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Prosecution amends charges against Asamoah-Boateng and others

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Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, Former Information Minister, his wife Zulieka Lowria and six others standing trial for alleged malfeasance, have to answer new charges against them.

They have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal offence and contravention of provisions of the Public Procurement Act.

The amendment was in relation to “technical defects” in the provisions under the Public Procurement Act.

The other accused persons are Frank Agyekum, Deputy Minister of Information, Kofi Asamoah-Boateng, Former Director of Finance and Administration, Kwabena Denkyira, Former Director of Finance and Administration of the Ministry, Dominic A. Sampong, Former Acting Chief Director, Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Prosper Arku of a non-legal entity firm.

Yasmine Domua, a businesswoman and one of the accused persons was however absent. Also in court was a non-legal entity firm, Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited.

Already, the accused persons had pleaded not guilty to other charges, including conspiracy, attempt to defraud by false pretences, deceit of public officer, which had been maintained by the State.

They were alleged to have conspired to defraud the State of GH¢86,915.85 in renovation works, undertaken on the Ministerial Block, during Asamoah-Boateng’s tenure of office.

The accused persons are already on bail in the sum GH¢10,000 each with a surety.

Amendment of the charges took place after the court had ruled that the prosecution led by Mr Anthony Gyambiby, Chief State Attorney could go ahead to amend the charges, which were defective.

It ruled further that the present court was a High Court no matter the name given to it and noted that the difference was that the Fast Track Court was automated.

On the affidavit filed by the prosecution it noted that it had been sworn by Mr Gyambiby, who was head of prosecution at Koforidua.

According to the court it was a known fact that Mr Gyambiby worked with the Office of the Attorney General and swore to the said affidavit before the Court’s Registrar.

The defence among other issues opposed, saying Mr Gyambiby was the head of prosecution at Koforidua and not Accra as such could not swear to the affidavit he had filed to support motion to amend the charges.

However, as soon as the pleas of the accused persons had been taken on the amended charges, defence counsels prayed the court to order the prosecution to recall five of its witnesses for further cross-examination.

According to them, it was the statutory rights of the accused persons or the defence counsels to request for the recall of the witnesses.

The prosecution, however, was of the opinion that the recall of the witnesses was not necessary because “no new materials” had been introduced in the case.

The court overruled the submissions of the defence counsels, saying the recall could only be made when fresh evidence was introduced.

It adjourned the matter to enable Mr Godfred Agyapong, Head of Audit at the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to continue answering questions from the defence counsels.

Hearing continues on April 14.

Source: GNA

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