Ghana: State Ordered to File Formal Application

The Court of Appeal, on Tuesday, ordered the state to file a formal application confirming a presidential pardon offered to Adamu Dramani Sakande, former Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, who is serving a two-year jail term.

The court noted that it could not strike out the appeal without an application stating that Sakande had been pardoned. The order came after the state, led by Mr. Rexford Anthony Wiredu, a Principal State Attorney, had prayed the court to strike out the appeal put in by the former MP.

Mr. Wiredu said he was informed by the prison authorities that Sakande had been granted a presidential pardon, and as a result of that, he had been released.

According to him, the Presidency had earlier on indicated that it would inform the office of the Attorney General about the pardon before it was extended to him.

He said it had not received any letter to that effect, noting that the former MP's lawyer, Mr. Yonni Kulendi, had withdrawn his services in the matter.

President John Dramani Mahama invoked his Prerogative of Mercy, as enshrined in Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution, to grant him a free, absolute and unconditional pardon.

Sakande's pardon was necessitated by his deteriorating health, and also the urgent need for national reconciliation.

An Accra Fast Track High Court, a few months ago, sentenced Sakande, who until his incarceration was the MP for Bawku Central, to two years imprisonment, after being found guilty of perjury, false declaration of office for voting, and deceiving a public officer.

The former MP was on July 31, 2009, arraigned and charged with nine counts relating to his nationality, perjury, forgery of passport, election fraud and deceiving public officers to be elected as an MP.

He was, however, exonerated on six of those charges on July 8, 2010. He later filed a defense of no case when he was asked to open his defense, but that was overturned.

The court noted that the accused person was a Burkinabe citizen, because he was issued with a travel document from the neighboring country, which stated that he was born in Ouagadougou.

It noted that even though Sakande said he was Ghanaian-born and raised in Bawku, he did not call any of his relatives to testify on his behalf, and added that his own evidence that his sister was always in court with him was not enough. - GNA

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