It has been eight years down the lane when the abolition of the Indemnity Clause became hot issue for discussion on the airwaves and featured in most of the daily newspapers and also became a critical concern at the 2011 Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) chaired by the Professor Emeritus Albert Kodzo Fiadjoe which generated heated views right from the technocrat, lawmakers, politicians, as well as the ordinary Ghanaians on the street of Accra and beyond.
The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) instituted by the late President of the Republic, His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills in January, 2011, was set up by a Constitutional Instrument 2010 (C.I.) 64 as a Commission of Inquiry to conduct a consultative review of the Constitution.
The two (2) year Mandate of the Commission had a three point element, namely; to ascertain from the people of Ghana their views on the operation of the 1992 Constitution and help identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Constitution, articulate the concerns of the people of Ghana as regards the amendments that may be required for a comprehensive review of the 1992 Constitution and make recommendations to the Government for consideration and provide a draft Bill for possible amendments to the 1992 Constitution.
The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) at that time during a media briefing on a survey it had conducted in June, 2011 revealed that, about 65 percent of households and 79 percent of elite and experts respondents favoured the abolishing of the indemnity clause.
The report of the survey however cautioned that, any amendments to the transitional provisions in the 1992 Constitution granting indemnity to past military regimes would require delicate handling because there are strong variations among respondents according to their region and who they said voted for in Election 2008.
However, the 2016 Presidential Candidate for the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Dr. Henry Herbert Lartey believes the time has come for Indemnity Clause to be abolished to enable the investigation of former Presidents in relation to their actions during his tenure in power.
This call came when he tasked President Akufo-Addo to allow the Special Prosecutor to investigate former President Jerry John Rawlings and his tenure President and head of state of the Republic from the coup days of Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) through Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) to present National Democratic Congress (NDC).
For him, the Indemnity Clause has over stayed in our constitution that, “it is time we as a nation take a second look at it to pave way for investigation of former Head of States especially Former President Jerry John Rawlings.”
Touching on moral rights, he said the former President lacks the moral right to attack people over corruption which he recently became his victim in a recent video where he Rawlings attacked his integrity.
Interacting with the media at the party’s Headquarters in Accra, he reiterated that, there is the need for the Special Prosecutor to question Mr. Rawlings whether he has 15 percent share in the Ghana Rubber Estates.
Quizzing “the former president claims to hate corruption, claims to be someone who is a strong advocate for probity and accountability but have some dark spots that needs to be investigated”.
Stressing, “He should answer the questions I have asked him about the Abacha cash adding ‘’How did his wife buy the Nsawam Cannery?
Alleging that, “I am told they have 15 per cent shares in Ghana Rubber Estates, is that true? How come the Black Star Shipping Line was sold? Revealing he petitioned CHRAJ for the former President to come and respond but he the former President did not respond his petition.
He is therefore appealing to the sitting President, His Excellency Nana-Addo to use the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate Mr. Rawlings.
“He should be probed to answer these questions and I believe the Special Prosecutor will not spare anybody. I will entreat him to go to the top and start with Rawlings,” he stated.
Noting that, the Special Prosecutor should follow the example of Brazil where its former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been jailed after being found guilty by a competent court.
Dr. Lartey further asked that the Special Prosecutor to question Mr. Rawlings over what happened to the remaining £30 million loan from the initial £31.5 million that was issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland to International Generics (for which Mrs. Rawlings was the primary benefactor through a ‘front man’ named Leon Tamman) under the British Export Guarantee Facility for the construction of La Palm Hotel and Coco Palm Hotel?
Dr. Lartey strongly believes Mr. Rawlings should be questioned if it was true that the he (MR. Rawlings) was transporting gold to Switzerland on a regular basis as well as wants to know if former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings’ company, Carridem Development Company (CDC), a limited liability company, bought Nsawam Food Cannery for 2.9 billion cedis during her husband reign as the Head of State of the Republic.
But Mrs. Rawlings in 2006 told an Accra High Court that, CDC paid the money to the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) in instalments where the last installment was paid in 2000.
Meanwhile, Dr. Henry Herbert Lartey recently dragged Mr. Rawlings to Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) following the latter’s admission that he indeed received a 2 million dollar gift from former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha in 1998.
Section 34 of the transitional provisions of the 1992 Constitution indemnifies all coup makers and their functionaries against any liability for acts and omissions committed during their administration which the former President Jerry John Rawlings is a beneficiary of this clause.
Source: Ishmael Barfi/wisetvonline.com.