Friday, December 28, 2007

President apologises



President Kufuor greeting the gathering on Independence Day in Accra which also marked Ghana's 50 years of freedom from Great Britain

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday December 28, 2007
PRESIDENT J. A. Kufuor has rendered an unqualified apology for “any wrongful acts of omission or commission” during his tenure as the President.

“I must have made mistakes, but I can assure you that none is deliberate,” he said.

President Kufuor made the apology when he addressed delegates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) last Saturday at the University of Ghana, Legon, where they had converged to elect a flagbearer for the party.

After months of intense and spirited campaigning which saw a record 17 aspirants bidding to lead the NPP, it was Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, former Foreign Minister, who was elected flagbearer of the NPP with 1,096 votes.

President Kufuor said “I have come to the beginning of the end of my tenure and today’s process brings back memories of great feelings”.

“I made my candidature in 1992 when Professor Emeritus Adu Boahen won. In 1996 and 1998, I was lucky to be elected and I enjoyed total support of all the other contestants”.

President Kufuor said the nation is increasingly witnessing internal democracy in all the political parties, adding, “the NPP should be commended for blazing the trail in this direction.”

He commended the developing partners for helping Ghana to consolidate her democracy and also lauded all the 17 aspirants, saying, “your campaigning has rejuvenated party activities especially at the grassroots”.

He said “we have come here in 17 groups and we must leave here as a single entity under one leader”.

President Kufuor urged NPP supporters to serve as ambassadors by “telling the success story of the government”.

Touching on the country’s level of development, the President said the government has secured a 90 million dollar loan to restore the Eastern and Central rail lines which will commence operations early next year.

He said the West Africa Gas Pipeline has now been completed and it was in operation and also hinted that the discovery of oil in the Western Region was expected to yield about three billion barrels.

The President said there was a near collapse of the economy before the NPP government took over in 2001 but despite instability in the oil market, his administration was able to manage the economy well.

Touching on transparency, President Kufuor said “we were the first country to submit ourselves for the African Peer Review Mechanism. We are very open.”

Thursday, December 27, 2007

An Xmas Gift For Nana



President Kufuor of Ghana introducing his former Foreign Minister, Nana Akufo-Addo as the new flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party,NPP

By Agbeko Azumah and William Yaw Owusu

Monday december 24, 2007
MONTHS of intense and spirited campaigning for the flagbearership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP)climaxed at the weekend with nearly 18 hours of voting which saw Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo emerging as the winner yesterday morning

The contest lived up to its billing as a straight fight between Nana Akufo-Addo, former Foreign Minister and Alan Kyerematen, former Trade and Industry Minister, but technically it failed to produce a first round winner in conformity with the criterion spelt out in the party’s constitution.

Thus, even though by 8.47 a.m. yesterday, the Electoral Commission had finished counting the votes and Mr Akufo-Addo had emerged the candidate with the highest votes, it was still uncertain whether a run-off could be avoided.

However the return of President J.A, Kufuor to the congress grounds at about 9.30 am, fuelled speculation that Mr Kyerematen was going to concede defeat and like the other candidates congratulate the winner.

National chairman of the NPP, Peter Mac Manu gave a hint of a likely line of action when he said, “There are various talks on-going . This is the first time that our congress to elect a flagbearer is going into a run-off. We want to leave this place well-satisfied that the delegates selected a candidate who is capable of winning the 2008 election.”

Mr Kyerematen’s subsequent announcement of conceding defeat was greeted with spontaneous jubilation especially from supporters of Mr Akufo-Addo.

He said : “I wish to congratulate Nana Akufo-Addo for a hard won and well deserved victory even though as the rules stand we are supposed to go into a run-off.

“I wish to concede victory in order for the NPP to preserve the unity and also protect our scarce resources to give our flagbearer the chance to become the next president of Ghana.

“I will support him wholeheartedly, stand solidly behind him to ensure a resounding victory for the NPP in 2008.”

At that juncture the EC declared Nana Akufo-Addo as the presidential candidate of the NPP in the 2008 general election.

All the 17 aspirants were then asked to give a speech to endorse Nana Akufo-Addo as the flagbearer.

President Kufuor congratulated all the aspirants for always working to keep the party’s principles and mandate intact.

He paid glowing tribute to Nana Akufo-Addo, describing him “a defender of the Danquah-Busia tradition.

“I am proud to hand over the batton of NPP candidacy to him and he is going to lead us to victory in 2008.”

President Kufuor also congratulated Mr Kyerematen for showing a “sportsman’s spirit” by conceding defeat.

In his acceptance speech, Nana Akufo-Addo invited the opposition parties to dialogue and debate national issues devoid of insults and acrimony.

“We have built in our country a free and open society and I will do everything possible in order not to let you down.”

Turning to Mr Kyerematen, Nana Akufo-Addo said, “This young man gave me a good run for my money and I appreciate the friendly atmosphere in this contest and his goodwill to concede defeat.”

“The NPP requires a good story teller to go to the good people of Ghana and Nana Akufo-Addo your flagbearer, is here to serve you.”

He promised a resounding victory for the NPP in the 2008 general elections.

Voting itself began at 4.43 pm on Saturday amidst extra vigilance and tight security arrangement.

To ensure a very credible and foolproof process, the names of delegates were mentioned as the various regions and constituencies took their turns to vote.

The names of the delegates were subsequently checked against a photo register and after voting the delegates were made to append their signatures which were fed into a computer.

At about 7.58pm, when delegates from the Volta Region were voting, a commotion erupted which lasted for about 45 minutes and nearly disrupted the process.

It all happened when some supporters of Mr Akufo-Addo began heckling Paul Afoko, a known supporter of Mr Kyerematen, for allegedly distributing money to some delegates in order to win support for his candidate.

Mr Afoko who denied doing so had to be whisked away to safety by the police.

In the midst of the confusion, the National Organiser of the NPP, Lord Commey also went on stage to announce the allegation against Mr Afoko and this further heightened tension.

All the 17 aspirants left their seats to the main auditorium of the Great Hall for some minutes while the party and Electoral Commission officials laboured to restore normalcy for the voting to continue.

Mr Mac Manu publicly denounced Mr Commey’s remarks as unfortunate and promised to conduct an investigation into the allegations.

The votes obtained by the other 15 candidates are as follows: Aliu Mahama, 146 (6.3 per cent); Yaw Osafo Maafo, 63 (2.8 per cent); Dan Botwe, 52 (2.3 per cent); Papa Owusu Ankomah, 34 (1.5 per cent); Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, 28 (1.2 per cent); and Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, 22 (1 per cent).

The others are: Professor Mike Oquaye, 20 (1 per cent); Jake Obetseibi-Lamptey, 20 (1 per cent ); Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, 19 (0.8 per cent); Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, 12 (0.5 per cent); Boakye Kyerematen Agyarko, 10 (0.4 per cent); Kwabena Agyapong, 9 (0.4 per cent); Felix Kwasi Owusu-Adjapong 9 (0.4 per cent); Dr Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, 6 (0.2 per cent); and Arthur Kennedy, 1 (0.44 per cent).

Losing aspirants pledge support

By Agbeko Azumah & William Yaw Owusu

Monday december 24, 2007
CONTRARY to speculation of a fractious and divided party following the near rancorous campaigning for the New Patriotic Party flagbearership all the 16 other aspirants took turns to pledge their support for the winner Nana Akufo Addo.

After the ballots for Mr Akufo-Addo had been counted and it became obvious that he was the winner, Yaw Osafo-Maafo walked up to him, congratulated him and pledged his support for him.

He was immediately followed by the other aspirants including even those whose ballots had not yet been counted.

Yaw Osafo-Maafo, former finance minister in a short speech after the official declaration of resulta said: “Nana Akufo-Addo is truly a party man by all definitions. He has my support to win the 2008 elections.”

Kwabena Agyepong, the youngest aspirant and former presidential spokesperson remarked: “The delegates have indeed spoken. We should now rally behind our flagbearer to jeep the NDC in opposition.”

For his part Professor Oquaye, former communications minister pledged to work alongside Mr Akufo-Addo saying, “He is the man of the moment.”

Hackman Owusu Agyeman, a former Minster of Water Resources, Works and Housing said, “We are as united as ever. It has been a very good fight and the best aspirant won”.

Dr Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Ghana’s Ambassador to Japan, commended Mr Kyerematen for his “gracious and respectable concession” and urged party members to close their ranks and forge ahead in unity.

Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, former Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations said, “the job ahead is not easy but there is nothing that the NPP cannot do to galvanise the support of the electorate to ensure a resounding victory in 2008”.

Daniel Botwe, former NPP General Secretary said, “The internal struggle is over. We are fired up and we are prepared to move for NPP under Kufuor to hand over to NPP to be led by Akufo-Addo”.

Dr Kofi Konadu, Apraku former Minister of Regional Integration and NEPAD said, “Delegates are capable of making a good decision and they have demonstrated it in Nana Akufo-Addo today”.

Papa Owusu Ankomah, former Minister of Education, Science and Sports said the December 22 deputy congress “marks the rejuvenation and renewal of the NPP. In our flagbearer we have a battle-tested leader who is ready to face the opposition on all fronts”.

Boakye Kyerematen Agyarko, a banker said, “We face a violent opponent in the 2008 elections. We should close our ranks to extend our stay in power”.

Dr Kobina Arthur-Kennedy said, “Nana Akufo-Addo deserves every moment of what has happened and he has my unflinching support to win the 2008 elections.”

Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, former Chief Executive of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) urged Nana Akufo-Addo to work towards the reduction of poverty, diseases and squalor.

Vice President Aliu Mahama said, “My support for Nana Akufo-Addo is total and absolute. I am battle-ready to join hands with our flagbearer to win the 2008 election.”

Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, former Defence Minister said “the next battle is going to be a difficult one but I know Nana Akufo-Addo is well prepared to face opposition and crush them again”.

Felix Owusu Adjapong, former Majority Leader of Parliament said, “Our kingmakers have spoken and we should forge ahead in unity to ensure a sounding victory for the NPP in 2008”.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Three Policemen jailed 75 years over missing cocaine

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday December 22, 2007
AN Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday jailed three policemen 25 years each for their involvement in the loss of 76 parcels of cocaine

The three policemen, Sergeant David Nyarko, Lance Corporals Dwamena Yabson and Peter Bundorin, are all attached to the Tema Regional Police Command.

They collected an undisclosed amount in US dollars and let off the hook, Sheriff Asem Darke, popularly called ‘Limping Man’, who is wanted by the police for the importation of 77 parcels of the cocaine, 76 of which were offloaded at the Kpone beach near Tema on April 26, 2006.

A fourth policeman, Detective Sergeant Samuel Yaw Amoah, who allegedly played a leading role in the case, escaped from the premises of the Accra Regional Police Command soon after he was granted bail by an Accra Circuit court in September 2006.
He is still wanted by the police to face trial.

The three accused persons pleaded not guilty to two counts of engaging in a prohibited business related to narcotic drugs and corruption by a public officer.

Convicting them, the court presided over by Appeal Court Judge, Justice Anim Yeboah held that the prosecution was able to lead evidence to show that the policemen indeed saw Sheriff at the Kpone beach offloading the cocaine but allowed him and his accomplices to go.

The court also held that throughout the trial, facts and issues such as the presence of the policemen at the Kpone beach were undisputed.

“Evidence available to the court also indicates that all the accused persons were present at Community 5, Tema where Seriff resides and this went unchallenged by the defence”.

The court said held that the policemen allowed themselves to be influenced by Amoah not to arrest Sheriff.

The judge however did not confiscate the cars bought by the policemen, which the prosecution tendered in evidence, because he said the prosecution did not prove that they used the money from Sheriff to buy the cars.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

NPP Congress in Danger?



This is the logo of the ruling New Patriotic Party, NPP of Ghana

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesdat December 22, 2007
THE December 22 Congress of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to elect a flagbearer for the 2008 general election seems to be in danger following attempts by some aggrieved party supporters from the Ablekuma South Constituency in the Greater Accra Region to stop their delegates from participating in the congress.

The group numbering more than 10 with one Kwesi Ofori as its leader have filed a suit at an Accra High Court against 10 others including William Akakpo, the Constituency Chairman and Nii Staley Adjiri-Blankson the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive restraining them as delegates to the congress.

The courts registry has fixed Friday, December 21, for the application to be moved by counsel for the plaintiff.

Apart from Mr. Akakpo and Nii Adjiri-Blankson, the suit also cites Alhaji Abu, Nana Kofi Yeboah and Ben Brown, all constituency and regional executives of the party as the other defendants.

Other defendants are Sylvia Opoku Manu, Dufie Cynthia, Emmanuel Addo, Cathrine Ahen and Felix Yeboah.

The plaintiffs want the court to declare null and void the selection of the defendants as delegates for Ablekuma South at the congress.

The plaintiffs want a further order directed at Mr Akakpo to convene an extra ordinary meeting to select delegates and a perpetual injunction to restrain all defendants from holding themselves as delegates for the congress from Ablekuma South.

In their affidavit in support endorsed by their counsel Mr Maurice K. Ampaw, on December 13, the plaintiffs claimed that under the party’s constitution the constituency executives were expected to organize an extraordinary conference to select delegates for the congress but this was not done.

They claimed Mr Akakpo together with a few constituency executives met on December 2, to select the delegates at a time when the NPP was organizing a rally at Kasoa to introduce the aspirants to the public.

They contended that what the few executives did was “a clear violation of the party’s constitution”.

As at the time of going to press there was no indication whether the defendants had filed any defence.


However exhibits attached to the suit indicated that the plaintiffs had petitioned the NPP General Secretary and copied to the Regional Chairperson, Regional Secretary, Constituency Chairman and all Constituency executives of the NPP.

I can lead NPP to victory

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday December 18, 2007
KWABENA AGYEI AGYAPONG, a Presidential aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) says the time has come for the party to usher in a new generation of leadership that will guarantee the sustenance of the political tradition of the party.

“If we as a nation are to catch up with the developed world then we will need a new kind of leadership that is intensely action-oriented, passionately mission-minded, very demanding of results and has no time for bureaucratic inertia.

In a press briefing to throw more light on his candidature for the December 22, Congress of the NPP, Mr. Agyeapong who is a former Press Secretary to President Kufuor said “I am ready to provide that kind of leadership.”

He said to drive our developmental agenda forward we need to put the nation on a level that will change attitudes of the people and restore the culture of hard work as well as put people into productive work.”

“I will lead by example and inject a renewed sense of urgency, vitality, passion and patriotion into our body politic,” because we as a nation will have to graduate from trade to industry.”

Mr. Agyapong who is campaigning on the theme: “securing our common future” said the President Kufuor administration has already laid a solid foundation for the future development of the country and the party needed to elect hardworking and marketable candidate to take over from him.

“If elect the flagbearer I will work with dedication and selflessness to ensure total victory for the NPP in 2008 because I believe strongly that the time has come for us to put an end seminars, workshops, for a and more into the implementation mode of what President Kufuor will leave behind.

“I will offer the party and the country a leadership of competence, compassion, commitment and courage. I will provide a leadership that understands and listens to the people.”

Mr. Agyapong urged the delegates to choose a flagbearer who is marketable and can withstand the opposition at any time, saying “I have all it takes to led the NPP to victory.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New development in President's accident case



The accident scene

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday December 15, 2007
THE Motor Court handling the case of the President’s accident, yesterday deferred to Wednesday, December 19, ruling on defence’s application for bail.

This follows the prosecution’s objection to the application, arguing that there is a new development in the investigation.

Thomas Kofi Osei, 51, is standing trial before the court for driving into President Kufuor’s car on November 14.

When Osei appeared before the Court, the prosecution, led by Edward Agyeman Duodu, a Principal State Attorney, asked the court to remand him once again to enable the police to bring a “new development” to the court's attention.

It is the third time that Osei has been remanded into police custody by the court, presided over by Mr.Samuel Diawuo. On the previous appearances on November 16, and November 30, the police had said they were still investigating the matter.

Mr Kwame Boafo Akuffo, counsel for Osei yesterday renewed his application for bail for the accused person, citing the prosecution's attitude towards the trial as his reason.

He said he does not see why the court should still remand Osei when the provisional charge preferred against him is bailable under the law.
Mr Akuffo said his client has since the accident admitted the offence, accepted responsibility and also shown remorse.

“If the prosecution says it needs more time to investigate this matter it becomes tedious and worrying because the facts of the case are not in dispute and there is nothing spectacular or mysterious about this unfortunate accident”.

Counsel said, however, that he has information that his client is likely to be charged with attempted murder.

Responding, Mr. Doudu, the prosecution 'we cannot disclose to the court the latest development about the investigations now. “We are asking for a remand because when he is left at large he may interfere with investigations”.
'
He said: “There is more to the case than the ordinary facts available before this court and as far as the prosecution is concerned, there has not been any unreasonable delay for the court to exercise its discretion in the grant of bail to the accused person'.

the judge then deferred ruling on the bail application to December 19.
Osei's plea was again not taken but the case for the prosecution has already been made known to the court.

He drove into the President's car on November 14 at about 11:30 am, forcing it to overturn. The President was unhurt but his driver, Osafo Addo, was treated and discharged at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.

On his first appearance on November 16, Osei was charged provisionally with four counts of dangerous driving, negligently causing harm, driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to give way to the presidential convoy.

Mr. Duodu, who had taken over the case on November 30, from the police said that the docket was brought to the A-G's Department for advise and the prosecution needed time to study it and prefer the appropriate charges against the accused.

Don't rush to amend Constitution - Nana Dr. S K B Asante



Nana Dr. S K B Asante (Right) and Dr. S Y Bimpong-Buta at the book launch

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday December 15, 1007
NANA Dr. S. K. B. Asante, a prominent legal brain says Ghanaians should not rush to amend the constitution until “we have exhausted the mechanisms of judicial interpretation and examined learned commentary on such interpretations.”

He said the occasion calls for amendment of the constitution sometimes stem from a failure to appreciate the critical role of the Supreme Court in interpreting, clarifying, refining and consolidating the constitution.

“We must know that the constitution is essentially a body of basic principles which must necessarily be elaborated through judicial interpretation,” he said in a speech at the launch of a book on “Role of the Supreme Court in the Development of Constitutional Law of Ghana,” in Accra on Thursday.

The 365 page book was authored by Dr. Seth Y. Bimpong-Buta, a former Director of the Ghana School of Law and now Editor-in-Chief of the Supreme Court of Ghana Law Reports.

Nana Dr. Asante who is the immediate past president of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) said although concerns have sometimes been expressed about certain aspects of the constitution, “we can say without serious challenge that we have not experienced any significant constitutional crises and that there is no compelling consensus for a radical reconstruction or dismemberment of the constitution.”

“The basic precepts of a liberal constitutional order are embedded in our constitution. We are celebrated as an oasis of stability and good governance in a very turbulent region.

“We need to remind ourselves, with some sense of ratification and appreciation, that we have enjoyed an uninterrupted constitution regime for 15 years under which we have successfully organised four general elections, formed and operated constitutional government, witnessed the shift of executive power from one party to another and maintained the shift of executive power from one party to another and maintained the rule of law.”

Nana Asante who chaired the function paid glowing tribute to Dr. Bimpong-Buta for compiling the book, describing him as “placing the entire nation in his debt.”

Dr. Bimpong-Buta in giving an overview of the book, said the Supreme Court should be consistent in its decisions so as to ensure the sanctity of the spirit and letter of the constitution and also enable litigants to know where they stand with regards to the interpretation of the law.

The Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Wood who was the guest of honour said, “Dr. Bimpong-Buta has given the legal profession the most invaluable gift.”

“He has established himself as an authority in constitutional law and what he has compiled will help develop constitutionalism in Ghana because there are no regular publications subjecting our work to critical examination.”

An eminent retired jurist, Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe who launched the book said it will promote the democratic dispensation of the country.

He advised judges, lawyers as well as students to take advantage of the book to expand the frontiers of the law.

Dr K. O. Adinkrah, Acting Director of GSL said there should be a critical assessment of the role played by the Supreme Court towards the development of the country in the last 50 years and find ways to empower the courts to do more.

The first copy of the book was auctioned for ¢10.1 million.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Goil Coupon theft case : Five granted bail

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday December 13, 2007
FIVE men who allegedly stole fuel coupons worth ¢9.1 billion belonging to the Ghana Oil Company (Goil) were yesterday granted ¢1 billion each with a surety to be justified by an Accra fast track high court.

A fuel coupon is a ticket or document that can be exchanged for a financial discount on fuel products.

The suspects are Emmanuel Amegashie, a production technician at Camelot Ghana Limited , printers of Goil’s coupons, Lawrence Avorgbedor and Ebenezer Chaerwe, both former employees of Camelot, Joshua Kwamia Asamoah, a taxi driver ad Samuel Koffi Addo, an employee of Goil.

The court, presided over by Justice Kobena Acquaye, is also trying two others implicated in the case but are on the run.

Amegashie, Avogbedor, Asamoah and Addo were initially arraigned before an Accra circuit court on November 9, where they were remanded into police custody.

Initially, the police gave the total value of fuel coupons stolen as ¢4.5 billion, but on November 20, the prosecution told the court that the figure had increase to 9.1 billion.

The prosecution then withdrew the case from the circuit court and arraigned them before the Fast Track High Court.

This time around, Charwe was added to the accused persons.

They have all been charged with conspiracy but Amegashie, Avorgbedor and Asamoah are facing an additional charge of stealing.

They pleaded guilty and will return to court on January 16, for the prosecution to call its first witness.

The prosecution’s case is that Amegashie entered Camelot’s hologram vault and was caught by security cameras installed at the place carrying a box containing some items from the room.

Officials of the company later detected that 30,000 leaflets of GH¢20 and GH¢15 denomination of Goil coupons valued at ¢9.1 billion, were missing.

The prosecution said Amegashie allegedly gave the coupons to Avorgbedor who printed serial numbers on them and handed them over to Asamoah.

The prosecution said Addo, who resigned in October as a pump attendant, was brought into the deal by Avorgbedor to sell the coupons.

On October 30, Addo went on his rounds selling the coupons but was arrested at Dansoman in Accra.

The prosecution said after his arrest, Addo led the police to pick upon Asamoah who mentioned Avorgbedor as an accomplice.

Avorgbedor allegedly admitted the offence and also led the police to arrest Amegashie.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Two Charged....over findings at PAC sittings

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday December 12, 2007
THE trial of two public servants who allegedly diverted about ¢4.5 billion from public funds into their private accounts, a case that caused some heat between the Attorney-General (AG) and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), has finally commenced at an Accra Fast Track High Court.

In court yesterday were Nicholas Sakyi, a deputy accountant and Joseph Kofi Yeboah, a senior accounts officer, both employees of the Controller and Accountant-Generals’ Department attached to the Department of Urban Roads in Kumasi.

The two allegedly started stealing the money in 2000 and by 2005, when the anomaly was detected, a walloping ¢4.5 billion was found to be siphoned.

They pleaded not guilty to six counts of stealing and were jointly granted ¢2 billion bail with two sureties to be justified until December 20, when the prosecution will call its first witness.

The case degenerated into a controversy between the AG and the BNI when it came to light in October at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearings that the case docket of the accused persons was missing.

Matters came to a head when the PAC in October 18, summoned the AG to appear before it to explain the delay in the prosecution of the case of the two men after an audit report had cited them for embezzlement.

The BNI had earlier told the committee in a reply to an enquiry that it sent the case docket to the AG’s Department for advice and was awaiting directive but the AG on October 23, had said there was no such docket in his outfit.

However on October 25, the controversy between the two bodies was resolved when the AG apologised to the BNI and cited misinformation and lack of proper record-keeping on the part of his department as the reason for the misunderstanding.

He then informed the PAC that the docket was found and preparations for trial of the two were underway.

At yesterday’s court sitting, Mr Atta Akyea, counsel for the accused, in applying for bail for them saying “they have already been admitted to bail by a current court and we would like the court to place similar bail conditions for them”.

William Kpobi, a Principal State Attorney, prosecuting the case, told the court presided over by Justice Kobena Acquaye that “we have no objection to the grant of bail except that they should appear to stand trial”.

The facts as presented by Mr Kpobi are that in 2000, the two men allegedly devised a scheme by which they embezzled money by altering cheques issued in favour of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as withholding taxes and operated until 2005 when the anomaly was detected.

The two allegedly opened a special private account at a rural bank in Kumasi in which they cashed and deposited the money.

The breakdown of the amount as 2000, ¢71 million; 2001, ¢69 million; 2002, ¢256 million; 2003, ¢878 million; 2004, ¢2.2 billion and 2005, ¢849 million.

Mr Kpobi further said in line with the grand design the two altered IRS cheques to read I.R. Samuel and Sons Limited, and J.E. Service Limited.

Commercial Court for Sekondi-Takoradi

By William Yaw Owusu

Wedneday December 12, 2007
THE Judicial Service is to establish a second Commercial Court to be based in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis in the Western Region, to deal with investment related disputes.

Chief Justice Georgina Wood who disclosed this yesterday did not give instances of the disputes, but said it has become necessary for people in the Western Region to have a court with commercial status, following the recent discovery of oil in the area.

The Chief Justice was speaking when the out-going British High Commissioner, Mr Gordon Witherell, called on her to bid her farewell after a four-year duty tour in Ghana.

She said: “we anticipate that with the discovery of oil in the region, more investment related cases will come up and we have to take steps to provide the necessary services for businesses to thrive in Ghana.”

She said her office has set up a committee to review existing projects of the Judicial Service along the lines of those existing in Britain.

As part of the efforts to modernise the courts, the judiciary is planning to set up a consulting centre for use by counsel and clients to ensure smooth administration of justice.

Mrs Wood said the Judicial Service will seek British scholarships for judges to upgrade their knowledge on oil and gas exploration issues.

In his farewell message, Mr Witherell, promised to consult the British government to send legal experts to Ghana to continue the training of more magistrates and judges

He praised Ghana’s efforts to institutionalise the offshore banking concept saying “It is a step in the right direction because it will promote economic growth.”

He also commended the government for appointing a first female Chief Justice and congratulated Justice Wood on her appointment.

The first commercial court was set up in Accra in March 2005. It was financed by DANIDA.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Flood Of Signs...for The NPP ‘Finish-Hard’

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday December 10 2007
With 12 days to go for the congress of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) the campaigning has apparently entered its ‘finish-hard’ stage with a new strategy. The party’s presidential aspirants have flooded the main entrance to the venue, University of Ghana, Legon, with their giant billboards.

The messages of the aspirants on the beautiful billboards and posters bearing their photographs, all carry a very simple message for the delegates: Vote me as NPP’s flagbearer.

Yesterday, when the Times passed by the main entrance of the university where the congress will be held on December 22, almost all the 17 aspirants had erected their billboards and their posters on the sides of the road leading to Madina.The area has been decorated in a spectacular fashion.

While many of the billboards were already in place, others were being hurriedly erected. The Times learnt that every inch of plot in the area has been acquired by campaign teams of the aspirants. This has created a very spectacular scene and every motorist has had to slow down to look at the billboards thereby causing a traffic jam.

Passengers in tro tros are also not left out as they strive to pop their heads out of the windows to take in the scene. Electric poles and structures along the route also have their fair share of the decorations.

A security man at the entrance of the university said most of the billboards were erected immediately after the aspirants balloted last Wednesday, December 5, for their positions on the ballot sheet for the congress.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Investcom Ordered To Halt Arbitration In London





By William Yaw Owusu

Friday, 07 December 2007
THE Commercial Court in Accra, yesterday restrained Investcom Consortium from continuing with an arbitration in London, U.K, in a case in which Richmond Aggrey, a Ghanaian businessman, has sued the company and is claiming 20 per cent shares in Scancom Limited, operators of Areeba mobile phone service, now MTN.

The court, presided over by Justice Henry Kwofie, also awarded ¢8 million cost against Investcom Consortium Holdings S.A of Beirut, Lebanon who are the majority shareholders of Scancom Ghana Limited.

Investcom Consortium commenced arbitration proceedings in London despite decisions by both the trial court and the Court of Appeal that they will not stay proceedings pending that arbitration.

Under the circumstance, Mr. Yonnei Kulendi, counsel for Mr. Aggrey, moved a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction to restrain Investcom from proceeding with the arbitration.

Besides Investcom, Mr. Aggrey, former Vice Chairman of Scancom, is also suing the telecommunication giant and Grandview Management of Texas, United States, to claim his shares.

Moving the motion on November 15, Mr. Kulendi described Investcom’s move as "unimaginable" harassment, saying "the effort by Investcom to proceed with the arbitration outside the country when the case is still being determined by a Ghanaian court, is to close the plaintiff’s right to natural justice.

"We want an unambiguous and express order to restrain them since the court has the legal authority to protect the sanctity of the proceedings. We will suffer irreparable damage if the order is not granted," he argued.

Responding, Mr. Felix Ntirakwah, counsel for Investcom, said: "the company had not abandoned its right to have the matter determined, adding, ‘We are only exercising our right to arbitration under the shareholders’ agreement."

He said Investcom did not need the "leave" of the court before proceeding to arbitration and that should not be interpreted by the plaintiff to mean a disrespect to the court.

Mr. Thaddeus Sory, counsel for Grandview, arguing on points of law, had opposed his co-defendant’s position to go on with the arbitration process, saying "it is better if the arbitration proceedings is stopped for this trial to proceed".

He said a careful study of the shareholders’ agreement indicates that the arbitration rights claim by Investcom is not automatic. "We should not allow proceedings in the arbitration to overtake the proceedings of this court."

In his ruling yesterday, Justice Kwofie described as in correct, Investcom’s stance that the court’s refusal to stay proceedings pending arbitration on May 31, left the parties to their fate, saying that any action outside that of the court would result in identical and multiplicity of proceedings.

The court said that taking into consideration the balance of convenience, it is proper for Investcom to cease with the arbitration proceedings and allow the case to take its natural course.

The court on July 14, last year, granted Mr. Aggrey an ex-parte application to restrain the defendants from going ahead to conclude a merger with the MTN Company of South Africa.

Mr. Aggrey had argued that "continuing and or concluding a merger with and/or acquisition of Investment LLC by MTN without taking into account and/or providing for the plaintiff’s 20 per cent shares in Scancom Limited will occasion the loss of his shareholding in the company by reason of the accrual of the rights of MTN Group as third party."

Following the development, Scancom on July 24, filed an application to strike out Mr. Aggrey’s action "in part or whole" on the grounds that he failed to adhere to procedure in filing the application.

The trial court on October 20, however, ruled that the processes followed by Mr. Aggrey in instituting the suit were proper and ordered Scancom to file its defence within 14 days.

Consequently, Scancom filed a notice of appeal to challenge the court’s ruling and another motion on notice to stay proceedings pending the appeal, but Justice Henry Kwofie, the trial judge, dismissed it on December 8, and awarded ¢10 million cost against Scancom.

Scancom then went to the Court of Appeal to challenge the trial court’s decision which was again dismissed by a three-member panel on March 27, and ¢5 million cost was awarded against the appellant.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Court of Appeal dismisses Abodakpi's application to introduce fresh evidence in his appeal

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday December 6, 2007
THE Court of Appeal has unanimously dismissed an application that sought to ask the court to allow fresh evidence in the substantive appeal of Daniel Kwasi Abodakpi, Member of Parliament for Keta, who is challenging his 10-year sentence by an Accra Fast Track High Court.

He had claimed that he has evidence that a Court of Appeal judge, Mrs Justice Henrietta Abbey, placed a call to the trial judge, Justice Stephen Twerefuor Farkye, also of the Court of Appeal, to “deal” with him while judgement in the case was being delivered.

But the panel of the Appeal Court ruled that the application to add fresh evidence, has no merit.

Justice Apau who read the three member panel’s decision, said “the application to add fresh evidence to the substantive appeal has no merit. The allegation he is seeking to introduce makes no sense to us”.

The court held that Abodakpi himself had admitted in his application that what he sought to do was unusual, and added that “going by Rule 26 of the court’s orders, the appellant was bound to satisfy the court beyond reasonable doubt that the fresh evidence is credible and has a bearing on the appeal”.

With this development, Abodakpi, a former Minister of Trade and Industry, will have to move his appeal application against his conviction at a date yet to be fixed without the fresh evidence.

Abodakpi is contending his conviction by the Fast Track High Court on February 5, for causing financial loss to the state.

The court said Abodakpi could not convince the panel that what he sought to do had a bearing on the charges based on which the trial court convicted him and could also not place anything before the court that there was a third party who heard Justice Abban and Farkye in a conversation once Abodakpi himself was not present at the meeting.

“It is only in exceptional circumstances that this court can allow fresh evidence to be adduced in a substantive appeal but this application is totally misplaced and without merit.”

He was said to have illegally authorised the payment of 400,000 dollars to Dr. Owusu Boadu, a Ghanaian consultant in Texas, United States, from the TIP fund.

The eight million dollar TIP fund was set up by the NDC government to promote the non-traditional export sector.

Abodakpi was originally charged together with Victor Selormey, former Deputy Finance Minister, who died in the course of the trial.

Abodakpi, 57, filed an application for bail pending appeal at the trial court but it was dismissed by Justice Farkye.

He then filed a fresh application for bail at the Court of Appeal which was moved on October 11, by his counsel, Tony Lithur, before Justices B.T. Aryeetey, Samuel Marful-Sau and Mariama Owusu and this was also dismissed on November 2.

On November 3, his counsel, Tony Lithur, was in court to argue the motion for leave to adduce fresh evidence in the substantive appeal while Ms Gertrude Aikins, acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) represented the state; Mr William Addo represented Justice Farkye and Mr Frank Davies for Justice Henrietta Abban.

They argued before Justices S.E. Kanyoke, presiding; Yaw Apau and Francis Kusi Appiah.

Mr Lithur said the specific evidence being sought was to prove that Justice Abban directed Justice Farkye whom she caused to be called out during the delivery of the judgement in the case to impose a sentence of 10 years instead of the intended four that Justice Farkye had planned.

He said if the court allowed the evidence to be adduced before the court it will enhance the applicant’s chances of success in the appeal.

Responding, Ms Aikins said the incidence of the trial judge leaving the court room in the middle of the judgement was not unusual; as judges are human beings and suffer from all human frailties.

She said neither counsel nor his client were in the room where the two judges allegedly held discussions to overhear what transpired between them, adding “it is unclear under what order or authority the applicant is bringing the application”.

She said Abodakpi’s claim were allegation which did not exist during the trial and could not now come to say that he wants to introduce it.

When Mr Addo took his turn, he said Justice Farkye’s judgment in the trial was not in any way influenced by the collection of the said acts from Justice Abban and could be attested by the flow of the language in the judgement.

He said the applicant did not raise the issue of bias at any stage of the trial and could not turn around to introduce it now, adding that “the allegation that there is a real likelihood of bias on the part of Justice Farkye which occasioned a miscarriage of justice to the applicant is not true”.

Mr Davies who did not file any response but observed proceedings said “the piece of allegation that Justice Abban whispered to Justice Farkye to increase the sentence to 10 years instead of four is rather scandalous”, adding “counsel for the applicant is being speculative”.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A-G justifies the trial of Mrs Rawlings and others



The former First Lady addressing the press

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday December 4, 2007
THE Attorney General, Joe Ghartey, yesterday told an Accra Fast Track High that his office has not contravened the constitution as far as the case of the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, and four others in connection with the divestiture of the Nsawam Cannery is concerned.

He said the recommendations in the Auditor-General’s report which formed the basis of the criminal action against Mrs. Rawlings and the other accused were within the law.

The AG was responding to a motion on notice to stay proceedings in the trial filed by some of the accused persons.

The applicants want another Fast Track High Court to determine a civil suit they filed against the Divestiture Implementation Committee and the Attorney General before the current criminal action could go ahead.

Those who filed for a stay of proceedings are Mrs. Rawlings, Hanny Sherry Ayittey, Director of Carridem Development Company Limited (CDCL) and the CDCL itself which is also on trial.

Kwame Peprah, former Finance Minister and chairman of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), and Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, former Executive Secretary of the DIC and Thomas Banson Owusu, former DIC Accountant who are also on trial have not filed for stay of proceedings but are in support of the action by their co-accused.


The accused persons in the criminal trial, were originally charged together with Georgina Okaitey, a director, George Mould, a director and Larry Adjetey, a director/secretary, all of CDCL but the A-G last year withdrew the charges against the three under Section 9 of Act 30 of the Criminal Code.

Mrs. Rawlings, Ms. Ayittey and CDCL are facing eight counts of conspiracy, causing loss to public property dishonestly, obtaining public property by false pretences, obtaining public property by false statement, conspiracy to alter forged documents and altering forged documents.

Mr. Peprah is facing three counts of conspiracy to cause a loss to public property, dishonestly causing loss to public property and conspiracy to obtain public property by false pretences.

Mr. Agbodo is charged with 10 counts of conspiracy, stealing, intentionally causing loss to the property of public body, causing loss to a public body by dishonesty, causing loss to public property by dishonesty and conspiracy to obtain public property by false pretences while Mr. Owusu faces six counts of conspiracy, and stealing.

All the accused persons have pleaded not guilty and are on self-cognizance bail.

Moving the motion on November 15, counsel for the applicants, Tony Lithur said the determination of the appeal will have a bearing on the criminal case.

He said they filed a similar application to have the proceedings stayed but the court, then presided over by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie who is now with the Court of Appeal, dismissed it and when they filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the ruling, the prosecution changed the charge sheet and preferred fresh charges against the accused persons hence the need for the fresh motion.

He said in the civil suit where the court is to determine whether or not the Nsawam Cannery was legally and properly acquired by CDCL, the A-G who is a defendant had actively filed a defence and a counter claim to contest the suit.

Mr. Lithur said the A-G in instituting the criminal action “is seeking a collateral advantage in this criminal suit”, adding “the Constitution gives the A-G the power to initiate criminal action but this discretinary powers are being exercised in bad faith”.

He said the constitution gives the court powers to review the A-G’s discretionary powers because they have realised that “the A-G is acting manipulatively and if proceedings were not stayed it will undermine the outcome of the civil trial”.

Responding yesterday, Mr. Ghartey said, “The effect of this application is that they are asking the court to interfere with the powers of the A-G under Article 88 of the constitution”.

He said in seeking to stay the proceedings, the applicants failed to satisfy the court with any known statutory provision but only urged the court to use its inherent jurisdiction without giving due consideration to Article 19 of the constitution which talks about fair trial.

He said: “They could not demonstrate to the court that the AG acted outside the constitution and for them to say that the court should stay proceedings they are suggesting that they are above the law. “The AG has exercised this discretion correctly”.

“This application is totally unknown in our criminal and constitutional law. It is mischievous unmeritorious, and has no basis,” Mr Ghartey contended

Mr. Bram Larbi who represented the applicants, then prayed the court to adjourn proceedings to enable the defence to reply the AG on points of law.

Justice Kobena Acquaye, the trial judge granted the request and adjourned proceedings until tomorrow.

Court of Appeal to decide whether to allow Abodakpi to introduce fresh evidence in appeal

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday December 4, 2007
The Court of Appeal will on December 5, decide on whether or not to allow fresh evidence in the substantive appeal of Daniel Kwasi Abodakpi, the Member of Parliament for Keta who is challenging his 10-year conviction by an Accra Fast Track High Court.

Abodakpi who is also a former Trade and Industry Minister claims he has evidence that a Court of Appeal judge, Mrs. Henrietta Abban placed a call to the trial judge, Stephen Twerefuor Farkye, also of the Court of Appeal to “deal” with the appellent when judgement in the case was being delivered.

Abodakpi was jailed 10 years on February 5, by an Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Stephen Twerefuor Farkye, for causing financial loss to the state.

He was said to have illegally authorised the payment of 400,000 dollars to Dr. Frederick Owusu Boadu, a Ghanaian consultant in Texas, United States, from the TIP fund.

The eight-million dollar TIP fund was set up by the NDC administration to promote the non-traditional export sector.

Abodakpi was originally charged together with Victor Selormey, former Deputy Finance Minister, who died in the course of the trial.

Abodakpi, 57, filed an application for bail pending appeal at the trial court but it was dismissed by Justice Farkye.

He then filed a fresh application for bail at the court of appeal which was moved on October 11, by his counsel, Tony Lithur, before Justices B.T. Aryeetey, Samuel Marful-Sau and Mariama Owusu and this was also dismissed on November 2.

In the court yesterday to argue the motion for leave to adduce fresh evidence in the substantive trial were Mr. Lithur for Abodakpi, Ms. Gertrude Aikins, Acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for the state, Mr. William Addo for Justice Farkye and Mr. Frank Davis who represented the interest of Justice Abban.

They argued before Justices S.E. Kanyoke, presiding; Yaw Apau and Francis Kusi Appiah.

Mr. Lithur said the specific evidence being sought was to prove that Justice Abban directed Justice Farkye whom she caused to be called out during the delivery of the judgement in the case to impose a sentence of 10 years instead of the intended four years that Justice Farkye had planned.

He said if the court allowed the evidence to be adduced before the court it will enhance the applicant’s chances of success in the appeal.

Responding, Ms. Aikins said the incidence of the trial judge leaving the court room in the middle of the judgement was not unusual as judges are human beings and suffer from all human frailties.

She said neither counsel nor his client were in the room where the two judges allegedly held discussions to overhear what transpired between them, adding “it is unclear under what order or authority the applicant is bringing the application”.

She said Abodakpi’s claim were allegations which did not exist during the trial and could not now come to say that he wants to introduce it.

When Mr. Addo took his turn, he said Justice Farkye’s judgement in the trial was not in anyway influenced by the collection of the said acts from Justice Abban and could be attested by the flow of the language in the judgement.

He said the applicant did not raise the issue of bias at any stage of the trial and could not turn around to introduce it now, adding that “the allegation that there is a real likelihood of bias on the part of Justice Farkye which occasioned a miscarriage of justice to the applicant is not true”.

Mr. Davies who did not file any response but observed proceedings said “the piece of allegation that Justice Abban whispered to Justice Farkye to increase the sentence to 10 years instead of four is rather scandalous”, adding “counsel for the applicant is being speculative”.

President's accident man refused bail again

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday December 1, 2007
Thomas Kofi Osei, the 51-year old man who allegedly drove into President J.A. Kufuor's car has been refused bail for the second time by the Motor Court in Accra
The court presided over by Mr. Samuel Diawuo said yesterday that it refused him bail because the police needed time to conduct thorough investigations into the circumstances that led to the accident.

The court had acted on the prosecution's request.

Osei drove into the President's car on November 14 at about 11:30 am, forcing it to overturn. The President was unhurt but his driver, Osafo Addo was treated and discharged at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.

When Osei appeared in court yesterday, he had no plaster on his left eye as previously. He was in handcuffs, in the company of armed policemen.
This time around, he had a counsel.

On his first appearance on November 16, Osei was charged provisionally with four counts of dangerous driving, negligently causing harm, driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to give way to the presidential convoy.

His plea was again not taken but the case for the prosecution was made known to the court.

Duodu, a Principal State Attorney who had taken over the case said that the case docket was brought to the A-G's Department for advise only yesterday and the prosecution needed time to study it and prefer the appropriate charges against the accused.

But Kwame Boafo Akuffo, counsel for Osei said he did not understand why his client should continue to remain in detention when Osei had already admitted the offence.

He said once it was President's car which was involved in the accident, the security agencies had everything at their dispossal to conclude investigations before his client appeared in the court yesterday

Presenting the case for the prosecution one more, Chief Inspector Seiwaa who prosecuted the case on the court's first sitting on November 16, said that about 11.30 a.m. on November 14, Osei was driving a Mercedes Benz Saloon Car SE500 with registration number GT 2989W in the inner lane along the South Liberation Link from the direction of AFGO, towards the 37 Military Hospital area in Accra.

"On his arrival at the traffic light intersection at Opeibea House, Osei ignored the presidential siren and drove straight into the near (side) of the President’s Mercedes Benz S500 being driven by Mr. Osafo Addo."

She said the President’s convoy was coming from the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange towards the Osu Castle and the President’s car was in the middle lane.

"The impact forced the President’s car to turn round and hit a light pole on the central reservation.

"The President’s car finally fell on the right side and landed on a VW Golf car with registration Number GW 8750X which was in the inner lane from the 37 Military Hospital direction".

The prosecutor said the Golf car was being driven by a pastor, Ken Joe Osei Kuffour.

"All the vehicles were damaged and the drivers sustained injuries and were rushed to the 37 Military Hospital where Mr. Osafo Addo and Pastor Kuffour were treated and discharged.

"The President escaped unhurt," the prosecutor added.

She said investigations revealed later that Osei was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol because when samples of his urine were taken for testing, it contained 0.41 per cent of alcohol.

She said the legal limit allowed for driving is 0.08 per cent.

Osei will appear before again on December 14.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Engineering and Energy can bring economic growth

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday December 1, 2007
The President of the Ghana Institution of Engineers (GhIE), Dr Essel Ben Hagan, says the close connection between engineering and energy services should be harnessed to support the nation’s economic growth.

This he said can be achieved through capacity building of indigenous engineering firms, facilitating innovation in the energy sector and strict regulation of engineering practice.

Dr Hagan was speaking on the occasion of the 38th Presidential Address of the GhIE in Accra on Thursday, under the theme: “sustaining the 3e Nexus in Ghana: Engineering Energy and Economic growth”.

Dr Hagan said “reliable and sustainable supply of energy is a critical input to this economic growth, and the engineers of Ghana are poised to provide the needed human resource to the energy sector to achieve this objective”.

He said in the 2008 budget statement it was made clear that the government was putting in place many interventions to expand the energy sector for future use and engineers will have to position themselves properly in order to be part of the expansion programmes.

“The challenge is on us to seize the opportunity to fit into the government’s action plan for the energy sector.”

On renewable energy system he said, “Ghana has significant renewable energy resources in the form of direct solar radiation and biomass as well as wind energy along the coastline which could be developed to support national development”.

Dr Hagan urged indigenous engineers to participate fully in the development, installation, repair and maintenance of renewable energy systems.

He also challenged the Volta River Authority (VRA), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and independent power producers to support the development of renewable energy and integrate it into their systems.

He said the recent energy crisis that hit the country should serve as a constant reminder for all stakeholders to promote effective energy security for the country.

He commended the government’s effort to encourage the use of energy efficiency bulbs, saying that “the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation tells how the crisis affected us”.

He said the recent oil discovery presents real challenges and opportunities for indigenous engineers.

Louis Casely-Hayford, an energy expert and past president of GhIE who chaired the function said the responsibility rests on engineers to take advantage of the offers in the budget statement to support the government to promote energy efficiency.

“Engineering, energy and economic growth are very crucial in today’s circumstances as well as the future development of the country”.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tagor and Abass jailed 15 years each for coke deal



Tagor (Left)and Abass (Right) being escorted to prison

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday November 29, 2007
AFTER a exactly a year, the trial of Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor and Issah Abbas, two leading figures in what came to be known as the MV Benjamin cocaine scandal, ended yesterday with the Fast Track High Court handing down a total of a 30 year jail term.

Tagor and Abass are to serve 15 years each in jail and the sentence takes retrospective effect from August 3, 2006 when they were arrested.

In a rather dramatic twist the Presiding Judge, Justice Jones Victor Dotse, surprised everybody including both the prosecution and defence, when he announced at about 9.36 am that he was ready with his judgement.

He had previously adjourned proceedings until yesterday November 28, for the court to fix a date for judgement but after a brief meeting with defence counsel and the prosecutions in the courtroom he announced that “I will give judgement in this case at 11:30 am”.

It came as a big surprise to the audience including scores of journalists some of who especially those in the print media started making frantic phone calls to get their photographers to position themselves outside the court’s premise to take photographs of Tagor and Abass.

Tagor had been charged with four counts of conspiracy, engaging in prohibited business related to narcotic drugs, but the court found him guilty on two counts of conspiracy and buying of narcotic drugs.

He was acquitted and discharged on two counts of supply of narcotic drugs.

The court held that the prosecution could not lead evidence to establish the guilt of Tagor on those two counts.

In the case of Abass, he was charged with three counts of conspiracy, engaging in prohibited business related to narcotic drugs and supply of narcotic drugs but was convicted on two counts of conspiracy and engaging in prohibited business related to narcotic drugs.

The court acquitted and discharged Abass on the count of supply of narcotic drugs because the prosecution could not lead enough evidence to establish his guilt.

Tagor and Abass were among 14 people recommended for prosecution by the Justice Georgina Wood Committee set up by the Ministry of the Interior last year to investigate the case of 77 parcels of cocaine and another quantity of the substance, seized from a house at East Legon in Accra in November 2005.

The setting up of the committee came about as a result of a meeting allegedly held at the residence of Assistant Commissioner of Police ACP Kofi Boakye, then Director of Police Operations, with four persons including Tagor and Abass, which was secretly rewarded by an unknown person. Abass later in evidence before the court claimed he recorded the proceedings.

However, the court did not order seizure of the numerous property including landed property, the vessels of Tagor and Abass which the prosecution tendered in evidence in the course of the trial.

The court’s reason was that the prosecution failed in establishing that the property belonged to Tagor and Abass even though the judge had admitted that he did not like the answers given by Tagor and Abass on the property issue.

Convicting the two on the charge of conspiracy, the court held “there is no doubt that a meeting was held at the residence of ACP Boakye in a cordial and brotherly manner and it was at this meeting that they agreed to look for the missing 76 parcels of cocaine to share. This is the extent to which they conspired.”

He said Tagor and Abass on the secret tape recording openly admitted undertaking an activity which was primarily geared towards the promotion of an enterprise related to narcotic drugs.

The court said Tagor had confessed openly that he credited 200 kilogrammes of cocaine which he arranged payment of 100 kilograms in Holland while Abass also confessed dealing in cocaine previously.

The court said the defence offered by the convicts that they were bating Kofi Boakye to talk could not be accepted because they made genuine confessions adding. “How can someone who claimed to be bating another implicate himself to this extent?”

He said the evidence given by Colonel Isaac K. Akuoku (Rtd), the former Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board who testified at the instance of Abass collapsed the convicts alibi of bating.

During his evidence, Col Akuoku (Rtd) denied ever knowing Abass.

Turning to the prosecution’s inability to charge ACP Boakye the judge said “I am not personally comfortable with the Attorney-General’s decision not to put ACP Boakye on trial because he made serious statements on the tape and should have been called upon to answer.”

“I am not saying this out of malice. I know the decision to prosecute is the discretion of the Attorney General but the silence on ACP Boakye is not the best.”

“I do not also have anything against the prosecution for not using ACP Boakye as a witness because whatever he could have told the court was said by Acheampong who was also at the meeting but ACP Boakye was very fit for the prosecution to try.”

“ACP Boakye was not tried and only time will tell if the AG will ever put him before a court.”

Regarding the initial investigator Chief Inspector Justice Nana Oppong, the judge said “he did a shoddy investigations” and also added that the then Greater Accra Regional Police Crime Officer, Bright Oduro did not act professionally at all.”

He called on the Police Administration to always investigate the backgrounds of police investigators before assigning them to high profile cases saying “there were several lapses in the initial investigations at the regional level but when the Police Headquarters took over, Chief Inspector Adaba acted timely.

The court further said the attempt by Abass to link Mr. Adaba to those officers who had gone to Ada to arrest Sheriff Asem Darke, owner of the cocaine, was unfortunate.

The court held the Chief Inspector Adaba was able to convince the court about the terminologies used in the drug trade saying “words such as ‘goods’, ‘business’, ‘keys’ or ‘nsafoa’ heard on the tape referred to the cocaine business.”

Turning to those who analysed and examined the contents on the tape the court held “no defence counsel was able to contradict the evidence by Professor J.P. French, Phillip Harrison and Professor Kofi Agyekum. I found competence, experience and credibility in all their work.”

“They did an excellent job. Whenever they could not attribute or assign any person to any speaker they were very frank to the court. The tape is very authentic. It was not contradicted.”

Tagor was in clutches when he appeared before the court yesterday and when asked by the judge he said “I was playing football in prison when I got injured,” to which Justice Dotse said “have my sympathy.”

The judge took about four hours to deliver the judgement.

Tagor, Abass, Acheampong, Ababio and Yaw Billah were arrested on August 3, soon after testifying before the Justice Georgina Wood Committee on suspicion that they had knowledge in the missing 76 parcels of cocaine brought into the country by the vessel M.V. Benjamin.

The two men, together with Kwabena Acheampong and Victor Kisseh, also called Yaw Billah earlier on November 23, 2006 had been discharged by an Accra circuit court after the Attorney General (AG) filed a “Nolle Prosequi” indicating its unwillingness to pursue the case, but Tagor and Abass were re-arrested on the orders of the AG and charged at the Fast Track High Court with fresh charges.

Acheampong was brought to court but was later turned into a prosecution witness.

Two others, Kwadwo Ababio and Alhaji Moro who were arrested together with the above mentioned were also not tried.

The facts as presented by Ms Gertrude Aikins, Chief State Attorney, are that on April 26, the MV Benjamin vessel, also called Adede 2 anchored at the Tema Harbour where 76 out of 77 parcels of cocaine were off loaded into two canoes which carried them to the Kpone Beach, near Tema.

“The news of the arrival of the cocaine spread like wildfire in the underworld and the security agencies started investigating the matter,” she said.

Ms Aikins told the court that the then Assistant Commissioner of Police in-charge of Operations, Mr. Kofi Boakye, invited the accused persons to his residence at Kanda, Accra, in connection with the missing parcels.

At the said meeting, the accused voluntarily confessed to their dealings in narcotic drugs and even boasted about previous activities relating to narcotic drugs and further settled old scores and disputes.

In the process, they openly confessed that they had purchased, supplied, paid for, certified, credited and distributed drugs in and outside the country.

The confessions, Ms Aikins told the court, were recorded.

The accused at the said meeting also agreed to locate the 76 parcels of cocaine, seize and share it in furtherance of their business of dealing, promoting and establishing narcotic drugs because the quantity brought by the MV Benjamin was too much for one person to enjoy it alone.

Police order Accra taxi drivers to wear uniforms

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday November 29, 2007
From December 15, taxi drivers who don’t wear the AMA prescribed uniforms will not be allowed to operate, Assistant Commissioner of Police Daniel Avorga, in charge of motor Traffic Unit has said.

The police are determined to enforce the Accra Metropolitan Assembly’s directive to taxi drivers to wear the light blue shirt over dark trousers uniform. Mr. Avorga said yesterday at a meeting of stakeholders.

The drivers strongly opposed the idea when it was initiated a year ago, citing various reasons including their inability to afford the cost.

The meeting attended by Mr. Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson, the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive and representatives of commercial transport operators was convened by the AMA to announce the enforcement of the embossment of all taxis with identifications and the wearing of uniforms by taxi drivers.

Mr. Avorga said, “this idea is a good one. It is not the first time we are introducing this. All taxi drivers should comply into the Assembly’s directive by December 15.

“When drivers are in uniform it enhances cohesion, discipline, quick identification and makes their control very easy.”

“We do not want to be seen to be driving drivers to court over this issue. Just comply with the directive.” he said.

Mr. Avorga said that the MTU is in a position to direct and control traffic before, during and after the Ghana 2008 tournament.

On his part, Mr. Adjiri Blankson said the assembly has the power to ensure total discipline in the city through the enforcement of its by-laws.

“We are not against drivers. We only want to ensure that the profession gains respectability.”

He said the AMA has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC) to enforce the wearing of uniforms.

On identification for taxis Mr. Adjiri Blankson said since the exercise started in January, a total of 17,632 taxis have been registered and embossed with serial numbers.

“With the introduction of this programme the incidence of taxis involved in robbery has reduced drastically. We have to introduce interventions to sanitise the city”, he stated.

Mr. Matthew Hayford, Acting General Secretary of GRTCC said “our members are now seeing the need to wear a uniform and register their taxis.”

His suggestion that the drivers be allowed to put on ‘African wear’ on Fridays and weekends was accepted by the Chief Executive.

Discussions over the introduction of the uniforms began last year between the AMA and the GRTCC.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two bodies, which assigned the GRTCC the responsibility of educating the drivers about the need to wear the uniform, while the AMA focused on the embossment of vehicles which began on February 5 this year.

Ali Baba Bature, Public Relations Officer of the AMA, explained to the Times that the AMA was compelled to take up the issue of the uniforms when it was realised that the GRTCC’s effort was not having the desired impact.

He added that any taxi driver who fails to comply with the directive will pay a fine
GH C200 or a six month prison sentence.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

MUSIGA Ordered To File Defence

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday, 28 November 2007
AN Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday refused to set aside a writ of summons filed by Gyedu Blay Ambolley, a musician, who wants an order of interim injunction on the recent elections held by the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA).

Instead, the court, presided over by Justice Victor Ofoe, asked MUSIGA to file their defence for the court to determine whether or not Mr Ambolley has the capacity to sue the union.

Initially, Mr Am-bolley filed an exparte motion for injunction but the court said it could not grant his claims because the nature of his application demanded that MUSIGA was served on notice for it to contest those claims.

He repeated the application on notice and prayed the court to, among other things, declare that the vetting committee, set up by the union was unconstitutional and another declaration that he was eligible to stand for position of president of the union

Mr Ambolley claimed that by virtue of article 8(3) of the union’s constitution, any member in good standing could contest for a position, adding that on October 4, he filed his nomination to contest for the position of president but was prevented by the vetting committee from contesting.

When MUSIGA was served with Ambolley’s processes to appear before the court, it came to contest that the plaintiff did not follow due procedure in filing the application and that he had no capacity to institute the application in the first place.

Moving the motion to set aside Ambolley application for interim injunction, Mr Adjabeng Akrasi, counsel for MUSIGA said "the plaintiff’s address is defective and the mode of service of all the named processes constitute a fundamental breach."

He said: "Mr Am-bolley is not known to the union, to the extent that he is not of good standing, not having paid any dues or at all, for a considerable number of years."

Reacting, Mr Akoto Bamfo, counsel for Ambolley said the union had correspondence with his client through the address used in filing the application and he wondered why MUSIGA could argue that the address is incomplete and insufficient.

He said the issue raised by Ambolley could not be resolved by affidavit evidence adding, "We ought to lead evidence through a trial to resolve the issue".

Mr Akrasi however cut in to say that when filing the application Mr Ambolley had the responsibility to satisfy the court that he had capacity to sue the union. He said MUSIGA was permitted under the law to raise this issue at any stage of the trial.

Justice Ofoe ruled, "MUSIGA should file its defence for the matter to be looked into. As for the issue of address it can easily be taken care of by Order 80 of the High Court rules."

On October 22, Ambolley submitted himself before the union’s vetting committee for the position of president but said he later realised that the union was wrong in forming the vetting committee.

He subsequently wrote to the committee on October 30 to announce his decision not to submit himself for vetting but the committee ignored it but went ahead on November 2, to disqualify him from contesting for the position of president.

On November 14, the union held its annual congress in Sunyani and elected unopposed Mrs Diana Hopson as the new MUSIGA president .

Court to rule in mini-trial of cop

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday November 28, 2007
A Fast Track High Court in Accra will on November 29, give ruling in a mini-trial in a substantive case involving a policeman and a civilian being tried for allegedly dealing in cocaine.

The case involved Lance Corporal Ekow Russell, one of nine policemen interdicted in April, last year, for dealing in cocaine, and a civilian, Maxwell Antwi, whom the police claim Russell had given the narcotic drugs.


On November 7, when the prosecution sought to tender Antwi's statements in evidence, his counsel Musah Ahmed, objected, saying “Antwi gave the statement based on police assurance that he was going to be released on bail”.

He said that after the statement was taken, Antwi was not given the opportunity to seek the advice of a counsel and cited the “Illiterates Protection Act” as not being followed by the police.

“My client was dribbled by the police and we are calling for an enquiry into this," counsel said.

The prosecution had insisted that Antwi’s statements on March 27 and April 12, were taken in the presence of Samuel Sarku, an independent witness.

Left with no option, the court immediately commenced a trial within trial to unravel the truth.

Sarku and Chief Inspector Michael Addai, the investigator in the case, took turns to testify before the court.

When Antwi took his turn yesterday, he admitted that his statements were taken without any threat from any police officer and added that he gave it voluntarily.

He denied that Inspector Addai read over what he had written to him saying “I spoke in Twi and the investigator recorded in English. He only asked me to sign when he had not read over to me what I had told him”.

He further claimed that Sarku was called in by the investigator to witness the statements when the whole process of statement taking was over.

Antwi admitted that he was the person who had mentioned Russell’s name to the police and not Chief Inspector Addai saying “when I was arrested I told them that the bag I was holding belonged to Russell but I did not know that there was cocaine in it”.

He claimed that Chief Inspector Addai had advised him to accept responsibility for the case to enable Russell to secure the services of counsel on their behalf.

Russell is facing three counts of possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority, supplying narcotic drugs without lawful authority, and dealing in prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs. Antwi is charged with one count of possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority.

On November 2, the court dismissed an application for discontinuation of the case against Russell. His counsel, Captain Effah-Darteh (retired), had submitted that Russell had been processed before the Police Service Enquiry at the same time that the trial was proceeding.

The case for the prosecution was that on March 27, Antwi was arrested by the police with a whitish powdered substance which was later tested to be cocaine.

During interrogation, he alleged that it was part of 900 grammes of cocaine given to him by Russell to sell and claimed that he had already sold some quantities and given the proceeds to Russell.

The prosecution said on January 16, Russell, together with a team of policemen and accompanied by some Nigerian informants, arrested Sebastian Uba, also a Nigerian, with eight slabs of cocaine.

Russell, according to the prosecution, asked his colleagues to wait outside Uba's house while he entered with the informants.

"While his colleagues sent the suspect to the police station, Russell and the informants drove in one car towards Achimota with the cocaine and when they got to a point, Russell shared the drugs among the informants," it alleged.

Russell allegedly gave five slabs of the cocaine to the informants, brought one to the office as exhibit and kept two, thus creating the impression that he had seized only one slab from Uba.

The prosecution further told the court that Uba escaped from police custody on January 31, when Russell was instructed to take him from the La District Police Station to the Regional C.I.D. for investigations.

Witness contradicts evidence of accused

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday November 28, 2007
A defence witness who testified at the instance of Joseph Kojo Dawson, the MV Benjamin vessel owner standing trial for allowing his vessel to be used to import 77 parcels of cocaine into the country yesterday contradicted the evidence of the accused person.

Dawson, standing trial together with the vessel’s crew that brought the cocaine had told the court in October that he paid off the crew in March 2005, before Sheriff Asem Darke, the man wanted in connection with the importation of the cocaine allegedly engaged them when he chartered the vessel to tow his distress vessel from the high seas in Conakry Guinea.

But when Prince Otchere an accounting personnel from Dashment Company Limited, joint owners of the vessel where Dawson is the Managing Director testified he told the court that he paid off the crew in February 2005, and not March.

When suggested to him by William Kpobi, a Principal State Attorney prosecuting the case Dawson had testified that it was March, Otchere said “I will be surprised because I was in charge of the payment of salaries of workers at Dashment and I paid them off in February when the vessel developed a fault.”

Dawson is being tried with four others for the importation of the narcotic drug.

Dawson and his accomplices - Isaac Arhin, 40, Phillip Bruce Arhin, 49, a mechanic, Cui Xian Li, 49, a vessel engineer and Luo Yui Xing, 49, both Chinese, who were on board the MV Benjamin vessel that allegedly brought the narcotic drug package, in April 2006, lost their respective applications for submission of ‘no case’ after the close of the prosecution’s case.

The sixth person, Pak Bok Sil, a Korean vessel engineer, who was jointly charged with the five was acquitted and discharged by the court for lack of evidence.

The five men have been charged for the roles they played in the alleged importation of the cocaine to the Tema Port in April last year.

Sheriff, popularly called “Limping Man,” now at large, allegedly chartered the vessel from Dawson at 150,000 dollars under the pretext of towing his distressed vessel from Conakry, Guinea.

Isaac Arhin, Bruce Arhin, Li and Xing have all pleaded not guilty to two counts of engaging in prohibited business as related to narcotic drugs and possessing narcotic drugs unlawfully.

The prosecution called 13 witnesses after which the accused persons filed a submission of no case’ because they believed the prosecution failed to establish a case against them.

Led in evidence by D.K Ameley, counsel for Dawson, Otchere told the court that in early 2005, when the vessel developed a fault on the high seas the company sent canoes to bring the crew on board and 31 members were brought, leaving behind five crew including Isaac Arhin and Bruce Arhin on board the vessel.

He told the court that the two arrived in June and they were also paid off before Jil Bae, a joint owner of the vessel brought Sheriff to make arrangements for the charter of the vessel.

Defence counsel tendered through the witness documents showing the payment of the salaries of the workers at Dashment.

Earlier, John Kobena Dawson son of Dawson who had signed the charter agreement on behalf of the company testified before the court.

He told the court that he signed the agreement because when the company was entering into partnership with the Koreans he was the same person who had signed those documents.

He said apart from the Benjamin the company had two additional vessels and also added that he never knew Sheriff until the day that the agreement was signed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Private bailiffs system extended notionwide

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday November 26, 2007
Following the outstanding performance of private bailiff service companies in a pilot project, the Judicial Service has concluded that privatisation of court bailiffs should cover the whole country.

The service introduced the Court Process Service Scheme (CPSS) for private bailiffs in 2004, on a pilot basis, but has now turned it into a permanent programme, mandating private bailiffs to serve processes from all courts nationwide on litigants.

When the late Chief Justice, George Kingsley Acquah, introduced the project in 2004, only seven companies were given licences to serve processes from some selected superior courts. These included the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and some High Courts.

However, following their outstanding performance, the service has renewed their licences and also placed advertisements for more companies to join.

The seven licensed companies include: Johnson Complex Company Limited, which handles the Fast Track High Courts in Accra and Kumasi; A-Men International Limited is in charge of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and all the un-automated High Courts in Accra.

City Toll Limited is in charge of commercial courts and the Ho High Court, while Vakab Company Limited serves the Tema high courts, Equinos Limited is for Koforidua High Courts.

The rest are Ghana Post, which is handling the Cape Coast High Courts and Kahaz Services Enterprise is in charge of the High Courts in Sekondi/Takoradi.

As a result, court bailiffs will no longer be employed by the judicial service.

At a review meeting with the companys’ representatives in the Commercial Court building in Accra at the weekend, Justice Samuel Marful-Sau, chairman of the private bailiff certification board, however gave assurance that bailiffs, who are already in the service, will not be dismissed.

He said some will be re-assigned other duties in the service while others will carry out bailiff duties such as serving processes on government institutions.

He said the privatisation of the duties of court bailiffs was backed by the new High Court Civil Procedure Rules C.I.47 of 2004 which formed part of the effort to ensure efficiency and effective administration of justice.

Between July 2006 and June 2007 alone, private bailiffs were able to serve a total of 44,221 out of 49,393 processes from the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and some automated High Courts on litigants, representing 89.53 per cent.

He added that the companies could not serve all processes because some of the writs did not have detailed addresses.

Justice Marful-Sau, who is also with the Court of Appeal, said “the privatisation of the scheme has ensured efficiency in the way court processes are served on litigants and it is helping the courts to dispose of cases because such processes are time bound”.

Justice Sophia Akuffo, a Supreme Court judge, who has oversight responsibility of the scheme cautioned the private companies not to abuse the opportunity given them saying “the service will not hesitate to withdraw your licence if you are found to be impeding justice delivery”.

She urged them to minimise contacts with litigants in the course of effecting services, saying “do it expediently with integrity and honesty because the competence of the courts in justice delivery depends on the service you will render”.

Justice Akuffo said one problem that the judiciary and the entire nation needed to tackle was the issue of landguards adding “it is a demonstration of people taking the law into their own hands but it must not be allowed to stay”.

Mr. Prosper Adeti, Director of Finance of the Judicial Service, said the introduction of private bailiffs had made it simple and easy for the service to collate data on the number of processes served on litigants since the companies file their returns.

During open discussions, the companies expressed concern about the attitude of some staff of the service who they accused of not placing on case dockets, the processes they served on litigants.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Missing cocaine case: Court decides on three cops, Dec 21

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday November 23, 2007
AN Accra Fast Track High Court trying three policemen for their involvement in the missing 76 kilogrammes of cocaine will give judgment on December 21.

The court, presided over by Justice Annin Yeboah of the Court of Appeal fixed the date yesterday after recieving written addresses of both the prosecution and defence.

The three policemen:Sergeant David Nyarko, Lance Corporals Dwamena Yabson and Peter Bundorin have been charged in connection with the missing cocaine brought into the country on April 25, last year, by the vessel M.V. Benjamin.

They were alleged to have collected an undisclosed amount in US dollars from Sheriff Asem Darke popularly called Limping Man who is wanted by the police for the importation of 77 parcels of the cocaine, 76 of which were offloaded at the Kpone beach near Tema.

The prosecution led evidence to show that the policemen saw Sheriff at the Kpone beach offloading the cocaine but left him and his accomplices to go.

A fourth policeman, Detective Sergeant Samuel Yaw Amoah, who allegedly played a leading role in the case, escaped from the premises of the Greater Accra Regional Police Command soon after he was granted bail by an Accra Circuit court in September, last year.

The accused, all of whom are with the Tema Regional Police Command, have pleaded not guilty to two counts of engaging in a prohibited business related to narcotic drugs and corruption by a public officer.

They are currently in police custody.

Supreme Court decides on Dr. Anane on Dec. 21 (Unpublished Article)

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday November 22, 2007
The Supreme Court will on December 21, decide on whether or not Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice CHRAJ could proceed to investigate an allegation with or without a complainant.

On October 30, the five-member panel chaired by Justice Georgina Wood, the Chief Justice, had ordered the Attorney-General, CHRAJ and Dr. Richard W. Anane, former Minister of Transportation as an interested party, to file written legal arguments on the issue of ‘complainant’, for the highest court of the land to decide whether or not there should have been a complainant before CHRAJ investigated Dr. Anane.

The court had unanimously ruled that an Accra Fast Track High Court did not err when it quashed a ruling by CHRAJ which cited Dr. Anane for conflict of interest and perjury.

It had also granted a certiorari by CHRAJ against the High Court’s decision to interpret ‘Complainat’ in Article 218(a) of the 1992 Constitution in favour of Dr. Anane and held that the issue of whether or not there should have been an identifiable complainant before CHRAJ proceeded to investigate Dr. Anane fell under Article 130 of the Constitution which was an exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court which the High Court was not permitted to handle.

Other Justices on the panel were S.A. Brobbey, Dr. S.K. Date-Bah, Julius Ansah and R.T. Aninakwah.

On March 13, the Fast Track Court, presided over by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, ruled that CHRAJ was wrong in recommending that Dr. Anane, be relieved of his post and quashed the commision’s recommendation that the then applicant be relieved of his position as a Minister of State because he had "brought his power and office into disrepute" after it cited him for perjury, conflict of interest as well as abuse of power and office.

CHRAJ made the recommendations on September 15, last year and further asked Dr. Anane to apologise to the Appointments Committee of Parliament that approved his appointment as a Minister, for lying under oath.

The decisions were reached by the Commission after an 18-month investigation into allegations of corruption, conflict of interest and abuse of power levelled against the former Minister in his dealings with Ms. Alexandria O’Brien, an American with whom Dr. Anane has a child.

Dr. Anane had sought a declaration that the investigation by CHRAJ was "riddled with an irregularity" and a further declaration that there should have been a formal complaint lodged by an identifiable complainant before going ahead to investigate him.

Dr. Anane also prayed the court that another declaration that cited him for perjury was an error and an order of certiorari to quash the commission’s decision.

Dissatisfied with the ruling CHRAJ filed an appeal at the Supreme Court for a certiorari to quash the ruling of the High Court.

Nene Amegatcher, counsel for CHRAJ was the first to make his arguments, insisting that the commission could carry out investigations or initiate its own investigations when there has not been any formal complaint.

He said under Article 230 CHRAJ has the power to investigate compaints as well as investigate allegations that had not been brought before the commission.

But J.K. Agyemang, counsel for Dr. Anane, disagreed saying there should have been an identifiable complainant before CHRAJ set out to investigate his client.

He said Article 218 of the Constitution spelled out the functions of CHRAJ and the commission which he described as an 'inferior body' could not go beyond its jurisdiction to do the investigations.

'The allegations that CHRAJ can investigate when there is no complainant lodged is not true.There should be a complaint and there should be a cause for it'.

When Mr. Joe Ghartey, the Attorney-General took his turn he said 'I would like to focus mainly on how the subject matter relates to public policy', and urged the court to consider the literary meaning of 'complaint' in its interpretation.

He supported Mr. Agyemeng's arguments that there should be a complainant before CHRAJ could investigate saying 'unless there is a complaint CHRAJ cannot go out to investigate an allegation'.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

4 held for missing GOIL Coupons (Unpublished Article)

William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday November 21, 2007
The case in which four persons have been charged for allegedly stealing fuel coupons belonging to the Ghana Oil Company (Goil) to enrich themselves of about ¢4.5 billion has taken a new twist at the Accra Circuit Court where they are being tried.

When the case was called, the prosecution led by Mrs. Evelyn Keelson, a Principal State Attorney told the court that police investigations revealed that the amount involved had increased to ¢9.1billion and added ‘we are still investigating.’

Under the circumstance, the court presided over by Mrs. Elizabeth Edusei, which had adjourned proceedings yesterday in order to rule on the application for bail did not do but rather asked both defence and the prosecution to come back to the court today for the bail application to be renewed.

But when they appeared before the court the judge declined the grant of bailuntil December 5, to enable the police to continue investigating the matter.

Those remanded in police custody in connection with the missing coupons are Emmanuel Amegashie, a production technician at Camelot Ghana Limited, the company which prints Goil coupons, Lawrence Avorgbedor, former employee of Camelot, Joshua Kwamina Asamoah a taxi driver and Samuel Kofi Addo, an employee of Goil.

A fuel coupon is a ticket or document that can be exchanged for a financial discount on fuel products.

They pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy and stealing on their first appearance on November 8.

The prosecution’s case was that last September, Amegashie entered the hologram vault and was caught by security cameras installed at the place.

Amegashie, the prosecution said, was seen on the camera carrying away a box containing some items from the room.

Officials of the company upon a check later realised that 30,000 leaflets of GH¢20 and GH¢15 denominations of Goil coupons, all valued at ¢4.5 billion, were missing.

The prosecution said Amegashie gave the coupons to Avorgbedor who printed serial numbers on them and handed them over to Asamoah.

The prosecution said Addo, who resigned last month as a pump attendant, was brought into the deal by Avorgbedor to sell the coupons.

On October 30, Addo went on his usual rounds to sell more coupons but was arrested at Dansoman, in Accra.

The prosecution said upon his arrest, Addo led the police to pick up Asamoah who in turn also led the police to arrest Avorgbedor.

Avorgbedor consequently admitted the offence and led the police to pick Amegashie.