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Witch-hunt claims must stop, it undermines judiciary – Casely-Hayford

Anti-corruption campaigner, Sydney Casely-Hayford, has condemned the constant claims of witch-hunting anytime people are prosecuted by governments for alleged offences, saying such comments undermine the country’s judiciary, and wanes public confidence in the justice system.

The National Organizer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), together with the Ashanti Regional branch of the party, have both alleged that the government is witch-hunting former COCOBOD boss, Dr. Stephen Opuni, following the AG’s lawsuit against him.

Other members of the NDC have repeated these suggestions.
Speaking on Citi FM’s The Big Issue, Casely-Hayford said the frequent claims of witch-hunting by spokespersons of both the NDC and NPP anytime one of their members is prosecuted for wrongdoing does not augur well for the country’s democracy.

“Abuga Pele was not charged the NPP government. It was done by the NDC government and he has been found to be guilty… It transcended the change of government and that time when he was done, the same thing again, witch-hunting. In the case of Montie 3, [they said] witch-hunting. Every time there has been anybody who is identified for a wrongdoing, NDC has come out to say it is witch-hunting. The NPP too does the same. It is becoming a politician’s and a political thing and it is time to stop all that,” he said on The Big Issue on Saturday.

‘Opuni is a victim of witch-hunting’

The Ashanti Regional chapter of the NDC, following the Attorney General’s filing of a lawsuit against Dr. Opuni last week for allegedly causing financial loss to the statd, claimed that the state was witch-hunting the former COCOBOD boss.

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In a statement on the matter, it said it was appalled by the “[government’s] exceptional determination to destroy the reputation of a man who has labored to transform the cocoa sector in Ghana.”

The National Organizer of the NDC, Kofi Adams has described the prosecution of the former COCOBOD boss as injustice.

He said the government is only making frantic efforts to cause public disaffection towards the previous NDC administration by smearing former state officials with allegations of corruption and initiating legal action against them for same, although its own officials have been cited for various acts of corruption.

But according to Sydney Casely-Hayford, who is also a member of OccupyGhana, such statements are unhealthy, as they indirectly suggest that the country’s judiciary is weak.

“We have to stop undermining the judicial services, stop undermining the law and stop putting into the heads of the people of this country that there is an attempt to try and castigate a certain group of persons in our society. Let the rule of law prevail. It is not a witch-hunt. To continue to do this means that we undermine and don’t have any confidence in the judicial system and this is wrong,” he said.

‘Dr. Opuni charged’

The Attorney General last week filed some 27 counts including a charge of causing financial loss to the state against Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni.

He is being sued together with one Seidu Agongo, CEO of Zeera Group of Companies and Agricult Ghana Limited, beneficiaries of a supposed fraudulent fertilizer contract worth over GH¢43 million.

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The first court hearing has been scheduled for March 23, 2018.

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