This is the result of politics….Says Adamu Sakande as he embarks on 2-yr jail sentence
By Ivy Benson
Friday July 27, 2012 would remain the darkest day in the life of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Adamu Daramani Sakande. It was a day he began a two-year jail sentence handed down on him by an Accra Fast Track Court (FTC) for lying under oath to enable him get elected into the law-making body of the country.
As he was stepping out of the magnificent structure housing the court with armed police escort to embark on his journey to the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons, Mr. Daramani Sakande, who was all dressed in black, exclaimed, “this is the result of politics”, when family members and close associates gathered around him to encourage and empathise with him.
Daramani Sakande, who is a Security Management Expert, was found guilty on all three counts of false declaration by voting, perjury and deceit of public officer, and the court, presided over by Justice Charles Quist, sentenced him to two years imprisonment on each count to run con-currently.
The decision of the court to hand down a reduced jail term on the convict in spite of the fact that the charge of perjury is a second degree felony that attracts not more than 10 years imprisonment, when found guilty of the offence, follows the plea of the defense counsel, Mr. Yoni Kulendi, for the court to be lenient with his client in view of his cardiac condition.
The court, therefore, rejected the assertion that the convicted MP for Bawku Central was a Ghanaian, indicating that the prosecution had proven its case against the MP, who could not defend himself appropriately, when the onus shifted on him to do so.
The MP, who holds a British passport, the court indicated, did not provide any evidence to show that he had renounced his British citizenship, in line with the Ghanaian law, before seeking election.
It, therefore, barred the convicted MP from presenting himself as a Ghanaian, as he had sufficiently showed that he was a foreigner, as he sought permission to enter Ghana by using his British travelling document that indicates he is a Burkinabe.
Expatiating on its judgment, the court noted that it had been established that the Bawku Central MP was a Burkinabe, having been born in Burkina Faso, as his refugee pass issued in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1992 indicates, and this, the MP had confirmed in his evidence before the court.
It was, therefore, the considered view of the court that Adamu Daramani Sakande validly obtained the British refugee pass, since there was no challenge against the document, adding that the prosecution had led uncontested evidence that the MP was a Burkinabe and born in Ouagadougou, and therefore, could not claim to be a Ghanaian.
The court, on the other hand, indicated that Mr. Daramani Sakande did not lead any evidence to show that either his parents or grandparents were Ghanaian, which would automatically grant him Ghanaian nationality, as the law states.
It is also in evidence that the convicted MP provided his details to immigration at the airport while travelling to the UK, as part of his travel history that he is a Burkinabe and was born in Ouagadougou, however, the court identified conflicting evidence portrayed by documents of the convicted MP.
It was noted that Adamu Daramani Sakande indicated in his British refugee pass that he was born in Ouagadougou, but stated in his Ghanaian passport that he was born in Bawku in the Upper East Region. Additionally, the court pointed out that the convicted MP did not produce a statutory declaration that he had changed his name from Andrew Daramani Sakande to Adamu Daramani Sakande.
The court also held that by virtue of the MP holding a British passport, which is due to expire in 2014, the convict, contrary to the laws of the country, signed a statutory declaration on October 11, 2008 that he was a Ghanaian and eligible to be elected to Parliament, while at the time he was making the declaration, he held allegiance to the British Queen.
“Any person, who holds allegiance to another country other than Ghana is disqualified from being a Member of Parliament,” the court noted, as per the laws governing nationality and the eligibility of entering into the Ghanaian Parliament.
On the charge of perjury, the court noted that the MP executed and signed a statutory declaration before the Bawku District Magistrate, Mr. Ishmael Hamza, as the law requires, among others, that he is a Ghanaian, resident in Bawku, a registered voter, and do not hold allegiance to any country other than Ghana.
According to the court, at the material time the MP was making the statutory declaration, he still enjoyed the protection his British passport gives him until its expiration date of November 18, 2014, contrary to his oath that he does not hold allegiance to any other country other than Ghana.
“The statement made by the accused person that he is a Ghanaian is false,” the court stressed, noting that the MP knew that his British passport would expire in 2014, as he did not lead evidence that he had renounced his British citizenship.
The court further pointed out that a document produced by the MP renouncing his British citizenship, had no authentication, and could therefore, not be seen to be true, more so, when the British High Commission, in a document before the court, had indicated that the holder of the British passport, bearing the MP’s name, was still a British citizen.
The court, therefore, rejected the admissibility of the document presented by the MP, renouncing his British citizenship, on the grounds that it did not pass through the appropriate British authority in the UK, as well as features on the document identified as not being genuine, and that the document was a fake document.
The court was further of the view that once the MP had obtained a statutory declaration duly signed by him and a District Magistrate in Bawku, that he does not hold any allegiance to any country other than Ghana, to enable him seek election into Parliament, while he knew to be false, he had committed the offense of false declaration in order to stand for election.
“The accused person made a false declaration to enable him stand elections, and to be elected as a Member of Parliament,” the court noted.
On the charge of Deceit of Public Officer, the court held that by virtue of making his statutory declaration before a District Magistrate, who by law is a public officer and mandated under the laws of the country to undertake such exercises, while he knew that he had an unexpired British passport, the MP had committed the offence.
The court, therefore, indicated that Adamu Daramani Sakande had a clear intention to deceive a public officer.
Additionally, the court held that the convicted MP violated the United Nations (UN) convention under which he took protection as a refugee, as he went ahead and acquired British and Ghanaian passports, which were fraudulently obtained.
The British refugee pass obtained by the MP in 1992, the court noted, was fictitiously obtained, since during that period there was no political crisis either in Ghana or Burkina Faso.
Meanwhile, the court, taking into consideration the evidence of a-UK-based Immigration lawyer, who testified for the convicted MP, recommended that Mr. Stanley Opoku of Stanley Jones & Associate, a law firm in the UK, be charged with abetment of forgery, perjury, unlawfully practicing as a lawyer, and altering of forged document.
Stanley Opoku, who in his evidence before the court indicated that he had not been called to the English Bar, advised and assured the convicted MP that once he completed the details on a document that he had provided the MP, together with his signature, he had automatically renounced his British citizenship.
The court saw Stanley Opoku as not being truthful person.
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