Thursday, July 23, 2009

A-G awaits docket on ex Foreign Minister

The Attorney-General’s Department is awaiting the docket on the case involving the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Akwasi Osei-Adjei, who has been charged by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) with willfully causing financial loss to the state. Reacting to reports on the A-G's involvement in the case, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, said her outfit did not charge suspects but rather prosecuted suspects who had been investigated and duly charged by the security agencies. In the case of Mr Osei-Adjei, who had been formally charged by the BNI for his role in the importation of huge quantities of rice valued at $10.26 million, she said the BNl was yet to furnish her outfit with the docket. In an interview with, the Daily Graphic, Mrs Mould-Iddrisu confirmed that the BNI had officially charged Mr Osei-Adjei and, therefore he would be prosecuted if the docket on him was forwarded to her outfit. The BNI has since granted Mr Osei-Adjei self recognisance bail in the sum ofGH¢500,000. Counsel for Mr Osei-Adjei, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, also confirmed to the Daily Graphic that his client was invited to the BNI offices and charged with the offence. He said his client was innocent of the charges preferred against him and would prove that in due course. Meanwhile, a civil suit filed by Osei-Adjei against the Director of the BNI and the Attorney-General for violating his fundamental human rights will be heard on Friday, July 24, 2009. According to Mr Osei-Adjei, the seizure and detention of his passport by officials of the BNI was "flagrantly unlawful and a palpable violation" of his human rights. He said the BNI, which seized his passport on May 26, 2009 at the BNI offices, had acted "maliciously and in tad faith" and could, therefore, not be trusted to conduct any independent and impartial investigation into the role he played in the importation of rice when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is, therefore, praying the court to declare that the seizure of his passport is not constitutional and an abuse of his fundamental human rights, as well as a further order directed at the Director of the BNI to release his passport unconditionally. Mr Osei-Adjei is also seeking an order of prohibition directed at the Attorney-General and the Director of the BNI to restrain them from further curtailment of his right to freedom of movement without a court order. The A-G's Department has defended the detention of Mr Osei-Adjei's passport on the grounds that the BNI was mandated, under the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act (Act 526), to investigate him. According to the A-G's Department, Mr Osei-Adjei was likely to abscond if he had access to his passport. It further stated that Mr Osei-Adjei's suit was aimed at detracting the BNI from investigating his unlawful importation of rice, as well as inflating the price of the rice.
Source: Daily Graphic

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