Monday, February 4, 2008

Nimba University Students, SG Gongloe Debate Koukou’s Release

…Koukou, Nimba Law Makers Gratifies With Pardon
By Bill K. Jarkloh
Although the Union of Nimba University Student Association (UNUSA) has issued a strong-worded statement demanding apology from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to Nimbaians for what they referred to as “humiliation” of their statesman in the absence of concrete evidence to support allegations brought against Mr. Koukou, Solicitor General Tiawon Gongloe refuted the demand, saying those who think that Koukou would go free if prosecuted are mistaken
Mr. Koukou himself and the Nimba Legislative Caucus instead, expressed gratitude to President Sirleaf for the gesture of pardon that released him from further detention.
Notwithstanding, the Nimba University Student Association maintains in their statement, “We therefore called on the President to publicly apologize to the people of Nimba, the family of Hon. George Koukou and Hon. George [himself] for the manner in which he was dehumanized for the alleged crime of treason.”
The student considered the position by the president to pardon former Speaker Koukou as “lack of Sincerity on the part of the government in engendering the judicial process as a cornerstone for development.”
Signed by the Association’s Secretary General Allen Paye and President Paye M. Toekpei, the UNUSA however welcomed the release of Mr. Koukou but added that it would have appreciated a free, speedy, exhaustive and expeditious pursuit of the legal process.
“Our organization remains cognizant of the rule of law and as such, condemns violence in whatever form,” the Nimba University Student Association indicated, saying, however that the government’s inability to exhaust the judicial process as against this latest action raised shadow of dark cloud as to the availability of circumstantial and substantial evidence in the prosecution of the former Speaker.
According to them, if reconciliation is truly the foundation for the Koukou’s freedom from further incarceration, then the government is challenged to become pragmatic regarding the entire process. Although they group of students didn’t not say the pragmatism referred to, one can reasonably be think that they may be calling for pardon for the rest of the others who were also charged with treason along with Mr. Koukou.
It expressed dismay that the government hasn’t been sincere in their thought, in engendering the judicial process as a cornerstone for development, and added, “Our development could become a charade if government fails to demonstrate the political will championing the judicial process and reconciliation.”
Invariably, the group is saying that the government’s granting of the freedom of Mr. Koukou is an out come of lack of evidence to prosecute the case.
But Solicitor General Tiawon Gongloe, who spoke on this same matter at the Temple of Justice says the government has overwhelming evidence to win prosecute and win the treason charges against former Speaker Koukou.
Cllr. Gongloe told the FrontPageAfrica’s Bill Jarkloh that those who think that Koukou would go free if prosecuted are mistaken. “Don’t they know that we have in our possession Email messages; when we tested them, the key to open the box as provided by the accused was Koukou’s own password. So who did he give the password key to plant these messages in his box?” Cllr. Gongloe reasoned.
He said, the President, as the head of government, has the option to pursue the case or not, saying that the President’s stance to pardon Mr. Koukou is a result of calls on her by relatives, friends, and well wishers of Koukou for the pardoning of the accused.
“She feels as a means of pushing reconciliation a step forward, she should order the justice Ministry to discontinue prosecution through the process of filling nullé prosequoi which most people are now referring to as clemency,” the Solicitor General indicated.
Asked what will be Government’s position if mr. Koukou would give a back kick of filing a damage suit against the government, Gongloe responded: “That is speculation, I don’t want to be speculative.”
Meanwhile, the former speaker of the defunct NTLA has welcomed his release from prison. Speaking Wednesday during a meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mr. Koukou thanked the President for the gesture, describing his detention as an act of God, to help him reflect on his past life.
The former speaker also thanked the people of Nimba, the county’s Legislative Caucus and ordinary citizens for their moral support. Mr. Koukou revealed that he has left prison with a commitment to dedicating his life in the service of God. “I will not say what I did or did not do; that is all history; what I can say is that it’s time to move forward,” the former speaker emphasized.

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