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Court puts travel restrictions on Chief as bail condition

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Nana Osabarima Twiampomah III, Chief of Banka in the Ashanti Akim South District, who is being held for allegedly misappropriating $150,000.00 belonging to his community was on Wednesday admitted to bail by a Fast Track High Court.

The money misappropriated was a lease sum paid by Gulf Coast Resources Limited, a mining company, to the people of Banka after using their land for mining 10 years ago.

Charged with stealing, 52-year old Nana Twiampomah pleaded not guilty.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Charles Quist, ordered that the chief should be admitted to bail in the sum GH¢50,000 with one surety to be justified.

The surety should deposit a title deed equivalent to the principal sum of $150,000 to the Court’s registry.

Additionally, Nana Twiampomah was to sign a bond not to travel outside the country until the matter was disposed off.

The matter was adjourned to September 25th, 2012.

At today’s sitting, Mr Emmanuel Bright Atokoh, counsel for Nana Twiampomah repeated his application for bail, saying the accused would not interfere with prosecution’s evidence.

According to Mr Atokoh, his client was respectable member of society, adding considering the high office that he holds it would be an indictment to interfere in the legal process.

Prosecuting Chief State Attorney, Mr Matthew Amponsah did not object to bail but prayed for stiff bail bond to ensure that the accused was available for trial.

According to Mr Amponsah, the chief should be made to deposit half of the $150,000 as part of the condition for bail.

Presenting the facts, prosecution said the complainant was one Nana Yeboah, who is acting on behalf of the people of Banka.

According to prosecution, in the year 2000, Gulf Coast Resources Limited (GCRL), acquired a mining lease for a period of 10 years from the Minerals Commission to operate a gold mining on Banka lands. The mining lease however expired in 2010.

When the lease expired, GCRL wrote a letter to the Minister of Land, Forestry and Natural Resources for the renewal of their mining lease on Banka lands. The community spearhead by the accused person, vehemently challenged the renewal of the lease.

Mr Amponsah said in a letter dated June 10, 2010, the accused person and the people of Banka petitioned the Ministry of lands, Forestry and Natural Resources, protesting the renewal of the lease because GCRL had failed to fulfill its corporate social responsibility for the past 10 years.

Following this challenge, Mr Amponsah said GCRL entered into negotiations with the accused and the people of Banka. During the said negotiation, the company promised to pay $150,000 to the community as monies for development.

The accused and people, therefore, in a letter dated on January 13, 2011, withdrew their petition and the mining lease was renewed for another 10 years beginning from 2011.

Mr Amponsah said after the mining lease was renewed, GCRL paid the $150,000 and transferred their rights to another mining company known as Banka Gold Limited.

Prosecution said GCRL paid the amount as per Stanbic Bank Cheque number 534403 on June 14, 2011 and the accused acknowledged receiving the money and issued a signed receipt on June 14, 2011.

Mr Amponsah said accused failed to inform his people after receiving the money. Despite the several demands by the people over the payment, accused denied receiving the money and as such reported the matter to the Police.

In the accused person’s statement to the Police, he admitted receiving the money, saying the money was for his personal use and for the community.

Accused person, prosecution said, explained further that he used some of the money to defray his legal expenses when he engaged GCRL in a legal battle.

Source: GNA

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