Claims by the Attorney General that Mrs. Betty Mould Iddrisu refused to be used as a state witness in the prosecution of Alfred Woyome is not accurate, her counsel Nana Ato Dadzie has said.
According to him, his client gave two conditions and was therefore incumbent on the AG Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong to satisfy them to enable Betty testify in court.
Making this disclosure on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis programme Newsfile Saturday, Nana Ato Dadzie suggested that the AG should rather be blamed for not going the extra mile to bring Mrs. Mould Iddrisu on board as a key witness.
Betty Mould Iddrisu was the Attorney General who authorised the payment of ¢51 million judgment debt to Mr. Alfred Woyome in 2010, only for the Supreme Court to declare that payment unconstitutional and ordered a refund in 2014.
However, barely a fortnight ago, attempts by the AG to incarcerate Mr. Woyome suffered a jolt. An Accra High Court freed the businessman on two counts of causing financial loss to the state and defrauding by false pretence, with the trial judge overtly criticising the AG for a sloppy prosecution.
The ruling has been appealed. Shrugging off criticisms that she did a lousy job, as many felt the state lost the case because of AG’s inability to call Betty and her deputy at the time Ebo Barton Odro to testify, Mrs. Appiah-Oppong told Joy News she personally pleaded with Betty to testify in the case but she declined.
However, Betty’s counsel, who is a former Chief of Staff under Rawlings’ regime, said the AG’s account cannot be wholly true. Nana Ato Dadzie admitted that although her client was approached, she said she could not readily testify having sworn an oath of secrecy as a former minister.
“I have had consultations with her (Betty) and that position [by the AG] may not be wholly correct,” Nana Ato Dadzie told Samson Lardy Anyenini on Newsfile.
“The Attorney General’s Department wrote to Betty Mould Iddrisu that they want to turn her a witness, that letter went to her through me, [we] consulted and we responded accordingly.
“And what we wrote back was that she has no objection or whatsoever. “She set two conditions. One, she is still under public oath of secrecy [even though] she has left office, so you must ask permission for it be lifted; and secondly, she has been out of office for a long time, she would need to gain access to the records. Save these two conditions and she is prepared to [be a state witness],” he placed on record.
The president could have given the order to get the secrecy lifted or the AG could have gone to court to have that done, Nana Ato Dadzie submitted.
He said what his client did while in office, in the judgement debt saga, could best amount to an “administrative error”, and therefore asked that a distinction is drawn between a constitutional act, administrative act or criminal act. “Until we are able to draw those lines we will run into troubles,” he cautioned.
“Betty probably could have erred administratively, but it doesn’t matter how much or how far you look at it, the so-called administrative errors, multiple it hundred times, a thousand times, cannot amount to criminality” But ace legal practitioner Yonny Kulendi totally disagreed with Betty’s position that she is under oath of secrecy and therefore she cannot testify in court. In his view Mrs. Mould Idrissu was “absolutely ill advised”.
He explained that it does not lie in the mouth of an individual to say he or she cannot testify under such condition, rather the power lies squarely in the bosom of the court.
Therefore, be it the president or whoever, it is the court that has to decide whether to wave your oath of secrecy or not, when you appear before it or summoned.
Source : myjoyonline.com