Police Grab PAC Witness
7/4/2012 4:01:33 PM -
DRAMA UNFOLDED at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament yesterday when for the first time, a witness was handed over to the police for suspected fraud.
Prince Awuah Nyantekyi, a client of lawyer Chris Ackumey, was whisked away to the Ministries Police Station after it was uncovered that he had squandered an amount of GH¢11,812 as compensation meant for a family of a deceased person.
He collected the money in 2010 on behalf of the family of one Kwadwo Amankwatia, who died at Akim Ofoase in the Eastern Region as a result of police brutalities.
However, Nyantekyi, who claimed to be the nephew and administrator of Amankwatia's estate, collected the cash from the Mills administration with the help of lawyer Chris Akumey and spent it without informing or giving the wife of the deceased, Comfort Appiah, and her six children a pesewa.
The PAC, chaired by Albert Kan-Dapaah, is currently probing circumstances that led to the liability incurred by the state, which have been captured in the Auditor-General's report on Public Accounts for the year 2010.
Nyantekyi was exposed at the PAC when the family of Amankwatia stormed the parliamentary committee's sitting.
He gave himself out when the told the PAC that he was being hunted by the police in connection with the case.
Accompanied by her eldest son, Jones Amankwatia and her brother Joseph Ofosu-Appiah, Mrs. Amankwatia told PAC that Nyantekyi collected the money but failed to give her a pesewa and that he did not pay the school fees of her six children.
When PAC members quizzed Nyantekyi why he refused to give the money to the deceased person's wife and her children, he responded that he incurred some losses in burying the deceased, indicating he used the cash to defray the cost of the funeral expenses.
According to him, he even sacked Chris Akumey as his lawyer because he (Akumey) could not negotiate for a bigger amount as compensation.
Nyantekyi also indicated that Chris Akumey was the sixth lawyer he fired concerning the case.
However, his explanation infuriated members of the committee who indicated he had told many lies, half-truths in his testimony and also perpetrated fraud.
After consulting with members of PAC, Mr. Kan-Dapaah said they had no option but to hand the suspect to the police to interrogate the matter and take the appropriate action to retrieve the money.
It would be recalled that Chris Akumey was last week thrown out when he appeared before the PAC, claiming he was representing the family of the late Amankwatia at the time he did not have proper authorization.
In another development, members of the PAC were given a dose of laughter when an 85-year-old beneficiary of GH¢44,759 judgment debt pleaded with the committee to assist him to get more money from government.
Phillip Kwadwo Afari, who appeared at PAC with his lawyer, James Abiaduka, indicated the money he received from government was woefully inadequate, requesting, 'Mr. Chairman, I want to plead with the committee that we need more from government'.
Mr. Afari explained that the judgment debt he received from government was compensation for a 65-acre family land compulsorily acquired by the Ghana Armed Forces in 1959.
According to him, the money was not enough as the cost of 65-acre land was more than the compensation he received from government.
According to him, the Land Valuation Board, in 2001, valued the land at the amount he received from government and added that 11 years after that valuation, the value of the land had appreciated and therefore he deserved more than what he received.
Mr. Kan-Dapaah told him that the committee was not in any position to assist him to get more money from government and noted that 'I can only wish you the best of lack in your quest for more', after which he discharged him.
By Awudu Mahama