public position.
Charles Wereko-Brobby has spoken of his readiness to appeal the commission’s findings.
Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana