Court adjourns Ghana International Airlines case to December 20
An Accra High Court (Financial Division) on Monday adjourned hearing the case of former government officials charged with causing financial loss to the State in a matter involving Ghana International Airline (GIAL).
The decision was taken pending hearing by the Appeal Court on an application filed by three of the accused persons.
Mr Joshua Nimako, counsel for Dr Richard Anane, former Minister of Transport, informed the court that they had already made their submissions at the Appeal Court, which had slated the matter to December 1, for ruling.
Mr Justice Bright Mensah, the trial judge, adjourned the matter to December 20.
He, however, bemoaned the constant absenteeism and lateness of the accused persons in court.
Most of the accused persons were not in court on Monday.
Mr Joshua Nimako, counsel for Dr Anane and Ms Lydia Asante, who held brief for Nene Amegatcher, counsel for Prof George Gyan-Baffour, former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, explained that their clients were in parliament.
Mr Ellis Owusu-Fordjour, counsel for Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, former Chief of Staff, said his client had travelled outside the country for a medical check-up.
Mr Acquah Sampson and Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr, counsel for Dr Anane, Mr Mpiani and Prof Gyan-Baffour had filed three applications asking the High Court to order the prosecution to make available all pre-trial disclosures to aid the accused persons in their defence.
The accused persons are Dr Anane, Mr Mpiani, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Sammy Crabbe, former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of New Patriotic Party, and Prof Gyan-Baffour.
They are facing 22 counts of causing financial loss to the State, defrauding by false pretences, conspiracy to deceive public officers, deceit of public officer, misappropriation of public funds, opening an offshore account without authorisation from the Bank of Ghana, conspiracy to steal and stealing.
The accused persons have pleaded not guilty to the charges and the court has granted them self-cognisance bail.
The facts as presented by Ms Aikins are that Dr Anane misrepresented facts on GIAL, which was then not in existence, to the cabinet of former President John Agyekum Kufuor and misled government to buy shares of a fraudulent company.
Dr Anane’s action subsequently led to the liquidation of Ghana Airways.
Director Public Prosecution (DPP) Ms Aikins said Dr Anane declared that four companies had expressed interest in Ghana Airways and later presented a letter of intent, which was signed between Government of Ghana and GIAL, to form a new company called New Ghana Airways (NGA), although GIAL was at that time not in existence.
She said the memorandum Dr Anane presented to Cabinet for signing was dated September 9, 2004 but GIAL was not in existence at that date.
Ms Aikins said although PriceWaterhouseCoopers had rated NGA, which had signed an agreement with government to form GIAL, third after two other airlines, NGA won the bid.
She said Mr Mpiani, on June 2, 2005, wrote to the Chairman of Government Taskforce on Ghana Airways Limited authorising it to take all necessary steps to put the airline into formal liquidation.
The DPP said Dr 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 Dr Akoto Osei gave the amount from SSNIT to GIAL as a loan, without Parliamentary approval and at a time when the minority shareholders of the Airline had abandoned the company by withdrawing $1.9 million from GIAL account without the consent of majority shareholder, Government of Ghana.
Ms Aikins said Mr Mpiani authorised the release of six million dollars to GIAL in September 2008, without Parliamentary approval.
According to the prosecution, Mr 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.