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Three former Ministers and another on trial for causing financial loss

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The Trial of three Former Ministers and a former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) opened on Wednesday at an Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Mr Justice Bright Mensah.

The four are Richard Anane, Former Minister of Transport; Anthony Akoto Osei, Former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani, Former Chief of Staff and Samuel Crabbe, Former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of NPP.

Five others were expected to appear with them but they were not present in court. They are Mr Ralf Atkins; Kirk Heaton; Albert Vitali and Brain Brisby, all Former Directors of Ghana International Airlines Limited (GIAL) and Professor Gyan Baffour, Former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

The four have been charged with stealing, causing financial loss to the State, fraud and deceit of public officer regarding the roles they played in the formation of GIAL and the subsequent liquidation of Ghana Airways.

Anane and Crabbe, who is also President of Unger Oaks Limited, minority shareholders of the GIAL, have been additionally charged with wilfully causing financial loss to the State to the tune of $4.9 million.

Akoto Osei was also charged with six additional counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the State, fraud and deceit of public officer.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and were admitted to self- recognizance bail of Gh¢ 300,000 each to reappear on April 26, 2010.

Prosecuting, Ms Gertrude Aikins, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), said Anane misrepresented facts on GIAL, which was then not in existence, to the Cabinet of Former President John Agyekum Kufuor and misled the then government to pay shares into a fraudulent Company. She said the action of Anane subsequently led to the liquidation of Ghana Airways.

She said Anane declared that four companies had expressed interest in the then Ghana Airways and later presented a letter of intent, which was signed between the Government of Ghana and the GIAL to form a new company called the New Ghana Airways (NGA), although the GIAL was at that time not in existence.

Ms Aikins said although the memorandum Anane presented to Cabinet to sign was dated September 9, 2004, the GIA was not in existence as at that date.

She said although the PriceWaterhouseCoopers had rated the NGA, which had signed an agreement with the Government to form the GIAL, third after KLM and Ghanair, two other companies which had submitted their bid for the take over of Ghana Airways, the NGA won the bid.

She said Mpiani, on June 2, 2005, wrote to the Chairman of the Government Taskforce on Ghana Airways Limited authorizing the Taskforce to take all necessary steps to put the Airline into formal liquidation.

Ms Aikins said Akoto Osei signed a loan agreement committing the Government to a financial obligation of paying GH¢15 million from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to GIAL.

She said Akoto Osei gave the SSNIT amount to the GIAL as a loan, without parliamentary approval and at a time when the minority shareholders of the Airline had abandoned the Company by withdrawing an amount of $1.9 million from the GIAL account without the consent of the majority shareholder (Government of Ghana).

Ms Aikins said Mr Mpiani authorized the release of an amount of $6.0 million to GIAL in September 2008 without parliamentary approval.

According to the Prosecution Crabbe, who represented the minority shareholders in the Company, on June 27, 2005 withdrew $1.9 million from the Government of Ghana’s account, without approval from the Government (the Majority Shareholder).

She said GIAL was subsequently formed as a joint venture between the Government of Ghana and GIA/USA/LLC, as a result of which the GIAL had its maiden flight on October 29, 2005.

Mr Jacob Acquah-Sampson, Counsel for Anane rejected the claims of the Prosecution and said the facts of the case did not support the assertions.

He prayed the Court that his client be admitted to a self-recognizance bail because he was a law-abiding citizen and had so far cooperated with the government throughout the investigations.

Mr Kwame Boateng, Counsel for Crabbe said his client’s trial was occasioned by malice and nothing else.

He said the Prosecution was aware that the same case was before the International Court of Justice at the Hague and that the facts presented by the Prosecution were just a reproduction of what was going on at that Court.

Mr Atta Akyea, Counsel for Akoto Osei said the facts presented by the Prosecution were mere propaganda.

He questioned whether it was wrong for a Minister to obey Parliament’s instruction to issue funds to an ailing Company? And whether he should be accused of causing a loss to the State?

Mr Ellison Owusu-Fordjour, Counsel for Mpiani, said his client as the Chief of Staff did not do anything in his own capacity but acted on the authority of the Executive arm of Government.

He said monies alleged to have been released by his client to GIAL was done in accordance with the decision of the Cabinet and that he did not act in his own name.

Former President Kufuor was at the Court to give moral support to those on trial.

Source: GNA

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  1. can any one get me a material or alticle relating to the law causing financial loss to the state