The General Secretary of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia has said they would arrest Ghana’s former Deputy Energy Minister, K.T. Hammond for the role he played in the sale of Ghana’s drill ship.
K.T. Hammond, under whose watch the ship which belonged to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was sold, was to be investigated by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) per government’s directive after a Judgment Debt Commission’s report.
[contextly_sidebar id=”KtSO6ikyMuYcX5Ct0Fhtgg9UErQ0zSl4″]Mr. Hammond was to explain to EOCO, how he disbursed an amount of US$900,000 which was left after the sale of the drill ship.
But K.T. Hammond who is the current Member of Parliament for the Adansi Asokwa constituency subsequently went to court to seek an order to quash the findings of the Commission against him.
However, speaking at the launch of a nationwide outreach programme for the NDC at Fumso in the Ashanti Region, Asiedu Nketia stated that his party is hopeful of unseating K.T. Hammond adding that, that would pave the way for the government to pursue him over the sale of the drill ship.
“We now know K.T. Hammond’s smoothness level. So he is about to go on retirement, there is no doubt about that. When he’s on retirement, before he would have his peace of mind to enjoy his retirement, we will invite him to come and show us where the drill ship is.”
“So he thinks being in Parliament is a protection for him because he thinks he has privileges as a parliamentarian…so if he is dragged to court over the drill ship saga, people would say we have arrested an MP. This year, he would exit Parliament and after that we would arrest him and question him about the whereabouts of the drill ship,” he added.
A case of bias
Mr. K.T Hammond in his writ at the court said he finds it surprising that the purported Judgment Debt report fell short of indicting Tsatsu Tsikata, who was the Chief Executive Officer of the GNPC “under whose watch all these matters had arisen.”
He further observed that Justice Apau [who was then an Appeals Court Judge] recused himself from a case involving Tsatsu Tsikata hence “having expressed such bias, the learned judge was legally disabled, as a sole Commissioner, to sit on the matter of the drillship which involved his ‘more than brother’ Mr. Tsikata.”
Mr. Apau was quoted by the Enquirer Newspaper in its November 30, 2008 edition as saying “I don’t have the moral courage [to hear the case]. It would be like sitting in judgement over my own brother,’ he said; adding that would be difficult thing for him to do and therefore he was declining to sit on the panel for someone else to replace him.’”
Violation of natural justice
K.T Hammond further argued that “by sitting in judgment in the matter of the drillship, the Commissioner violated the sacrosanct principle of natural justice.”
Mr. Hammond again argued that such instances render the commission’s work “void and nullity because the Commission was deprived of jurisdiction.”
He is thus seeking “an order of certiorari to quash the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into payments from public funds arising from judgment debt and related processes established pursuant to C.I 79, which had Mr. Justice Apaw, then sitting a Justice of the Court of Appeal, as the Sole Commissioner sitting as an inferior tribunal.”
By: Godwin A. Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana