Lawyer Kofi Bekai, a private legal practitioner, has warned that Mr. Alex Blankson, NPP MP for Adanse Akrofrom, might face a 10-year prison sentence if it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that he forged documents as part of his qualification to enter parliament.
He stated that, while the Republic’s Constitution does not need one to be educationally competent to be elected to the office of MP, forgery is a crime, and when it is established, it indicates that the individual lied.
According to the lawyer, these are serious claims, and the investigations will extend to third parties and involve determining who supplied the phoney certificate.
He explained that MPs should be honest, and that recent allegations and revelations that Alex Blankson presented a forged University of Cape Coast (UCC) certificate to his party and then included the same falsified certificate on his Curriculum Vitae undermine the principles of transparency, honesty, and trustworthiness if proven true.
He stated that they are essential for public leaders tasked with representing the people’s interests.
Lawyer Bekai, speaking on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm’s Nyankonton Mu Nsem, said perjury and forgery are serious offences, and if these claims are genuine, the MP would have to be handed over to the police for prosecution.
He stated that these are misdemeanours and second-degree felonies, and that anyone convicted of them faces up to ten years in prison.
“First and foremost, if it is established that these are true, it means you lied, and you will be handed over to the Police.” The Criminal Offences Act (Act 29) makes perjury and forgery criminal offences. There are misdemeanours and a second-degree felony. Such offences may result in up to ten years in prison. They entail a severe punishment, and if you are proven guilty, you will be imprisoned. It must go through the procedures; the Speaker can handle it, or the MP may be arrested.”
He said this could serve as grounds for removal since anyone who allegedly engages in such criminal activity is not fit to be elected as an MP.
“This serves as grounds for removal from office as MP. You do not deserve to be elected as an MP. You are not fit and proper to be a parliamentarian if you forged a document. If someone could be arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for forging documents to get a job, then the MP ought to suffer the same fate if it is true. Parliament ought to trigger the processes, debate it, and deal with the matter.”
He was responding to a petition filed by one Bright Botchway, a youth activist, feminist advocate, and citizen of Ghana.
The petitioner says the MP has allegedly “violated the Ghanaian Criminal Offences: a) Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29): Alex Blankson’s alleged actions of presenting a forged certificate, engaging in fraud, and making false representations could be deemed criminal offences under this act, specifically relating to forgery, fraud, and false representation.
b) Public Officers Act, 1962 (Act 109): This act addresses offences related to the conduct of public officials and the abuse of public office. If Hon. Alex Blankson is found guilty of presenting false credentials and misleading his constituents and the public, he may contravene this act.”
Meanwhile, the lawyer says if it also turns out that the issues and concerns raised by the petitioner are false, the MP could sue for defamation and damages.