Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ghana: 500 Pardons. Amnesty!

On his last day in office as President of Ghana, John Kufuor released Tsatsu Tsikata, former boss of the Ghana National Petroleum Council, from prison, where he was serving a five-year jail-term after being convicted of causing financial loss to the state. Tsikata did not enter prison until June 18, 2008, but a Deputy Minister for Information says “all over the world, Presidents on their last day in office do such things."

A release from the Ministry of Information and National Orientation also announced that President pardoned 500 prisoners including: Akenten Appiah-Menkah (an industrialist), Mallam Yusif Isa (former Minister of Youth and Sports), Kwame Pepra (former Minister of Finance), Dan Abodakpi (former deputy Minister of Trade and Industry), Ibrahim Adam (former Minister for Food and Agriculture) and George Sipa-Yankey (Director at the Ministry of Finance).

In addition, the President granted amnesty to 1) all nursing mothers guilty of non-bailable offences 2) all first-time offenders who have served more than half of their term 3) all first-time offenders above the age of 70 years 4) all those serving at the ‘President’s Pleasure’ and have done more than 15 years of their time 5) all prisoners on death - sentences commuted to life imprisonment 6) all seriously ill prisoners not sentenced to death or life imprisonment. Offenders in these categories who were jailed for murder, armed robbery, rape, defilement, narcotics, threat of death, carrying offensive weapons, manslaughter, and escaping from lawful custody are exempt from the amnesty. See story here.

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