Wednesday, July 18, 2012
STATE DROPS TREASON CHARGES - AGAINST KEN AGYAPONG
July 7, 2012 (Lead story) THE State has dropped first degree felony charges against the Member of Parliament for Assin North, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, exactly 48 hours after the Supreme Court threw out its request to quash proceedings against the MP, who was standing trial at the Fast Track High Court for allegedly pitting Ashantis against Gas and Ewes. Initially charged with three counts of treason felony, attempted genocide and engaging in terrorism act for allegedly inciting Ashantis against Ewes and Gas, as well as declaring war, the MP is now faced with two counts of provocation of riot and offensive conduct conducive to the breaches of the peace. A Principal State Attorney, Mr. Anthony Rexford Wiredu, informed the Fast Track High Court presided over by Mr. Justice Charles Quist that the state had filed a nolle prosequi to discontinue the case against the MP. The court took into account the state’s request and accordingly discharged the MP at exactly 10:55 a.m. but the MP, who was clad in white linen apparel resumed his seat and waited for his lawyer, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo. Mr. Otoo emerged from the courtroom some few minutes after his client had been discharged, granted interview to journalists and later proceeded to the Police headquarters with the MP to give out a statement. Mr. Otoo told journalists that he had been served with the new charges leveled against his client and further pointed out the new charges “had nothing to do with the earlier gargantuan charges leveled against my client.” Mr. Otoo, who is a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice said the new charges against the MP were bailable. According to Mr. Otoo, the MP was likely to be arraigned before a lower court because the charges leveled against the MP were misdemeanor. The MP was alleged to have on April 13, 2012 incited Ashantis against Gas and Ewes as well as declared war on a private radio station, Oman FM. He was picked up on April 16, 2012, refused police enquiry bail and put before the Adjabeng District Magistrate Court on April 17, 2012 but the magistrate court declined jurisdiction over the matter. The Fast Track High Court on April 19, 2012, granted the MP bail in the sum of GH¢200,000 with one surety to be justified to the Assin North MP, who was also bonded to be of good behaviour until the final determination of the criminal action brought against him by the state. However, the state which put the MP before the Fast Track High Court later went to the Supreme Court praying it to quash proceedings at the Fast Track High Court because the court lacked jurisdiction. The Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out the state’s application which prayed it to quash proceedings against the MP. In a unanimous decision, the highest court of the land ruled that the action filed by the Attorney-General (A-G) was “unnecessary and extremely odd” because the law empowered the A-G to file a nolle prosequi to discontinue the processes at the lower court. It also reminded the state that it could without prejudice re-start the case against the MP after discontinuing the trial.