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Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Ya-Na's murder trial: 4 Not Freed Yet

Thursday, May, 2010,
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

The much anticipated release of four of the 10 persons being held over the murder of the Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, could not come on yesterday, because the District Magistrate who was to order their release was said to be indisposed.

State prosecutors had on Tuesday, disclosed that four of the 10 men put before an Accra magistrate court were going to be discharged and the six others committed for trial, but the court did not sit yesterday because Ms. Patricia Quansah, the magistrate, was reported not well.

Court officials made the announcement at about 8:45 am yesterday and consequently adjourned the case to May 31.

The sizeable number of sympathizers and relatives who had by 8:15 am, filled the court premises awaiting the arrival of the accused persons to the Court appeared taken aback by the announcement, and left the court premises after their leaders briefed them on the new development.

Meanwhile, counsel for the 10 persons, Atta Akyea, said he has written to the Attorney-General seeking the release of the four whose names have not yet been disclosed by the prosecution in the case.

“If there is no factual legal basis for their arraignment, then they should be released unconditionally,” Mr. Akyea told the Times in a telephone interview yesterday.

Chief State Attorney, Anthony Rexford Owiredu, who made the disclosure on Tuesday, declined to give the names of the four accused persons and the reasons for their expected discharge, saying that information would be given in court.


Asked whether he would initiate any action to compel the A-G to release the four persons, Mr. Akyea said: “we will only plead with the Attorney General to release them.”

The 10 accused persons are Iddrisu Iddi, 76; Alhaji Baba Abdula, 56; Kwame Alhassan, 53; Yidana Sugri, 42; Mohammed Kojo, 45; Mahamadu Abdulai, 57; Sayibu Mohammed, 34; Yakubu Mahamadu, 42; Alhassan Braima and Abubakar Mahama.

Yidani Sugri who is facing one count of unlawful military training, was on Tuesday, granted GH¢ 10,000 bail with one surety, while the others who face two counts of conspiracy to murder, and murder were refused bail.

The 10 persons were arrested on April 10, for their alleged complicity in the murder of the Ya-Na and 22; of his elders, and put before the magistrate’s court on April 12.

According to state prosecutors, the bill of indictment and summary of evidence had been prepared to commit six of them for trial on the next adjourned date.

Ya-Na and his elders were murdered in 2002 during a three-day siege on the Gbewaa Palace in an intractable chieftaincy dispute between the two royal gates-Andani and Abudu-of Yendi.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ya-Na's murder trial: 4 to be freed today

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

Four of the 10 persons put before court for the alleged murder of the overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, will this morning be freed when they make their third appearance at an Accra District Magistrate’s court.

The six others who have been indicted by the Attorney-General’s Department, are also expected to be committed for trial this morning Chief State Attorney, Anthony Rexford Owiredu, disclosed this yesterday, after the Accra Human Rights High Court refused bail for eight of them.

Mr. Owiredu declined to give the names of the four accused persons and the reasons for their expected discharge, saying that information would be given in court today.

The 10 accused persons are Iddrisu Iddi, 76; Alhaji Baba Abdula, 56; Kwame Alhassan, 53; Yidana Sugri, 42; Mohammed Kojo, 45; Mahamadu Abdulai, 57; Sayibu Mohammed, 34; Yakubu Mahamadu, 42; Alhassan Braima and Abubakar Mahama.

Yidani Sugri is facing one count of unlawful military training, while the others face two counts of conspiracy to murder and murder.

Nine of the accused had applied for bail on April 16, but the Accra Human Rights Court which heard the application, yesterday granted Yidana Sugri a GH¢10,000 bail with one surety but refused bail to eight others.

In granting Sugri bail, the court presided over by Justice U.P. Dery, pointed out that it did not understand why Sugri was charged together with the other accused persons since the prosecution failed to establish his connection to the Ya Na’s murder.

However, the court disagreed with the argument by Atta Akyea, defence counsel, that it was wrong for Sugri, who was once arrested, tried, acquitted and discharged, to be re-arrested and put before court again.

The court explained that the charge on which Sugri had been arraigned before the court had no bearing on the charge based on which he was acquitted and discharged, adding that it did not see any connection between the previous case and the present one.

According to the court, the eight others who were refused bail were not able to put up a reasonable case to warrant bail.

The court held that it was only when there was unreasonable delay that it could grant the accused persons bail, in view of the Act under which they had been charged, but “in the present case, there has not been any unreasonable delay because it is just a little over a month since the accused persons were arrested.”


Ya-Na and about 22 of his elders were murdered in 2002 during a three-day siege on the Gbewaa Palace in an intractable chieftaincy dispute between the two royal gates - Andani and Abudu of Yendi

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New twist in Exopa's coke trial

Thursday 13, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

THE trial of the Chief Executive of Exopa Model Agency, Sima Ibrahim, yesterday took a new twist following contradictions in the evidence of two prosecution witnesses who visited the accused person’s residence upon his arrest.

Although Anthony Smith, the officer who arrested Sima had testified in court on January 19, 2010, that they found tubers of yams similar to those which were stuffed with cocaine at Sima’s residence, Chief Inspector Andreas Kojo Sorbor, Head of Investigations at the Narcotics Control Board, yesterday testified otherwise.

Insp. Sobor told the court yesterday under cross-examination that neither traces of cocaine nor tubers of yams were found in the accused person’s residence.

“I did not see any yams in the house…I didn’t see any traces of cocaine,” Insp. Sorbor, told the Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Charles Quist.

According to Insp. Sobor, it was not true that the team of narcotic officials who visited the house of the accused on the dawn of September 7, 2009, saw or collected yams from the residence of Sima at Tema Community 10.

However, both Mr.Smith and Insp. Sobor who have testified in the case as first and third prosecution witnesses respectively, said they retrieved a knife, super glue and scrippers from the residence.

Sima, who organized the first-ever Ghana International Fashion Show in July 2009 after a successful Ghana Fashion Week last year is currently on remand at the Nsawam Maximum Prison on two counts of attempted exportation and possession of narcotic drug without authority.

Until his arrest, Sima has been very instrumental in re-awakening the country’s model and fashion industry with his agency which is training young promising models for the market.

When the case resumed yesterday after more than a months suspension, Insp. Sobor denied counsel’s claim by Sima’s counsel, James Agalga that the team that visited Sima’s residence searched the house.

According to him, when they arrived at the residence, Sima led them straight to the kitchen where the accused showed them a scripper, knife and a partly used super glue which he said was used for the cutting and the sealing of the yams.

Insp. Sobor who told the court that he has 19 years of police experience said those implements were on top of the accused person’s kitchen cabinet and disagreed with Mr.James Agalga’s claim that the team cut the ceiling as part of their search of the house.

He, however, admitted counsel’s claim that two guns belonging to the accused person were retrieved by the team, and noted that those guns were found in the accused person’s vehicles which were seized by the Narcotic Control Board.

Giving his evidence in chief, Insp. Sobor said on September 7, 2009 between 12 noon and 1:00 am he was called to the office to join other officers to go with the accused person to his residence at Tema Community 10.

He said about 10 policemen visited the house and the intent was to retrieve some implements the accused person told them was used to cut the tubers of yams to stuff with cocaine.

He said that in the house, the accused showed the implements which he identified as having used for the cutting and stuffing of the tubers of yam, adding that the team then took possession of the implements.

Under cross-examination, he told the court that he was not present when the accused person was arrested, stressing that he did not also interrogate him upon his arrest.


However, Insp. Sobor told the court that on their way to the accused residence, he asked him some questions based on which the accused told him something about the scripper,knife and the glue he used.

He disagreed with counsel that he was armed to the teeth at the time they visited Sima’s residence, stressing that could not tell if any of the team members was armed as claimed by counsel.

The case has been adjourned to May 20, for continuation

It is the prosecution’s case that on September 7, 2009, Sima arrived at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra to board a Lufthansa Flight to Germany and while going through departure formalities, Sima was suspected of carrying narcotic drug following which a search was conducted on him and his luggage.

The prosecution said that the search revealed some whitish substances suspected to be cocaine hidden in four tubers of yam which were found in Sima’s luggage, leading to his arrest.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The 'Jesus Onetouch' Case: Prosecution alleges threats on her life

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

By Stephen Kwabena Effah

THE Police prosecutor handling the case of the Accra-based pastor alleged to have defiled his 10-year old daughter says her life is being threatened.

“If I tell you there were even threats on my life you won’t believe it,” ASP Sara Ekua Acquah, disclosed yesterday at the Accra Circuit Court trying Nana Kofi Yirenkyi, Head Pastor of Jesus Blood Prophetic Ministry.

No details were given as to who, when and the medium through which the alleged threats were issued.

The prosecution’s claim came as a surprise to Nana Yirenkyi who is mostly referred to as “Jesus Onetouch,” and most of his church members and relatives who filled the courtroom.

According to ASP Acquah, the prosecution is having “security problems” at the Ministry’s Police Cells where the accused is being held, but again did not give details as to what kind of security threats they are faced with, citing security reasons.

In view of this, she prayed the court to remand the accused who is mostly referred to as “Jesus Onetouch,” in prison custody but his counsel, K.N Acheampong disagreed with the prosecution’s claim on the grounds that they are factually unfounded.

However, the trial judge, Mrs. Georgina Mensah-Datsa refused the prosecution’s plea to remand the accused in prison custody, saying “I have confidence in the police in protecting the accused person, the prosecution and the police station”.

She pointed out that it had always been very difficult to get remand prisoners to appear for trial whenever they are due to appear before the court.

Mrs. Mensah-Datsa thus asked the accused to be remanded in police custody but said it is within the powers of the police to send him to whichever police station it feels appropriate.

Sources close to the prosecution told the Times after yesterday’s proceedings that Nana Yirenkyi is likely to be moved from the Ministry’s Police cells to a different police station.

Nana Yirenkyi, who was arrested in March this year for allegedly defiling his daughter with whom he lived in Accra, is being tried on two counts of defilement and incest.

He has pleaded not guilty to both charges and is currently on police remand, having been refused bail three times

Meanwhile, the defence yesterday told the court of its resolve to appeal against its ruling refusing a submission of no case last Tuesday.

According to Mr.Acheampong, they have just received a corrected version of court proceedings and in the process of filing their appeal against the Circuit Court’s decision to refuse the submission of no case.

In the meantime, he told the court that they would file a stay of proceedings pending the appeal, hence urged the court to adjourn the case to May 24, to enable the defence to put its house in order.

On April 26, the defence made a submission of no case immediately the prosecution closed its case but the court on May 4 ruled that the prosecution has been able to establish a prima facie case against Nana Yirenkyi.

It consequently asked Nana Yirenkyi to prepare to open his defence yesterday but when the case was called after several hours of waiting for his counsel to make appearance, he announced his intention to appeal against the court’s decision.

It is the prosecution’s case that the victim, who was born out of wedlock, had been living with her mother until 2005 when she was sent to Nana Yirenkyi at McCarthy Hill, Accra to attend school.

The prosecution said between 2008 and 2009, Nana Yirenkyi started having sexual intercourse with her daughter on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays before church service.

It said in November 2009, Nana Yirenkyi requested the victim’s mother to talk to the victim who she said had put up a bad character.

According to the prosecution, it was at this instance that the victim revealed her ordeal to her mother who reported the matter to the police who gave her a form for medical examination.

Nana Yirenkyi was later arrested and put before court.





Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The GIA Case: Defence demands prosecution's papers

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

THREE of the five persons being tried for their alleged complicity in the liquidation of Ghana Airways and the formation of the Ghana International Airline Limited, are requesting for all documents that the prosecution intends to rely on for its case.

But the Attorney General has opposed the request, which was put forward by three of the five persons at the Accra Financial High Court where the case is to be heard.

The three are Dr Richard Anane, former Minister of Transportation; Dr Anthony Akoto-Osei, former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; and Kwadwo Mpiani, former Presidential Affairs Minister.

They argued that under Article 19 (1) and (2e) their clients are entitled to a fair trial within a reasonable time, as well as adequate time and facilities for the preparation of their defence.

As such, they are urging the court to order the prosecution to provide them with all exhibits and documents that the prosecution would rely on to put up a case against their clients.

Meanwhile, the court presided over by Justice Bright Mensah, was compelled to adjourn the case to May 17, because the A-G’s affidavit in opposition to the defence request was not served on the defendants until yesterday morning.

This is to afford the defence the opportunity to study the A-G’s affidavit and respond appropriately if the need be.

Other accused persons on trial in the case are Professor George Gyan- Baffour, former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Sammy Crabbe.

The five accused persons now variously face 22 counts of conspiracy, willfully causing financial loss to the state, defrauding by false pretences, deceit of public officer, misapplication of public funds, opening of an offshore account without authority from the Bank of Ghana, and stealing.

They have all pleaded not guilty to their charges and have been granted GH¢300,000 self-cognisance bail.

Four more people, who were not named, are said to be outside the jurisdiction of the court.

Meanwhile, the court room and premise was yesterday filled with some former government officials and members of the NPP.

Leading them were aspiring NPP flagbearer, Nana Akuffo Addo, Professor Mike Oquaye, Dr.Konadu Apraku, Sheikh I.C.Quaye, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey and Frema Opare.

There was spontaneous cheers by supporters of Nana Addo who flooded the court premise moments after he stepped out of the courtroom.

Giving a background of the case Ms Aikins said four applications submitted to the government of Ghana to help turn round the fortunes of the ailing Ghana Airways were presented to Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC) for evaluation in 2004.

She said in order of merit, the technical evaluation rated KLM/Kenya Airways Fidelity 67 70 per cent, Ghana Partners 51 per cent and Ghana International Airlines 44 per cent and Corporate Trade solutions, 31 per cent.

She said Dr Anane shifted the goal post to suit the third placed bid by demanding that government would like to partner who would put in equity though there was no real reason for that.

Ms Aikins said an evaluation was completed and in their report of April 22, 2004 PWC noted that “in its current form it is difficult to identify what benefits the plan offers the government. The GIA plan does not meet all the ministry’s requirement as specified”.

She said as far back as 2003/2004, Mr Crabbe had been operating an unincorporated company known as GIA and acted with Dr Anane to mislead cabinet that GIA USA LLC was in existence and was a reputable company.

Ms Aikins said prosecution would lead evidence to show that despite the existence of the factors, Mr Mpiani, Dr Osei and Prof Gyan Baffuor unlawfully disbursed or authorised the disbursement of 56 million dollars to the then floundering company, GIAL.

She said prosecution would also lead evidence to show that under the shareholders’ agreement signed on November 30 2004, the government represented by Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo, then Minister of Finance delivered the equity share of 4.9 million dollars which the Minority, represented by one Jonathan Duga, was to contribute 2.1 million dollars.

The prosecution said Mr Crabbe and his group deposited their share capital into Stanchart New York USA in GIAL’s account but they secretly took 1.9 million of the deposited equity without authorisation.

Mrs Aikins said with the theft, Mr Crabbe and his Minority group had since refunded 1.2 million dollars of the amount leaving an outstanding 700,000 dollars.

She said prosecution would lead evidence to show that the so called strategic partners had left the GIAL, that they had stolen part of the much needed initial equity and that there was no management to run the airline.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

One More Charged in Ya-Na's Case

Thursday, May 6, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah


ONE more person was yesterday, put before court for his alleged complicity in the murder of the Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II. This bring to 10, the total number of persons arraigned before court so far.

The accused person is Abubakar Mahama, and state prosecutors hinted that more people are expected to be arraigned soon.

The nine, others are Iddrisu Iddi, 76; Alhaji Baba Abdula, 56; Kwame Alhassan, 53; Yidana Sugri, 42; Mohammed Kojo, 45; Mahamadu Abdulai, 57; Sayibu Mohammed, 34; Yakubu Mahamadu, 42 and Alhassan Braima. The accused are alleged to have murdered Ya-Na in 2002 in his Palace at Yendi.

The Accra District Magistrate Court, presided over by Ms. Patricia Quansah, refused all the 10 persons bail, saying that it has no jurisdiction to grant them bail because it has only “summary jurisdiction.”

It said it could grant bail only when the facts of the case did not support the charges against the accused persons, it could not say so in the present instance.

The court asked the accused persons to apply for bail at the High Court if they so desired indicating that any decision apart from remanding them would be in conflict with the High Court.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Gertrude Aikins, said the prosecution had between April 12 and yesterday, “been able to get some evidence against the accused persons.”

She, did not state the kind of evidence the prosecution has, but asked for two more weeks for further investigations which, she said, was necessary considering the fact that the incident occurred in 2002, thus making investigations difficult.

Mrs. Aikins said that by the end of the two weeks the prosecution would be able to put forward a bill of indictment.

In view of the new evidence, the prosecution yesterday substituted the charge sheet on the nine persons who were first arraigned on April 12, with a new one but the charges of conspiracy, murder and unlawful military training remained.

The prosecution told the court that it would on the next adjourned date, May 19, consolidate the two dockets of the nine persons and the 10th accused person.

According to her, the prosecution is using the Wuako Commission’s report only as a basis for further investigations.

She said that Article 14 (3) of the Constitution inferentially admits that investigations cannot be conducted within 48 hours, hence the provision that persons arrested are put before court within that period.

Counsel for the accused persons, Atta Akyea, said “the charge as currently preferred is a ruse so that they (his clients) are deprived of their liberty.”

Describing the prosecution’s argument as a “clever manoeuvre” by the Attorney-General to secure further remand of his clients, Counsel
argued that “as it stands, the prosecution does not have a proper charge of murder for the court to exercise its jurisdiction under the criminal law not to grant the accused persons bail.”

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Sale of Ghana Telecom Case: Supreme Court Suspends Hearing

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
By Stehen Kwabena Effah


THE Supreme Court yesterday declared as “premature,” the referral to it by the Accra Commercial Court of the three constitutional issues for interpretation in the litigation of the sale of government’s 70 per cent shares in Ghana Telecom.

The court was of the view that some relevant materials which raise fundamental issues have not been put before it by the Accra Commercial Court which referred the three constitutional issues to the Supreme Court.

It has consequently suspended its hearing of the matter to enable the lower court call for those documents and make them available to the Supreme Court before the matter proceeds.

The issues referred to are whether an agreement executed by the government and ratified by Parliament can be challenged in the High Court, whether any procedural or substantive errors or defects in the Sale and Purchase Agreement was or can be cured by the ratification by Parliament and whether Articles 61.6, 10.7, 12, and 13.21 of the Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) dated July 3, 2008 and executed by government, Vodafone International Holdings BV and Ghana Telecom contravene the country’s constitution and therefore render the agreement void.

The Supreme Court adjourned the case indefinitely after counsel for the plaintiffs in the case at the lower court, Bright Akwetey, had drawn the court’s attention to the fact that efforts made at securing those documents at the High Court had proved futile.

The documents are: the original version of the Sales and Purchases Agreement (SPA) executed on July 3, 2008 between Ghana government and Vodafone International Holdings BV and Ghana Telecom, and amended version of the SPA.

Others are a copy of the report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the SPA which was presented to the government in October 2009, proceedings of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the SPA, a copy of the disclosure letter dated July 25, 2008, and a report on the valuation of assert of Ghana Telecom.

The rest are a report/or statement on the value of Volta Communication, a report on the asset of Onetouch, a report on valuation of the asset of Fibre Co., a report/or statement of the value of the asset of Fibre Co., a report of the Transaction Advisor on the SPA and the inventory of the assets of Ghana Telecom.

Mr.Akwetey argued that such documents, especially the original version of the SPA, were relevant to the court in determining the three constitutional issues and urged the court to order the A-G to provide copies of those documents.

He said that the issue of procedural errors was extensively dealt with by the Inter-Ministerial Committee noting that its report “contains a lot that could help us.”

But counsel for Ghana Telecom, Norbert Kudjawu, contended that it would be extraneous for the Supreme Court to make an order for those documents, indicating that “that is the duty of the High Court”.

He added that those documents were not relevant to the three constitutional issues referred for interpretation.

He said that the High Court judge, Justice Henry Coffie, considered the relevancy of all those documents to the case before the referral.


In view of Mr. Akwetey’s submission, the court said he ought to have drawn the High Court’s attention to the fact that it was pre-mature in referring the matter, and thus adjourned the case sine die for those documents to be provided.

The court was chaired by Justice Gerogina Wood, and had Justices William Atugubah, S.A. Brobbey, Date Baah, Sophia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Jones Dotse, Anin Yeboah and B.T. Aryeetey as members.

The substantive suit was initiated by Professor Agyemang Badu Akosah, Kossi Dedy, Dr.Nii Moi Thompson, Naa Kordai Assimeh, Rodaline Imoru Ayarna and Kwame Jantua in their capacity as Ghanaians.


They are contending that the Sale and Purchase Agreement entered into among the Government of Ghana, GT and Vodafone for the sale of 70 per cent of GT for $900 million was against the public interest and constituted an abuse of the discretionary powers of the government.

According to them, the decision of the government to transfer the assets, property, shares, equipment, among others, to Vodafone was obnoxious, unlawful and inimical to the public interest, particularly when no consideration was required to be paid by Vodafone for the stated assets.

The group argued that the three Ministers of State and the managing director of GT who signed the agreement on behalf of the government did not exercise the requisite level of circumspection required of them as public officers in relation to public property.

The plaintiffs are, therefore, seeking reliefs from the court, including a declaration that the agreement entered into by the government was not in accordance with the due process of law and was, therefore, a nullity.

They are also demanding that the court should give an order declaring that the forcible grouping of autonomous state institutions established by law — Voltacom, Fibreco, VRA Fibre Network and VRA Fibre Assets — with GT to form the purported Enlarged GT Group was unlawful and, therefore, void and of no legal effect.

The plaintiffs are further praying for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the government from disposing of its 70 per cent share of GT to Vodafone or any other foreign company without first exploring avenues for funding and better management in Ghana.

'Jesus Onetouch has case to answer'

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
By Stehen Kwabena Effah


THE Accra Circuit Court says a prima facie case has been established against the Head Pastor of the Jesus Blood Prophetic Ministry, Nana Kwesi Yirenkyi, who is alleged to have defiled his 10-year old daughter.

Ruling on a submission of no case initiated by the defence, the court presided over by Mrs.Georgina Mensah Datsa, said yesterday that the evidence adduced by the prosecution at the close of its case indicated that the accused has questions to answer.

It has thus asked the prosecution to prepare to open its defence on May 11, the next adjourned date.

The defence filed the submission of no case after the prosecution closed its case on April 26, after eight prosecution witnesses including the victim and her mother had testified in the case which started in March.

Popularly referred to as ‘Jesus Onetouch’, Nana Yirenkyi was arrested for allegedly defiling his 10-year old daughter with whom he lived, and is being tried on two counts of defilement and incest.

He has pleaded not guilty to both charges and is currently on police remand, having been refused bail three times.

Unlike previous days, yesterday’s ruling changed the mood of the accused person who always appeared in court looking calm and confident. The accused appeared shaken by the court’s decision that he should open his defence.

His church members, most of who always appear in court in a jubilant mood were also silenced by the decision of the court as they walked out of the court premise looking somewhat distraught.

It is the prosecution’s case that the victim, who was born out of wedlock, had been living with her mother until 2005 when she was sent to Nana Yirenkyi at McCarthy Hill, Accra to attend school.

The prosecution said between 2008 and 2009, Nana Yirenkyi started having sexual intercourse with her daughter on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays before church service.

It said in November 2009, Nana Yirenkyi requested the victim’s mother to talk to the victim who she said had put up a bad character.

According to the prosecution, it was at this instance that the victim revealed her ordeal to her mother who reported the matter to the police who gave her a form for medical examination.

Nana Yirenkyi was later arrested and put before court.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

MP granted bail in gold case

Saturday, May 1, 2010
By Stephen Kwabena Effah

The Accra Circuit Court yesterday granted the Member of Parliament for Sene, Felix Twumasi-Appiah, a GH¢100,000 self-cognisance bail in case in which he is charged with fraud and stealing in an alleged gold deal.

His accomplice, Juan Carlos, who is a Spanish, was also granted a GH¢150 bail with three sureties in view of the fact that he is not a Ghanaian citizen.

The court presided over by Mr.D.E.K. Daketse, had earlier given the two persons a GH¢100,000 bail each with two justified sureties in the case of Carlos but rescinded the decision following the plea of their counsel, Joshua Nimako to the effect that Mr.Twumasi-Appiah is an MP and also the fact that the sureties for Carlos was a bit harsh.

The two are facing three provisional counts of conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences and stealing but their plea have not been taken.

When the court resumed sitting yesterday after Thursday’s abrupt end following a near fire outbreak at the court premise, Mr.Nimako told the court that by the next adjourned date of May 18, “the matter would have been put to rest”

According to him, there has been new development in the case noting that have begun paying the 30,000 dollars involved in the case, saying “the money is almost paid”
He therefore prayed the court to grant his clients bail, noting that Mr.Twumasi-Appiah is an MP and the fact that they were willing to abide by whatever conditions the court may deem fit.

But ASP. Dery urged the court to take into account the fact that Carlos is not a Ghanaian, and for that matter he (Carlos) should be asked to provide sufficient sureties.

It is the prosecution’s case that the complainant, Juan Francisco Lozano, is a Spanish businessman who was on a visit to Ghana to transact business while Juan Carlos, is also a businessman and Mr.Twumasi-Appiah an MP

He said in March 2010, a certain Nana Kwame Donkor, another businessman, had a transaction with Mr. Lozano for his company to supply the latter with gold worth 160,000 dollars in three tranches.

However after two supplies, Nana Donkor was unable to supply the third tranche of gold and therefore promised to refund the remaining money to the complainant.

ASP Dery said Nana Donkor contacted the MP to help in the transfer of the money back to the complainant in installments, since it was not possible to transfer the amount in cash through the banks, hence two blank cheques were signed and left for the suspects to facilitate the transfer.

The prosecution said the money was to get to Spain through two persons who were called Ibrahim and Ishmael, and when the complainant sent the money through the account of the two persons in Spain, they bolted with it.

In addition, Nana Donkor paid 30,000 dollars as part payment to the police for the money to be given to the complainant.

According to the prosecution, the MP got Carlos to go to the office of the Unit Commander of Commercial Unit, ASP Yaa Tiwaa Danso, where Carlos claimed that Mr. Lozano was sick and could not come to Ghana, hence instructed him to collect the money on his behalf.

ASP Dery noted that it was after contacting Nana Donkor for the remaining money that the complainant was told that it had been given to the police to be given to him.
As a result, he said, the complainant contacted the police and he was told the money had been sent to him through his friend Carlos.

"My Lord, I am guilty"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

By Stephen Kwabena Effah

BARELY 72 hours after his arrest for attempted drug trafficking, the 56-year old music producer and self-confessed visa contractor, Sam Safo Kantanka, yesterday pleaded guilty when he made his maiden appearance at the Accra Fast Track High Court.


Although no official charge was read to him, he said: “My lord, there is no need for remand. I am guilty,” he told the court with confidence just when the presiding judge, Justice Charles Quist, ordered that he should be remanded in custody to appear again on May 27.


However, Justice Quist asked the man who is also known as Manga, to have patience in view of the fact that the substances he expelled had been forwarded to the Ghana Standards Board for analytical examination.


Saying that the proper thing should be done, Justice Quist asked the prosecutor, Chief State Attorney Asiamah Sampong to ensure that the Ghana Standards Board expedited action on the examination of the 96 thumb-sized substances suspected to be cocaine.


On Thursday, Kantanka told Narcotic officers that “I know I have committed an offence and I wish to be processed for court as early as possible”


When the case was called yesterday, Mr.Sampong asked the court to remand Kantanka in view of the fact that the substances have been forwarded for examination by the Ghana Standards Board.


Kantanka, who is resident at Sowutuom, a surburb of Accra, was arrested on April 27, at about 8:00pm while going through departure formalities to board a British Airways flight number BA 78 to London, on suspicion that he had ingested narcotic drugs.


A sample of his urine was tested and it proved positive for cocaine.


During interrogation by Narcotic Control Board officials, he was said to have admitted swallowing narcotic drugs claiming that it was given to him by one Stone of Ashongman Estate in Accra to be delivered to one Obroni in London for a fee of 4000 pound-sterling.


Kantanka was put under observation and between April 28 and April 29, he was said to have expelled 96 thumb-size pellets of substances suspected to be cocaine.


The substance has since been sent for examination.