The High Court in Accra has fixed Thursday, June 13, 2024, to rule on State Prosecutors’ objection against the tendering of an audio conversation between Attorney General (AG) and businessman, Richard Jakpa.

Prosecution led by Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) objected to the tendering of the audio after it was played in open Court.

The Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare Botwe, fixed the date after hearing arguments from both the prosecution and lawyers of former Deputy Finance Minister, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson.

The DPP while objecting to the tendering of the audio which was earlier considered relevant by the Court in the ruling of an application for a mistrial argued that “there was no proper foundation for the admissibility of the audio.”

No relevance to the matter

She submitted that no sufficient foundation had been laid for its (audio recording) inclusion into evidence in the ongoing trial.

“This recording is of no significance in arriving at any decision of the actions against accused persons,” the DPP submitted.

She added “You record somebody because you want to prevent the commission of a crime. They (Defence) have not said any crime the Attorney General was seeking to commit.

The DPP submitted that the audio recording is of no relevance to the issues before this court. It should not be admitted in evidence.

To buttress her point, the DPP pointed to the High treason trial where the prosecution laid what she described as a “proper foundation” including a transcript of the videos tendered in evidence.

She also submitted that the privacy rule had been breached especially when the audio didn’t suggest that a crime was going to be committed.

Frivolous objection

Dr Abdul Aziz Basit Bamba, lead Counsel for Dr Ato Forson, the first accused said “this objection is frivolous and untenable, and same should be overruled.”

Counsel argued further that, “the content of the Audio is absolutely relevant to this case.”

“What this audio indicates is that the Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame who is the guardian of the constitution is seeking to subvert the same constitution,” Dr. Bamba argued.

It was the submission of Dr Bamba that what the Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame was doing “was even a Contempt of Court.”

He argued that he “was subjecting the authority of this Court into disrepute.”

Counsel submitted further that, the AG acted in excess of authority because his job is to prosecute the case and “to do that through his witnesses,” but not to call an accused to accept his theory.

“It is not his (Godfred Dame’s) role to be telling an accused person to accept his theory and that there would be no difficulty,” once his theory is accepted.

Dr Bamba submitted that Attorney General Godfred Yeboah “was abusing his authority as the chief prosecutor of the state.”

On the issue of proper foundation, he argued that “we say a proper foundation has to be made and third accused has admitted he had interaction with Attorney General” and “it was this basis that the court made as to serve the Prosecution.”

EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah reports that Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame was absent, and it was not immediately clear if his absence has a link with the advice by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe to him to directly not involve himself in the prosecution of the case.

Justice Asare-Botwe, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court judge adjourned the case to Thursday, June 13 for ruling.

Dr Ato Forson, the current minority leader in parliament, and businessman Richard Jakpa have been accused of willfully causing financial loss to the republic to the tune of 2.37 million euros through the purchase of ambulances.

They have pleaded not guilty and are standing trial.

The prosecution had closed their case after calling four witnesses including Kweku Agyeman Manu, former Health Minister after which the Court held that, prima facie evidence was established by the prosecution.

Ato Forson has also closed his defense after calling witnesses including former minister of finance, Seth Terkper, and former GNPC boss Alex Mould.

Richard Jakpa, the third accused is currently in the Witness Box facing cross-examination but the case took a dramatic turn when he (Jakpa) accused the Attorney General of engaging him at odd hours to implicate the minority leader.

Dr Sylvester Anemana, former Chief Director of the Ministry of Health who was the second accused has since been discharged on health grounds after the AG filed a nolle Prosequi.

Source: Ghana/ Inusah