Mac Manu discredits Afoko’s affidavit

petermacA witness in the ongoing case between Paul Afoko and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) yesterday discredited a document filed in court as exhibit by the beleaguered chairman to contest his suspension by the party.

The exhibit, tendered by Mr. Afoko, was in respect of minutes of a joint NPP National Council (NC) and National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held in July 2014, claiming that that document had been recorded and signed by one Edward Tettey. But the witness, Peter Mac Manu, a former chairman of the party, who gave testimony, said that the document could not be valid.

Mr. Afoko has sued the NPP and its Acting National Chairman, Freddie Blay, who is also the First National Vice Chairman, after he was suspended indefinitely in October last year by the party.

The party’s Disciplinary Committee (DC) had recommended Afoko’s suspension from the NPP after a petition by two members of the party, but he wants the court to order his reinstatement as the National Chairman because he argues that the party’s action was unconstitutional.

Mr. Afoko, among other things, is contesting the issue of whether Gifty Eugenia Kusi, MP for Tarkwa Nsuaem, was validly appointed to the National Disciplinary Committee, which recommended his suspension to NEC.

A similar writ filed by the suspended 2nd Vice Chairman, Sammy Crabbe, was thrown out by another court recently for lacking merit.

At the cross-examination of Mr. Mac Manu by Osafo Buaben, counsel for Mr. Afoko, the witness, said that the said Tettey, who had signed the document Mr. Afoko is relying on as exhibit, did not qualify to do so since he is not a member of the NC; and insisted rather that it was the then General Secretary, Kwabena Agyei Agyepong – also on suspension – who should have endorsed the minutes as head of the secretariat under the NPP constitution.

“I have been Chairman of the NPP for five years and there was no time that myself and my General Secretary did not have our signatures on NC and NEC engagements. Where meetings were covered by minutes, there were our signatures,” he told the packed Human Rights Court, presided over by Justice Anthony Yeboah.

According to Mr. Mac Manu, the content of the minutes and the attachments presented by Mr. Afoko as exhibit could not be “a true reflection of what transpired,” adding, “I recall that Kwabena Agyepong (now suspended) as the head of the secretariat, was present but I do not see his name and signature on the minutes.”

He said the minutes did not capture other contributions made by some members, including the unanimous decision to make him Chairman of the Organizational Committee of the party as proposed by Hackman Owusu Agyemang.

Counsel vs Witness

Counsel (Osafo Buabeng): I put it to you that the present NPP constitution which you amended does not contain any provision that the General Secretary must sign minutes to give it validity.

Witness (Peter Mac Manu): Counsel should not underestimate the functions and roles of the NC. It is the second highest authority of the party after congress and that the General Secretary as in Article 9 (F) (i) is head of the national secretariat. We have to take the functions of the council seriously and I will not delegate to a lower level officer who is not a member of the council to sign the minutes.

Counsel: Edward Tettey indicated in Exhibit A that it was recorded by him.
Witness: I am saying that the signature of the General Secretary, even if recorded by a third party, is required and for me it makes it invalid.

No Objection

When counsel queried Mr. Mac Manu on why he did not raise any objection to a third party signing the minutes, he told the court that “I have not seen the exhibit anywhere except today so I could not have raised objection to something I haven’t seen.”

He disagreed with Mr. Afoko’s counsel that the appointment of W.O. Boafo (MP) to the Disciplinary Committee was approved by NC which he (Mr. Mac Manu) said he had been a member for the past 18 years.

He said that the composition of the National Disciplinary Committee of the party is totally different from all other standing committees of the NC as set out in Article 4 (1) (1), and added that all other standing committees have their appointments, functions and jurisdiction rooted in Article 9 (B) (iv) (a)(b)(c)(d)and (e) of the NPP constitution.

Member vs Officer

He said Mr. Afoko has been suspended by the NPP as an officer of the party but he is still a member of the party.

He admitted that NEC, in considering the recommendations of the Disciplinary Committee, is empowered to suspend whoever is involved as a member only and added that “but equally, there are other clauses in the constitution which empower the Disciplinary Committee to investigate national officers and make their recommendations to the NEC.”

After about two hours of grueling cross-examination by Mr. Afoko’s counsel, the NPP counsel, Godfred Yeboah Dame, said the defendants were concluding their case.

As a result, the court asked the parties to file their written addresses by July 25 and come back to the court the following day to get a date for judgment.

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