Monday, September 29, 2008

GBA MEETS IN KUMASI...Amidst threat to its president (PAGE 55)

THE Ghana Bar Association (GBA) holds its annual national conference in Kumasi tomorrow, amidst rising tension following a text message received by the president of the association, Nii Osah Mills, advising him to stay away because of a statement he made condemning the incarceration of Mr Tsastu Tsikata by the Accra Fast Track High Court.
However, the Ashanti Regional President of the association, Mr Osei Poku, has assuaged any fears, saying “I have assured our president that he is safe in Kumasi and that there will never be anything like physical attack on his person, especially when the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, would be in attendance”.
“But as to the comments he made, some members are not happy and they may express their feelings at the congress,” Mr Osei Poku, who is also a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the GBA, told the Daily Graphic yesterday.
Mr Osei Poku confirmed that the national president indeed received the text message, which read, “Note that you are not welcome in Kumasi. Stay out of the congress. Tender your resignation. You are a complete disaster. Withdraw your nomination”.
Nii Osah Mills, who is seeking a second term in office, was the only candidate to file his nomination for the presidency of the association.
When the Daily Graphic called him on phone at about 11.30 a.m. yesterday, he said he was on his way to Kumasi and that he could not make any statement concerning the issue.
Explaining the genesis of the matter, Mr Osei Poku said, their president called a national executive meeting at which he read out a statement from the Free Tsastu Movement, a group campaigning for the release of the former Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) boss, to the association inviting them to issue a statement on Mr Tsikata’s imprisonment.
The Ashanti GBA president said the general consensus was that a statement in whatever form was not necessary because the matter was still in court.
Mr Osei Poku stated that what was agreed at the meeting was that the association would visit Mr Tsikata in prison and also propose to put a lawyer at his disposal, if he wanted.
This was because the state in which Mr Tsikata found himself was not good for him to continue to represent himself in court.
“We were therefore surprised that our national president opened his mouth very wide on the issue by saying that the association was not happy about the ruling given by the High Court, which put Tsikata in jail”.
“Mr Tsikata is our learned colleague and we sympathise with his situation but as to whether the process that put him in jail was good or bad that is left with the law to decide,” he said.
Mr Osei Poku said the laws of Ghana had made available processes to challenge court decisions and it would be out of place for the GBA, which was expected to know better, to condemn a decision of the court in public.

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