Defence counsel in Afoko case continues cross examination
Mr Paul Afoko, the suspended New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman, has told an Accra Human Rights Court that he was not aware of Mrs Gifty Kusi’s appointment as member of the National Council (NC) until he appealed to the court challenging his suspension.
He said the first time he saw her appointment letter was when the case had started, saying; “the reason why it was part of my appeal was because my lawyers told me about her presence on the panel”.
“I, therefore, told them she had never been presented to the NC to be appointed as a member of the disciplinary committee,” he said.
Mr Afoko was speaking during the continuation of cross examination by the defence counsel in a suit he filed at an Accra Human Rights Court challenging his suspension by the party.
When asked whether he was aware Mrs Kusi was sworn in, he said swearing in was a convention and, therefore, not in the parties constitution saying swearing in was not that important as being appointed or suggested by Council.
He said: “There would be a breach of conduct if you are not appointed by the NC before being sworn in.”
Mr Afoko said based on his four years experience as a member of the finance committee which was standing committee of the NC and also on his four-year experience as a member of the NC, he knew that without appointment by the NC one could not be sworn in.
When asked whether he had ever been a member of the National Executive Committee before he became chairman, he said he had never been a member but had been a member of the NC, regional committees, constituency committee and polling station committee.
He said he became a member of the NC when he was appointed as a representative of the Upper West Region by a letter signed by the regional chairperson and his membership was from 2010 to 2014.
Mr Afoko said at the time of his appointment membership of the NC was by appointment until recently when elections were introduced by him.
He added that all regional representatives at the time were not elected but appointed.
“I can say that I served on the Council and actually voted at the conference in Tamale that elected me as the national chairman. I voted as NC member and was recognised by the party as such.
When Counsel for the defendants, Mr Godwin Odame, asked Mr Afoko to tell the court the purpose of the minutes he attached to his witness statement to the court, he said it was to show the court how members of the standing committee of the Council were approved to these committees.
He said the attachment contained a comprehensive minutes of members approved by Council.
Mr Odame asked why the minutes from the NC attached to the witness statement were not signed by the General Secretary but Mr Afoko said they were signed by the Administrative and Finance Director under the supervision of the General Secretary, even though the General Secretary was in office at the said time.
When asked whether he would be surprised to see that Mr Kwabena Agyepong had filed a witness statement to the court that he was the one who recorded that minutes, Mr Afoko answered that he would not be surprised because officially Mr Agyepong was the head of the secretariat and, as such, minutes and other functions performed by the various directors were approved by him.
The court adjourned hearing to May 17 for further cross examination.
At the last sitting Mr Afoko gave his evidence in chief tendering his witness statement filed on March 22, after which the defence counsel began cross examination.
Mr Afoko is challenging his indefinite suspension from the party, arguing it was illegal. The NPP’s National Executive Committee suspended him in October 2015 for “misconduct.”
According to him, the action and processes leading to his suspension by some elements of the party were unconstitutional and a breach of natural justice.
The decision was adopted by the party’s National Council which is the second highest decision making body of the party after congress but he maintained the party erred in the decision.