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General News Thu, 28 Feb 2002

I worked tirelessly towards the development of Aveyime Project - Yankey

The former Director of the Legal Sector, Private and Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance, George Sipa Agyare Yankey on Wednesday told the Fast Track Court in Accra that his involvement in the Quality Grain project was in line with his job and for its progress.

He said as a civil servant, he duly took instructions from the then Vice President, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, who had responsibility for the project. Yankey, who was continuing with his defence at the Fast Track Court, explained that the Government of Ghana was not a party or a shareholder of the Quality Grain Company.

Kwame Peprah, former Minister of Finance and Ibrahim Adam, former Minister of Food and Agriculture are in the dock with Yankey. The other two are Ato Dadzie, former Chief of Staff and Samuel Dapaah, former Chief Director at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.


They have been accused of conspiracy and wilfully causing financial loss to the State. The five are alleged to have played different roles in the scandal that resulted in the loss to the State of more than 20 million dollars.


They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges and the court presided over by Mr Justice Kwame Afreh, an Appeal Court Judge, sitting as an additional High Court Judge, had granted each of them a self-recognisance bail.


Yankey said he did not sign any agreement in respect of the loans and that he did not collude with any bank to transfer money into anybody's account. Answering questions during cross-examination by Mr Osafo Sampong, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Yankey, a lawyer, said that he had been with the bar for 23 years.


He said in the Civil Service, he did not belong to an executive or secretarial class, but to the technical class. He said though there were classes in the Civil Service, he did not know of a legal class in the Service. Yankey said he knew that the Attorney General was the principal government's legal adviser, but not the sole adviser to the government.

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According to him, he did not give advice side by side with the Attorney General, but it was the government that sought for his expertise. He disagreed that by so doing, he was disturbing the functions of the Attorney- General.


Yankey said when the government wanted to set-up the legal department of the Ministry of Finance, he was invited to assist and that he did not apply for any position.


In an answer to a question, he noted that the Cabinet decided to set-up the legal department, because very often, legal matters referred to the Attorney-General's Department delayed.


When asked of the position that he held in the Quality Grain Company, he said he was a Nominal Director in the Company. He explained further that a Nominal Director did not have shares in a company, but has a role to play in the business.


Yankey said the first Quality Grain Company that was registered had two directors and included Mrs Juliet Cotton. At this point, the DPP enquired from him the date that the second company was registered. He said it was registered in February, 1996.

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When Mr Sampong asked how the company was administered, Yankey said it was a joint venture between the Quality Grain Company of the United States of America and the Government of Ghana, with the Vice President as a Director, who actually administered the company.


According to him, the company was administered from the Castle. Reacting to a suggestion by Mr Sampong that Yankey did not comply with the standing rule of the company, Yankey replied that there was no standing rule in the joint venture. Yankey explained that among the roles that he played was to ensure that the interest of the government was registered.


Earlier, a representative of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Wilfred Sam Awortwi, Legal Director of the Police Service, explained to the court that the IGP sent a letter which was dated February 11, to all Police Commanders to assist the defence team in the case, to visit the project site at Aveyime.


Mr Awortwi said a radio message was sent accordingly, to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Volta Region and the Superintendent of Police, Sogakope to offer the necessary assistance. The court, at the last sitting, invited the IGP or his representative to appear at the court on the basis of certain allegations made by the defence team.


He expressed surprised that one member of the defence team, Mr Kwaku Baah went to meet the Volta Regional Police Commander and arranged to visit the site on February 28, and therefore, did not see why the allegation was made. Mr Baah said he wanted the DPP to close his cross-examination before the visit. Hearing continues on Monday, March 4.

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