State tenders all 68 WhatsApp messages from Jakpa to Dame; defence lawyers object

During cross-examination in the ongoing Ato Forson trial, the state presented 68 WhatsApp messages sent by Richard Jakpa, the third accused, to Attorney-General Godfred Dame, along with the AG’s two responses.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, emphasized the discrepancy between the numerous messages from Jakpa and the sparse replies from the AG. The DPP aimed to submit all the WhatsApp messages as evidence.

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Jakpa admitted introducing himself to the AG before the trial and mentioned that he got the Justice Minister’s number from his cousin, Supreme Court Judge Justice Yonny Kulendi.

Under cross-examination, Jakpa conceded that the messages he presented were not the complete conversation but only those he found pertinent to his case. He claimed the remaining messages, totaling 68 as per the AG, included motivational and irrelevant content.

Objections Raised by Defence

The DPP’s attempt to submit the WhatsApp conversation was interrupted by objections from Mr Sory, the counsel for Mr Jakpa, who argued that the defence needed more time to study the messages.

Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe then asked Dr. Bamba, counsel for the first accused, if he had any objections.

Dr Bamba objected to the submission because the printout was not in colour, which surprised the judge since the printout provided by Mr Jakpa was also not in colour.

Court Grants Time for Review

After hearing the objections, the court requested the DPP to withhold the tendering of the messages until the defence had adequate time to review them, scheduling this for Thursday.

Jakpa’s Call to AG

The DPP resumed cross-examination, focusing on the assistance provided by the AG to Mr. Jakpa.

It was suggested that the A-G’s first assistance was facilitated by Yonny Kulendi, who helped Mr Jakpa secure his release after meeting bail conditions. Mr Jakpa confirmed he called the AG to thank him for this help.

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Credibility Under Question

The DPP questioned Mr Jakpa’s credibility, citing his dismissal from the Armed Forces and his repeated failures to pass promotional exams.

Mr Jakpa defended his record by presenting evidence of his academic achievements and claimed his exam failures were due to victimization by superiors.

Next Steps

The trial will resume on June 20, 2024, with both the State and Mr. Cassiel Ato Forson presenting further disclosures.

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