Going to prison and political success is positively correlated. Some very successful political leaders went to jail in their lifetime. Some did not go on a criminal note but due to their positive activism. The likes of Nelson Mandela, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, went to prison as a result of their freedom fighting.
The people on Ghana’s currency earned themselves the name “The Big Six” because they were arrested and released in the course of fighting for the independence of Ghana.
This write-up is to throw light on some Ghanaian politicians who have gone to prison in our contemporary times.
1. Former president, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings. He staged his first military coup as a young revolutionary on 15 May 1979, five weeks before scheduled elections to return the country to civilian rule. When it failed, he was imprisoned, publicly court-martialed and sentenced to death.
Rawlings’ release from Prison brought about the infamous June 4th. In the night of June 3, 1979, after severe indiscipline and frustrations in the Ghana Army, some junior military officers including Major Boakye Djan broke into the jail where Rawlings was being held captive and freed him. The soldiers marched straight to the national radio, Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation (GBC), to make an announcement that they had taken over the nation.
Rawlings requested all soldiers to meet with them at the Nicholson Stadium in Burma Camp in Accra. At the meeting, the junior military officers had arrested the then three senior military officers who governed the state; General F. K Akuffo, Ignatious Kutu Acheampong and Afrifa for trial.
The officers were subsequently executed by firing squad on June 4th and Rawlings was appointed the head of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) until he handed over to Hilla Limann.
2. Hon. Adamu Dramani Sakande. He was a sitting member of Parliament for the Bawku Central Constituency in the Upper East Region. He was found guilty of perjury and forgery. He was therefore jailed two years concurrently on all counts.
3.Tsatsu Tsikata. He was the Chief Executive officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC). Lawyer Tsikata was accused of wilfully causing financial loss to the state and was prosecuted by the then-Attorney General and now president of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo. He was accused of using monies responsible for oil exploration for other businesses.
4. Eric Amoateng. The former Member of Parliament for Nkoranza North, Eric Amoateng, was jailed in the US for narcotic offences. He served ten years in jail.
5. Ken Kuranchie. An NPP man and a Newspaper editor. He published a story about the 2012 election petition that was also found to be a contempt of court. He was sentenced three weeks imprisonment.
6. Stephen Atubiga was also cited for contempt of court in 2013. The failed presidential aspirant in NDC made a derogatory speech about the judges of the Supreme Court and got some days in Nsawam for his indiscretion.
7. Montie trio: Montie trio consists of Salifu Maase alias Mugabe, Aku Gunn and Alistair Nelson. They used Montie FM to run down the judicially service of Ghana and threatened to rape the Former Chief Justice, Her ladyship Theodora Georgina Wood. They got three months custody sentence.
Upon petition From the National Democratic Congress members, the then president, John Dramani Mahama granted them a presidential pardon. The Presidential pardon received a lot of public backlashes as people described it as an insult to the judiciary who were insulted. People who signed the petition were subjected to public ridicule and remains a dent on John Mahama’s reputation.
8. Abuga Pele. A former National Coordinator of the defunct Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), Abuga Pele, and a businessman, Philip Akpeena Assibit, have been sentenced to a total of 18 years in prison for their involvement in the GH¢4.1 million GYEEDA scandal.
Pele, who is also a former Member of Parliament for Chiana-Paga in the Upper East Region, will serve six years, while Assibit will serve 12 years in prison.
9. William Tetteh Tevie. A former Director General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), William Tetteh Tevie, has been handed a six-year jail term by the High Court. Also, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, the former Board Chairman of the Authority, has been jailed for six years.