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General News Tue, 24 Jul 2007

Rawlings, Baako in Fiery Exchanges

*You allow that your Kweku Baako to come and lie and lie - Konadu
*She is ignorant, confused and needs education - Baako

The former First Lady and President of the 31st December Women’s Movement, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, who together with five others, are standing trial at an Accra Fast Track High Court on 15 counts of charges pertaining to willfully causing financial loss to the state was at her insulting best last Thursday when she described the new charges against her and the five others as “stupid”.

Speaking on the Accra-based private radio station, Peace 104.3 FM, Mrs. Rawlings accused the station of allowing personalities such as Mr. Kweku Baako Jnr., Editor-In-Chief of the Crusading Guide newspaper, to use their network to peddle falsehood about her (Konadu) to the whole world.

Commenting and perhaps confirming a Daily Dispatch story that quoted her as describing the 15 new charges preferred against her and the others as nonsense, Mrs. Rawlings blamed Peace FM and Mr. Baako of peddling falsehood about her to the effect that as the Chairperson of Caridem Development Company Limited, she colluded with Ms. Sherry Ayittey, Managing Director of the same company to present false documents to the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), claiming that the General Manager of GIHOC Nsawam Cannery, Georgina Okaiteye, had written to accept Caridem’s offer to take over GIHOC Nsawam Cannery.

She noted that nowhere in a civilized world would journalists be allowed to discuss issues before a court of law without being questioned or dragged to court for contempt.

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But in a sharp response to the allegations, Baako suggested that Mrs. Rawlings would equally not have had the right to be politicking with issues before a competent court of jurisdiction in any civilized nation and that her disregard for that laid-down principle and lies on the issues before court at various foras is what has made the issue a fair topic for all.

He described Mrs. Rawlings’ utterances as resembling that of a confused person, saying the former First Lady was trying to confuse the general public with her ignorance of the law. He urged Nana Konadu to consult her lawyers for proper education on court procedures and others before coming out to rant on radio stations.

Mr. Baako noted that there was nothing unusual, strange or illegal about a prosecutor dropping charges and preferring new ones against an accused person, charging Mrs. Rawlings to stop throwing dust into the eyes of the people.

He dared the former First Lady to come out clean on the allegations that she together with Ms. Sherry Ayittey, also standing trial in the same case, forged a letter of acceptance purported to have come from the office of the then Managing Director of GIHOC Nsawam Cannery, Georgina Okaiteye, which they allegedly presented to the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) in order to take over the state factory.

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Nana Konadu, President of the 31st December Women’s Movement and Chairperson of Caridem Development Company Limited, Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) and Mr. Kwame Peprah, former Minister of Finance and former Chairman of DIC are currently standing trial at an Accra Fast Track High Court on 15 counts of charges relating to causing financial loss to the state.

The rest are Mr. Thomas Benson Owusu, Accountant DIC, Ms Sherry Ayittey, Managing Director of Caridem and Caridem Development Company Limited.

Initially, 30 counts of charges bordering on willfully causing financial loss to the state were preferred against Nana Konadu and her allies but later reduced to 9 and subsequently scrapped for 15 fresh charges.

Some of the counts read: Conspiracy to commit crime namely, causing loss to a public body by dishonesty contrary to sections 2(1) of the Public Property Protection Act 1977 SMCD 140. Another states: Obtaining Public Property by false statement contrary to section 5 of the Public Property Protection Act 1977 SMCD 140.

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The particulars of offence states in part that Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, Sherry Ayittey and Caridem in a purported sale and purchase agreement with intent to defraud represented to the Government of Ghana that only one billion three hundred and twenty million seven hundred and seventy six thousand four hundred cedis (¢ 1,320,776,400.00) was owed by Caridem Ltd as the balance of the purchase price of the GIHOC Nsawam Cannery Ltd. when they knew that the outstanding balance was nine billion two hundred and sixty one million two hundred and twenty nine thousand two hundred and seventy cedis ninety seven pesewas (¢9,261,229,270,97) thereby obtaining the consent of the Government of Ghana to part with the ownership of the said factory.

However, Mrs. Rawlings went to town soon after the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice dropped the previous 30 count charges and replaced them with 15 counts, describing the action as politically motivated to harass herself and her family.

She has as a result accused the Kufuor-led NPP government of selective justice against the former first family and those close to them.

She has also described her trial as a violation of her basic human rights since she believes she is innocent.

However, Kwaku Baako has disagreed with the former First Lady, describing her utterances as a calculated attempt to attract public sympathy in order to dodge justice.

He said in so far as Mrs. Rawlings has access to her legal team and even attends court proceedings with large organised crowds, who on top of their lawlessness insult the Judge sitting on the case, Nana Konadu has no case to accuse anybody than to submit to the due process.

Mr. Kwaku Baako Jnr. has also described the new charges against the former first lady and five others as a compressed version of the old one, saying that when one takes a critical look at the new charges, there are no significant differences between the two.

He said nothing had changed except that it had been re-written perhaps in a more concise manner.

Source: GYE NYAME CONCORD
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