Court discharges Mpiani, Wireko-Brobby

Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani - Former Chief of Staff

An Accra Fast Track High Court on Tuesday discharged Dr Charles Wireko-Brobby and Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani, two former officials of the defunct Ghana@50 Secretariat of all charges of wilfully causing financial loss to the State.

Dr Wireko-Brobby, aka Tarzan, was the Former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana@50 Secretariat and Mpiani, Chairman of National Planning Committee for Ghana@50.

They were facing four counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the State.

They pleaded not guilty and were admitted to GH¢35 million self recognisance bail each.

Mr Justice Samuel Marful-Sau, a Court of Appeal Judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, in his ruling, upheld the motion of the defence that under Article 280 of the 1992 Constitution, the accused persons were entitled to an appeal at the Court of Appeal because the Ghana@50 Commission of Inquiry had the powers of the High Court.

He said in as much as the State had the right to issue a White Paper on the Commission’s Report, the State had elected to make findings of the Commission a judgement of the High Court.

Mr Justice Marful-Sau said even though the Attorney General had the right to prosecute, it must ensure the due process of the law.

The court said arguments put forward by the prosecution that the accused persons misappropriated Ghana@50 properties at Trassaco Valley were not part of the charges before the court.

He said Article 282 (61)(2a)and (62) of the 1992 Constitution made it unlawful for the prosecution to charge the accused persons, who appeared before the Commission of Enquiry as witnesses with any criminal offence.

Mr Justice Marful-Sau advised that anytime the State wanted to prosecute people considered to have misappropriated State resources, it could resort to other investigative agencies and not the Commission of Enquiry.

Mr Anthony Gyambiby, Chief State Attorney, said the ruling confirmed deepening of the rule of law and democracy in Ghana.

Mr Akoto Ampaw, Counsel for Dr Wireko-Brobby said the ruling was a landmark which would go a long way to enhance legal education in the country.

He said the fear of citizens to appear before Commissions of Enquiries would be dispelled by the ruling.

Mr Yonni Kulendi, Counsel for Mpiani added his voice to Mr Akoto Ampaw and said the erudite delivery of the ruling by the judge would serve as a useful guidance for society.

The facts of the case are that Parliament approved 31.80 million dollars, equivalent to GH¢29.31 million, for the celebration of Ghana@50 from January to December 2007 and holding of African Union Summit.

The prosecution said the amount was made up of a first tranche of GH¢18.29 million, which was approved by Parliament on July 20, 2006, and a second tranche, which was a loan of 11.80 million dollars, equivalent to GH¢11.02 million, contracted from the management of Fidelity Bank and approved by Parliament.

It said aside from those sums approved by Parliament, “huge sums of money appeared to have been spent on the celebrations”, adding that more than a year after the celebrations, many projects remained uncompleted and the government was saddled with huge debts.

The prosecution said it was against that background that the Commission of Enquiry was set up by President John Evans Atta Mills to enquire into activities of Ghana@50 Secretariat and the entire celebration.

The Commission of Enquiry found out that although Parliament had approved GH¢29.31 million for the celebration, GH¢97,776,338.44 was spent on it, out of which GH¢75,569,563.34 was directly spent by the Secretariat and NPC.

“The Secretariat and NPC, therefore, spent about GH¢46,999,563 in excess of the amount of money approved by Parliament for the celebration,” the prosecution said.

It further stated that the Commission of Enquiry also found out that contrary to Articles 176 and 178 of the 1992 Constitution, the Secretariat and NPC used all the internally generated funds, totalling GH¢19,352,498.00, without any approval from Parliament.

Source: GNA

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