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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Okudzeto: Don't link Kwabena Adjei’s comments on judiciary to murder of Judges

Statues in rememberance of the three High Court Judges who were murdered in 1982.
Statues in rememberance of the three High Court Judges who were murdered in 1982.
A Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has decried attempts by sections of the public to link recent comments by Chairman of the National Democratic Congress on the judiciary to the murder of the three High Court judges in 1982.

He says while people are free to do so they must be fair to the country's political history by adding that the unscrupulous murderers of the judges were identified and justice delivered, a far cry from recent unresolved murders in the country in recent times.

“I believe it is quite unfortunate that... there has really been a deliberate reminder of [the] 1982 [murders] and to say that the party chairman’s [comments] can be linked to the threat and murder of the judges in 1982 and everybody ends there; nobody completes that important period of our history when the perpetrators were identified and punished. They paid the ultimate punishment which is death. They were executed," Okudzeto said in an interview with Joy FM’s Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah on the Super Morning Show on Thursday.

Mr Justice Fred Poku Sarkodie, Mrs Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addo and Mr Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong and an army officer were murdered in June 30, 1982 in what is believed to be in relation to the discharge of their duties.

“As we speak there are many many unresolved murders and I don’t believe we want to create a society where some people don’t matter. As we speak we have not found the Killers of the Ya-Na, Issa Mobila, Rokko Frimpong, a banker and a little girl in Tamale who was shot.”

He was reacting to statements by the Chairman of the NDC Dr. Kwabena Adjei on Tuesday accusing the judiciary of bias and a deliberate ploy to embarrass the government.

According to him, the NDC chair’s comments must be looked at in the broad context of judicial reforms which has well been spelt out in the NDC manifesto of 2008.

He says the government “respects judicial independence; government will not do anything to jeopardize justice delivery or the safety of justice and will continue to ensure that the organs of the state protect our judges and guarantee their security.”

He noted however that the current political system which provides periods of reprieve for wrong doers because they are in government and prosecuted only when they are out of government must be done away with.

He said the separation of the Attorney General’s office from the office of the Minister of justice will ensure that prosecutions will assume a less partisan outlook.

“This situation where it appears that you only wait for four years or eight years when your party is out of power before you can be properly be scrutinized and if there are questions you have to answer before you would answer them or appear before the court. It is largely looking like a joke,” he emphasized.

Corroborating the assertions of the party chairman, Okudzeto Ablakwa quoted article 146 of the constitution which spells out conditions under which a judge can be removed, adding the government shall use constitutional means to ensure those judicial reforms are ratified.

He stated emphatically that all the political traditions in Ghana have dark spots in country’s judicial history and cautioned critics of the government to desist from citing the wrongs of the Provisional National Defence Council to demonize the Mills administration.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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