Human rights advocate sues police, 1 other for malicious prosecution, demands ¢20m for damages

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    The 2020 parliamentary candidate for the Efutu constituency has sued one Benjamin Ackah and the Ghana Police Service for alleged malicious prosecution and is demanding ¢20 million in damages.

    The human rights advocate was, on June 29, 2021, acquitted and discharged of stealing, abetment of crime and dishonestly receiving by a Winneba District Court.

    This was after 17 months of arrest and trial. 

    Mr Annan in the run-up to the 2020 presidential and parliamentary election was accused by one Benjamin Ackah of transferring an amount of GHc100,000 from his bank account into a bank account belonging to him without his permission.

    The Winneba Police Command headed by Chief Superintendent Samuel Asiedu Okanta indicated that “after several investigations, we found out that the Bank Account belonged to the NDC parliamentary candidate James Kofi Annan,”

    Subsequently, Mr Annan was put before the Winneba District Court to answer charges of stealing, abetment of crime and dishonestly receiving.

    After a full trial, the court found that the prosecution had failed to make a case to sufficiently back its claim/charges. It, therefore, found no need for the lawyers of Mr Annan to open their defence.

    The court presided over by his worship, Isaac Oheneba-Kuffour, said, “the evidence led in the case on the charges of abetment of stealing and dishonestly receiving, leaves much to be desired.”

    It further noted that “the evidence presented by the prosecution could not in any way link the 2nd accused person (James Kofi Annan) to the personality who allegedly stole the cheques and sent someone else to pay them into the 2nd accused person’s Account.”

    In a writ filed by the former Parliamentary candidate, he argues that the evidence on record shows that the defendants “maliciously” instigated his prosecution at the District Court in Winneba.

    He further notes that “the defendants’ malicious prosecution was actuated among other things, by the fact that the plaintiff was contesting the parliamentary seat of the Effutu constituency and they were bent on making him unpopular and to give the opponents of plaintiff undeserved advantage”.

    Specifically, on the part of the police, Mr Annan contends that “if the 2nd defendant had been mindful in conducting proper investigations, the 2nd defendant would have come across certain crucial facts which would have given a signal that the 1st defendant’s allegations were unfounded, unsubstantiated and not justifiable under the criminal jurisprudence of the Republic.”

    According to him, the “malicious” prosecution by the defendant has caused the plaintiff severe damages to his political career and his numerous enterprises and global image.

    He is therefore praying the court to declare that the criminal proceedings instigated by the police and Benjamin Ackah were actuated by malice and asking that a cost of GH¢20 million be awarded for General Damages, as well as the cost of his legal fees.

    James Kofi Annan, who is also president of the Human rights NGO Challenging Heights, explained in a Facebook post that this action was necessary to clear his name and demand full recompense for the injustice he has suffered.

    He also wrote that “if I succeed in this suit, I will put the money into an endowment fund, to support innocent individuals who are wrongfully arrested or convicted or those who become victims of abuse of power. So help me God.”