Law lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Justice Srem Sai, has blamed the Attorney-General for the widely-condemned treatment of Gregory Afoko.
Gregory Afoko is a key suspect in the murder of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Upper East Region Chairman, Adams Mahama, in 2015. Mr Mahama was attacked in front of his home in Bolgatanga with acid leading to his death.
Although Mr Afoko was granted bail by a High Court in March this year and fulfilled his bail conditions he was still held in police custody.
But on July 15, 2019, the Afoko trial took on a dramatic turn. Another High Court, in what many believe to be politically-motivated move, rescinded the bail condition. The sudden turn of events has been described as unprecedented and a likely breach of legal procedure.
Some legal commentators believe a High Court holds no such power to rescind the decision of another High Court but a superior court – that is an Appeal Court or the Supreme Court.
Many callers on Joy FM’s flagship magazine show, the Super Morning Show, suspect there is an 'evil' hand in the decision to deny Gregory Afoko bail.
Amnesty International, OccupyGhana and many other civil society groups have condemned what has been described in many ways as an affront to the rule of law and a breach of Mr Afoko’s human right.
Don’t blame police
Before Afoko’s bail was rescinded, many blamed the police for setting aside the directive of a court of competent jurisdiction, prompting a contempt of court suit against the Inspector General of Police, David Asante-Apeatu, Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, by a private citizen. That case is still pending.
But on PM Express Tuesday, a current affairs programme on the Joy News channel on MultiTV, Justice Sai, respected for his well-argued views of legal matters, said the A-G’s office, and not the police, is most guilty in Afoko’s legal challenges.
“The police are merely agents of the Attorney-General, so unless there is evidence that the Attorney-General has instructed the police to do X and they have refused…I will not in any way think that the police have gone out of their way to disrespect the court.
“And what is even strange in all this is that, this case has assumed an international dimension. In a country where rule of law is respected, at least, we expect that the Attorney-General to offer some explanation to the public…the silence of the Attorney-General’s office on this particular issue is what is amazing,” Mr Sai said via a video call on the nightly current affairs programme.
Why A-G is most guilty
Providing further details on why he holds the A-G, Gloria Akuffo, and her office responsible for the case that continues to feature prominently in the national discourse, Mr Sai made the following remarks on PM Express.
“The Attorney-General’s power is what the police are exercising in terms of all these things. So the Attorney-General determines who goes to court for what offence In fact, in so many instances, the Attorney-General actually advises the police on what to do.
“I believe that even in the middle of these challenges that we are having – whether the person should be brought to the court for the bail to be executed – I believe strongly that the Attorney-General has all it takes to instruct the police to produce the person in court.
“You see the Attorney General is the layer between the courts and all the other branches of government, including the police. The Attorney-General is also the legal adviser to the entire government and the decision to prosecute, how to prosecute – whether to drop it and how to restart – is solely the decision of the Attorney-General.
“And in terms the practicalities of this case, it is the Attorney-General who went to court, it is the Attorney-General whose detention application was refused and bail granted, it was the Attorney-General who appealed against the decision [to grant Afoko bail], it was the Attorney-General who applied for stay of execution, it was the same Attorney-General who also went to court [on Monday] and placed certain facts before the court, so I have no doubt in my mind all these challenges that we are facing today is exclusively – and I am stressing exclusively – the making of the Attorney-General.”
A-G must be responsive
The GIMPA law lecturer has admonished the A-G to be responsive and speak to the public on the matter.
He said, assuming the treatment of Mr Afoko was justified in law, it still behoves on the A-G’s office to speak to the public as it has done on other pertinent issues of national interest.
A-G has nothing to say
A key member of Mr Afoko’s legal team, Nana Yaw Osei, who also took part in the discussion on PM Express, said it was unfortunate that police, the A-G’s office and other relevant state institutions have refused to address the concerns of many on the matter.
He was, however, of the view that their silence is proof that his client was being legally mistreated.
“The A-G’s office is not responding to issues because, really, what are they coming to say?” he quizzed.
Country Director of Amnesty International, Robert Akoto Amoafo, said the Afoko case was a classic indication that rule of law in Ghana was under threat.
Watch the full PM Express show, hosted by Ayisha Ibrahim, in the video link below.