Attorney General Under Pressure

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Betty-Mould Idrisu has her legal reputation at stake. She has lost two major arguments already and must be seeing to be working hard at remedying the situation in new cases of interest to the government before the courts, or end up being another Akufo-Addo who lost his footing as Attorney General in the case of Tsatsu Tsikata Vrs the Attorney General in 2001. The Attorney general has come under intense pressure to deliver and save the image of the government and the case involving Mr Asamoah Boateng and the others has become her test case. Mr Tsatsu Tsikata won the case of the unconstitutionality of the Fast Track High Court on a 5-4 majority decision at the Supreme Court, which decision was later overturned by a similar decision after the NPP government had packed the highest court of Ghana with fresh appointments including a judge who sat on the case at the High Court and thus had an interest. Mr Asamoah Boateng, his wife Zulieka Asamoah and seven other public officers on Monday appeared before an Accra Fast Track High Court charged with conspiracy to defraud the state. The accused are alleged to have conspired to defraud the state of GH¢86,915.85 as a result of renovation works carried at the Ministerial Block of the Ministry during Mr Asamoah Boateng's tenure. The officials include Frank Agyekum, former Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, Dominic Aloysius Yaw Sampong, former Acting Chief Director, Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Kwabena Denkyira, former Director of Finance and Administration of the Ministry and Prosper Arku of SPAL. They are answering to 14 counts of conspiracy to defraud the state. Asamoah Boateng, Zulieka, Kofi, Agyekum, Sampong and Domua are jointly charged for contravening the provisions of the Public Procurement Act. Asamoah Boateng, Kofi, Agyekum, Sampong are also facing attempt to commit a criminal offence namely defrauding by false pretences. Kofi and Asamoah Boateng and Arku have additionally been charged for forgery of official documents and possessing forged documents. They have pleaded not guilty before the court presided over by Mr. Justice Charles and have been admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢10,000 each with a surety each to reappear on August 27. The Court, however, asked Asamoah Boateng and his wife Zuleika to deposit their passports with the Courts' Registry adding that “the requirement of the passport would be reviewed after two months”. On the issues concerning the passports, the court said it was mindful of the attempts made by Mr Asamoah Boateng and his wife to travel outside and the fact that they had been prevented by security agencies from travelling. This development cut short ongoing celebrations by the couple and their supporters of victory over the government following a court ruling that ordered the BNI to allow Mrs Asamoah Boateng to travel. In a similar development, former Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Akwesi Agyei won a case against the BNI/government in the seizure of his passport by the BNI. Mrs. Betty-Mould Iddrisu, who is the first ever female Attorney General and Minister of Justice, no doubt has a huge mounting to clear and must do everything to prove her mettle.