In what is clearly viewed as an attempt to escape justice for his criminal contempt case, loudmouthed member of the governing New Patriotic Party and Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong failed to turn up in court today, claiming he had COVID-19 complications.
When his lawyer turned up in court today, September 28, 2020, he claimed the foul-mouthed lawmaker had “suffered from complication from the post-COVID-19 condition that he suffered last month.”
The lawyers also told the court that arrangements have been made for the Member of Parliament to seek medical support.
This curious excuse is despite the fact that the MP had reportedly recovered fully from COVID-19 and had been seen heartily granting interviews a few days before he was summoned to appear before the court for launching a scathing attack on a trial judge sitting on an ongoing case involving him [Ken Agyapong].
The lawyers produced a report of the MP’s physicians in what will perhaps be the first case of COVID-19 complication in Ghana after a patient had fully recovered.
Consequently, the lawyers prayed for an adjournment to “allow the defendant get a clean bill of health”.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Amos, Wuntah Wuni acknowledged the report and the medical excuse duty form “requesting for an adjournment covering 14 days from September 26, 2020, to October 10, 2020.
The Judge in granting the request for adjournment “ordered that the medical officer Dr. Ken Addo of Holy Trinity Medical Center/SPA and health farm appears before this Honourable Court on Thursday the 1st of October 2020 to speak to the medical excuse duty form.”
However, critics have taken the excuse with a pinch of salt and are alleging that the MP is systematically trying to dodge a potential jail term for launching serious prejudicial attacks on a trial judge sitting on his case.
Already, investigative journalists, Kevin Ekow Taylor has alleged that President Akufo Addo himself has been in discussion with the Chief Justice Anim Yeboah to ensure that the stalwart of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) is not jailed for his blatant attacks on the judiciary.
Ken Agyapong has been in court over a land dispute. However, with the case still ongoing, he went on his Net 2 TV a few weeks ago and started raining strong expletives at the trial judge.
“You are a stupid judge. I will face you,” Ken Agyapong said on the programme.
That outburst saw him dragged to court for a serious case of criminal contempt that could easily earn him some substantial days in jail. Last week, when he appeared before the court, Mr Agyapong pleaded not guilty.
Law experts and critics have warned that if Mr. Agyapong is left off the hook, it will set a pretty bad precedence for judicial credibility in Ghana.
Critics pointed out a similar case in 2016 involving politically exposed persons loyal to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who were jailed for criminal contempt in an almost less serious manner as Ken Agyapong’s outbursts.
Radio presenter, Salifu Maase and two of his studio guests on Muntie FM: Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn were found guilty of contempt for making threats against chief justice Georgina Theodora Wood over debates about the 2016 general elections.
The three were sentenced to four months in jail and fined $2,500 each for “scandalising the court, defying and lowering the authority of the court and bringing it into disrepute.”