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General News Thu, 24 May 2001

Ex-Finance Minister & Four Others in Court for Fraud

Five senior public officers, including two ex-ministers in the NDC administrtation, were arraigned at the fast track high court in Accra Wednesday for their alleged involvement in the Quality Grains Company scandal which has resulted in the loss of over 20 million dollars to the state.


They are Kwame Peprah, former minister of finance, Ibrahim Adam, former minister of food and agriculture, Nana Ato Dadzie, former acting Chief of staff at the office of the president, Dr Samuel Dapaah, former Chief Director of the Ministry of food and agriculture and Kwesi Ahwoi, chief executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.


They are facing various charges of conspiracy and causing financial loss to the state.


A sixth accused person, Dr George Yankey, former director of the legal sector, Private and Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of finance, was not in court.


All the other accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.


The court, presided over by Mr Justice Kwame Afreh, an appeal court judge who sat as an additional high court judge, ordered them to continue to be on their self-cognizance bail granted by the police during investigations.

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Mr Justice Afreh adjourned the case until June 6 and urged both prosecution, represented by the Attorney-General Nana akufo-addo and the defence, led by Mr Kwaku Baah, to prepare their arguments on a constitutional issue the defence raised.


The defence said the opposition National Democratic Congress had instituted an action at the Supreme Court to restrain the Attorney-General from prosecuting the accused persons.


Counsel said due process of law requires that a person before court must have a clear knowledge of what he is accused of, adding that "we have not had anything except what was served on us this morning".


The defence counsel described the trial as subversive, a breach on the fundamental human rights of the accused persons and unconstitutional.


In reply, Nana Akufo-Addo said the NDC is not a party in the action. He said since the trial is not by indictment but a summary trial, it is not necessary for the prosecution to make known the charges in advance to the accused persons.

Source: Daily Graphic
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