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I wasn’t attacking the judiciary – Kissi Agyebeng clarifies

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Kissi Agyebeng, Special Prosecutor, has explained his remarks on the judiciary, stating that his words were not intended to generate public sympathy or to begin an attack on the legal system.

Agyebeng stated during an interview on Citi TV on January 8, 2023 that the objective of his words was to raise attention to perceived flaws in the courts.

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“I wasn’t looking for sympathy. Let me go back to what I was saying, and you look at it dispassionately without the frenzy of ‘why is he attacking the judiciary?’ That was how those who were responding to me negatively took it, but I wasn’t attacking the judiciary,” he said.

Agyebeng continued, “What I was doing was pointing out things that, in our evaluation, we thought were not going right,” he said.

Kissi Agyebeng spoke at a news conference on a tendency of dismissals by some members of the court over the activities of the OSP.

The OSP then referenced to four occasions in which the court issued troubling remarks in favor of suspects being probed by his agency for corruption and corruption-related charges.

“We do not force feed cases; we do not force feed our prosecutions. It is our belief that it is not a matter of us going beyond our mandate but rather a case of hasty dismissiveness and lack of regard, because if you take the four cases I tabled out over a period of time spanning from July 2022 to Monday, there is a troubling trend.

“In one of the cases, I said a judge injuncted us from arresting a person. Mind you, we were not in court. We had declared the person wanted as a fugitive from justice; there was absolutely no inquiry as to why we believed that the person was a fugitive from justice, so it is not as if we breached the law.

“No one asked us why we declared the person wanted. Then we were served with an injunction order that we cannot arrest the person, meanwhile we know that in our law no one has the right not to be arrested. You cannot say you are granting a person a right not to be arrested.

“So when we receive judicial decisions like that, it makes us assume that we are being prevented from arresting someone who is a fugitive from justice,” he said.

Agyebeng’s claims follow the OSP’s rejection of multiple petitions and applications in its continuing fight against corruption.

The Accra High Court denied the OSP’s motion to freeze the assets of the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, widely known as Sir John, a former Forestry Commission CEO, in July 2022. This came after the OSP decided to freeze all Sir John’s assets as part of an inquiry into the acquisition of state lands and properties indicated in his will.

Agyebeng warned of possible hazards if the court continues to injunct or restrict investigations, implying that soon, even murderers may brazenly seek injunctions to avoid punishment.

Addressing the difficulties he has encountered since taking on the position of Special Prosecutor, Agyebeng highlighted a recent court ruling that prohibited him from continuing an investigation into the Labianca tax case.

A court overturned the OSP’s adverse findings against Col. Damoah and one Adu-Kyei, accusing them of malfeasance in awarding tax exemptions to Labianca Company, which is controlled by Council of State member Eunice Asomah-Hinneh.

Despite the court’s decision, Agyebeng has pledged to pursue the case, expressing worry about the possible negative precedent made by frequent judicial intervention in his work.

 

 

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