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Crime & Punishment Thu, 15 Jun 2006

Konadu's Counsel moves stay of proceedings

Accra, June 15, GNA - Counsel for Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, a Former First Lady, and three others accused of causing financial loss to the State, on Thursday moved a motion for stay of proceedings stating that the charges preferred against the accused persons were "neither here nor there".
He said all that the Attorney-General was up to was that the accused should pay interest on a loan on the divestiture of Nsawam Cannery.
Mr Tony Lithur, also representing the Caridem Development Company, which bought the divested GIHOC Division of the Nsawam Cannery, said the Directors and Caridem had not caused any financial loss to the State.
Other accused persons included Sherry Ayittey, the Managing Director of CDC; George Mould, a Director CDC and CDC Limited as an entity.
The rest are Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, a Former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC); Thomas Benson Owusu, a Former Accountant of DIC; Kwame Peprah, a Former Finance Minister and Former Chairman of DIC; Georgina Okaiteye, a Director/General Manager of CDC and Larry Adjetey, a Director/Secretary of CDC.
An apology was sought for Benson Owusu, who was absent from Court. Counsel informed the Court that he was indisposed.
They have been accused of playing various roles in the divestiture of the Nsawam Cannery in 1995, and that their actions led to the loss of millions of cedis to the State.
The accused persons have denied the offence and the trial judge; Mr Justice Baffoe Bonnie has admitted them to self-recognizance bail.
Security at the Court was beefed up, when sympathizers of the accused persons trooped to the premises singing patriotic songs.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings and Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, a Former Minister in the last Government, witnessed the proceedings.
The Court would give ruling on the stay of proceedings on Mr Lithur said the Attorney-General, in instituting the action used State machinery to undermine his clients.
He said when the Auditor-General presented a report on investigations into financial and procedural improprieties in the divestiture of Nsawam Cannery Limited to CDC the A-G stepped in to use the findings to prosecute the accused persons.
Counsel noted that the facts contained in the suit at another High Court were the same in the criminal court. Nana Konadu has filed a libel suit against an Accra-based newspaper.
Mr Lithur stated: "By so doing, the A-G is abusing the process of law."
He said in or about 1994 the DIC advertised the sale by competitive bidding of GIHOC Cannery, which was a defunct food processing company at Nsawam.
Mr Lithur said the Caridem won the bid and bought the Nsawam Cannery.
Counsel contended that payment was effected, leaving the interest, which had been outstanding to date.
He said the criminal case before the Court was of political importance, because of the involvement of a Former First Lady and a Former Minister. Mr Lithur said it was for this reason that the A-G rushed to prosecute the accused persons, without waiting to see the outcome of the libel suit.
Mr Joe Ghartey, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, explained the two procedures that could warrant stay of proceedings.
He said in criminal matters a case could be stayed when there was a submission of 'No Case'.
He said this would enable the higher court to determine if the accused person had a case to answer.
The other instance was when a case in a civil suit was referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation. He said the jurisdiction to stay proceedings rested in the power of the Attorney-General, whose duty it was to decide whether to prosecute of not.

Accra, June 15, GNA - Counsel for Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, a Former First Lady, and three others accused of causing financial loss to the State, on Thursday moved a motion for stay of proceedings stating that the charges preferred against the accused persons were "neither here nor there".
He said all that the Attorney-General was up to was that the accused should pay interest on a loan on the divestiture of Nsawam Cannery.
Mr Tony Lithur, also representing the Caridem Development Company, which bought the divested GIHOC Division of the Nsawam Cannery, said the Directors and Caridem had not caused any financial loss to the State.
Other accused persons included Sherry Ayittey, the Managing Director of CDC; George Mould, a Director CDC and CDC Limited as an entity.
The rest are Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, a Former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC); Thomas Benson Owusu, a Former Accountant of DIC; Kwame Peprah, a Former Finance Minister and Former Chairman of DIC; Georgina Okaiteye, a Director/General Manager of CDC and Larry Adjetey, a Director/Secretary of CDC.
An apology was sought for Benson Owusu, who was absent from Court. Counsel informed the Court that he was indisposed.
They have been accused of playing various roles in the divestiture of the Nsawam Cannery in 1995, and that their actions led to the loss of millions of cedis to the State.
The accused persons have denied the offence and the trial judge; Mr Justice Baffoe Bonnie has admitted them to self-recognizance bail.
Security at the Court was beefed up, when sympathizers of the accused persons trooped to the premises singing patriotic songs.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings and Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, a Former Minister in the last Government, witnessed the proceedings.
The Court would give ruling on the stay of proceedings on Mr Lithur said the Attorney-General, in instituting the action used State machinery to undermine his clients.
He said when the Auditor-General presented a report on investigations into financial and procedural improprieties in the divestiture of Nsawam Cannery Limited to CDC the A-G stepped in to use the findings to prosecute the accused persons.
Counsel noted that the facts contained in the suit at another High Court were the same in the criminal court. Nana Konadu has filed a libel suit against an Accra-based newspaper.
Mr Lithur stated: "By so doing, the A-G is abusing the process of law."
He said in or about 1994 the DIC advertised the sale by competitive bidding of GIHOC Cannery, which was a defunct food processing company at Nsawam.
Mr Lithur said the Caridem won the bid and bought the Nsawam Cannery.
Counsel contended that payment was effected, leaving the interest, which had been outstanding to date.
He said the criminal case before the Court was of political importance, because of the involvement of a Former First Lady and a Former Minister. Mr Lithur said it was for this reason that the A-G rushed to prosecute the accused persons, without waiting to see the outcome of the libel suit.
Mr Joe Ghartey, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, explained the two procedures that could warrant stay of proceedings.
He said in criminal matters a case could be stayed when there was a submission of 'No Case'.
He said this would enable the higher court to determine if the accused person had a case to answer.
The other instance was when a case in a civil suit was referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation. He said the jurisdiction to stay proceedings rested in the power of the Attorney-General, whose duty it was to decide whether to prosecute of not.

Source: GNA
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