Opposition MPs Warn Attorney-General against Threatening Freedom of Speech

The Minority in Parliament has issued a cautionary message to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah-Dame, urging him to refrain from intimidating Ghanaians who exercise their right to express opinions on matters of national importance. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs assert that neither President Akufo-Addo nor any of his appointees possess the authority to curtail such freedoms.

In response to recent statements made by the Attorney-General regarding public commentary on high-profile cases, the Minority released a press release on Wednesday, July 5. They emphasized that justice originates from the people and highlighted the importance of preserving citizens’ right to express their views.

They advised him to desist from issues threats to the citizenry whose taxes take care of him.

“The Attorney-General does not possess such overreaching powers to impose fetters on free expression as he seeks to arrogate to himself. We wish to remind him that justice emanates from the people of Ghana and is administered for and on their behalf.”

“Therefore, while it may displease him, the Ghanaian people cannot be stifled from having their say,” Governs Agbodza pointed out.

The caucus also called the bluff of the A-G daring him to “do his worse.”

“We wish to serve notice, however, that our resilience cannot be broken, neither are we deterred by deliberate harassment and persecution laced with rabid political fanaticism by the Attorney-General to please this failed administration.

“This Attorney-General can do his worse and continue with his persecution, but that will not break the resolve of the Minority to keep holding the feet of the government to the fire of accountability,” he said.

The Dormaahene, Osagyefo Badu II, who’s also the President of the Bono Regional House of Chiefs, appealed to President Akufo-Addo to intervene and stop the prosecution of the MP-elect, James Gyakye Quayson. 

Speaking at the 10th-anniversary lecture of John Evans Atta Mills, in Sunyani, Osagyefo Agyemang Badu who’s known in judicial practice as Justice Daniel Mensah said pursuing the case will not contribute to the country’s development in any way.

“As a matter of urgency, I am appealing to the President of the Republic, Attorney General if he has any role to play, that the trial should be aborted,” he appealed.

He thus called on the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame “to as a matter of urgency file a nolle prosequi to end that particular decision.”

Again, he expressed worry about the Supreme Court’s ruling which resulted in Mr Quayson being removed from Parliament.

But his comment incurred the wrath of the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice saying such commentaries “clearly exceed the bounds of acceptable speech as they seek to disparage prosecutors in the eyes of the public and frustrate prosecution of those cases.

“Some of the comments are orchestrated to pervert the course of justice and/or prejudice the fair hearing and determination of the cases.” 

Mr Dame explained that “The decision to prefer a charge against an accused person is not made on the basis of a person’s political status, social or economic standing but on the strength of evidence subject to the scrutiny of the courts.

“An acquittal of a person by the courts does not imply malice on the part of the Republic in the filing of a charge.

“The perception that a crime committed by a person of high political standing in society should not be prosecuted is dangerous for society and must not be countenanced.” 

The Attorney-General added that “in the discharge of his duty to protect the administration of justice from abuse, hereby entreats the general public to permit the streams of justice to flow freely and uncontaminated by undue comments and pressure on the courts.” 

The Attorney-General cautioned that “no immunity is conferred by a person’s position in parliament, judiciary, traditional authority, Ghana Bar Association (GBA), or any official position, from the consequences of an interference in the administration of justice or an attempt to overreach a judgment to be delivered by the court in any matter.”

“We must respect due process.” 

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