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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A-G rebuffs The Chronicle, Kofi Coomson

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu has rebuffed claims by the Chronicle Newspaper that she is incompetent.The Chronicle in its Tuesday, September 22, 2009 edition published suggestions that the Justice Minister has failed to discharge her duties competently.

The paper also suggests she may be the weakest link in the Mills' government and levelled several allegations against her.But an unthused Betty Mould Iddrisu in a three page statement debunked the allegations, stating emphatically she has a duty to serve the nation and will only be accountable to the people and not individuals or publications that seek to debate matters pending before the courts.

Read Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu's full rebuttal below.

I have taken notice of the unsavory publications made by the Chronicle newspaper about the Attorney General. The Chronicle newspaper is part of the fourth estate of the republic and is expected to play its role of educating and informing the public in an honest, objective and impartial manner.
In contrast what I have read from the Chronicle in recent weeks represents a despicable and disgraceful effort by Kofi Coomson to incite the public against me. As baseless as the Chronicle's publications are, the editor of the Chronicle has still not approached me for my side of the story. In his ignorance Kofi Coomson does not know that since I assumed office as the Attorney General I have contributed fully to national development.

In this direction I have taken various steps including the prosecution of cases and the negotiation of settlements that have led to several millions of dollars being saved for the Country. But for these efforts by the Attorney General the budget deficit which arose as a result of the mismanagement by the past administration would have been double the figures we know of now. By achieving these results I have never considered myself to be answerable to the Chronicle newspaper or Kofi Coomson.

It is therefore important for the Chronicle and Kofi Coomson to quickly come to the realization that they cannot and will never set the boundaries of my political career and my work as an Attorney General. It is repugnant and unethical on the part of journalist cast in the mould of the Kofi Coomson to publicly discuss and critique a case that is pending before the courts.

If the lawyer for the alleged victim believes so much in his case what he should be doing is stand on his feet in court and argue rather than have some microphone slipped under his nose for an interview on air or have his side of the story serialized in a newspaper.

It is now obvious that the Chronicle newspaper and the like are bent on tarnishing my image to achieve their own hidden agenda. I assure them that I will fight them with the truth and honesty which they obviously lack. The Attorney General under Article 88 of the Constitution, 1992 has the power to prosecute all criminal cases in the name of the republic and not to secure so called constitutional interests of victims of alleged crimes.

If at the end of the prosecution alleged victim's grievances are restored as a result of the conviction of the accused by the courts (emphasis supplied) so be it! One should not forget that during a criminal trial the accused also has inalienable rights and the Attorney General should not be stampeded to persecute accused persons in the name of securing so called constitutional interests of victims of crimes.
What the Attorney General is constitutionally obliged to do is to collaborate with the court to ensure that all criminal cases are prosecuted within a reasonable time. I am convinced that I have not done anything that has led to the unreasonable delay in the prosecution of this matter. The docket on this case has been under construction by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police Service over the past 3 years!! The accused are lawyers who practice in the courts of Ghana every day and are reachable by the CID anytime they want.

The Canadians who bought the mine are still in the country mining and exporting the gold they mine each day. The Judge who in the performance of his constitutional duties, adjudicated on some aspect of this complicated and bizarre saga is always available for interview. Perhaps I should be asking question why the case took 3 years to get to my Department.

Rather than accuse me for not securing the so called constitutional interests of his client the Chronicle should be complimenting me for seeking to strengthen the prosecution's case since I received this docket just about three months ago. Within this period I have been able to review the docket and advised the police investigators on areas that need to be strengthened. For example the statement of the Canadians who bought the mine which the complainant claims to be his and that of the Judge were not on the docket but which I have now ensured is on the docket.

It has been two months since I directed the police to extend their investigations to cover these areas. The Police who are prosecuting this case on my behalf contrived to prosecute the case in spite of the clear directives given them. This resulted in an order of the High Court to the effect that until the directives of the Attorney General is acted upon the Circuit Court could not go ahead to hear the matter.

This accounted for the lull in the prosecution of the case. At this point, I will urge the Chronicle to be civil and shirk itself of all malice to enable it to perform its civic responsibilities of educating the public with more honesty and candor than we have so far observed.

Betty Mould Iddrisu
Attorney General and Minister for Justice

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