16.06.2006 General News

High Commissioner Odoi Sykes Appears in Court

By Chronicle
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FOLLOWING allegations of financial malfeasance leveled against Ghana's High Commissioner to Canada, Mr. Samuel Odoi Sykes, in Pharco Production Limited by a co-director, Mr. Isaac Torgbor Tetteh, of the one-time vibrant pharmaceutical company, the former yesterday appeared before the Fast Track Court (FTC) in person to plead for extension of time.

His pleadings to be granted adequate time was to enable him file his defence to the suit brought against Pharco Productions Limited by Mr. Isaac Torgbor Tetteh, the 78-year-old co-director and shareholder of the company, in which his name had been mentioned.

The appearance of the High Commissioner before the court presided over by Justice Victor Ofoe was based on an earlier motion for joinder filed by Messrs Zwennes and Co. seeking to join him to the case and subsequent serving of court processes on him as ordered by the court.

The court has therefore fixed July 12, 2006 for hearing and further directed Mr. Odoi Sykes to file his defence by July 10 this year.

Plaintiff is seeking for the appointment of external auditors to examine the books of Pharco Productions in the face of the allegation of malfeasance committed during Mr. Odoi Sykes' tenure as chief executive of the company.

Mr. Odoi Sykes had been mentioned in supporting affidavit of the 78-year-old plaintiff as having benefited positively from the alteration of the shareholding structure of the company that had affected him (plaintiff) and one other shareholder, Mr. D. Sadhwani, an Indian national, who subsequently lost his majority shareholding position of 61% of the total shares of the company.

Mr. Odoi Sykes' shares in the defendant company, according to plaintiff, had risen from 2,190 shares to 107,240 shares, plaintiff's statement indicated.

Mr. Torgbor Tetteh is seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant company from declaring dividends based on the altered share holding structures.

Additionally, plaintiff is requesting the court to declare as unlawful, null and void the alteration made in the shareholding position of the applicant and other members of the company, who are affected by the change and a further order of the court for the board of Defendant Company to organize a general meeting in order to deliberate allegations of financial and administrative lapses that had engulfed the company.

Mr. Togbor Tetteh is further seeking an order directed at the secretary of the company to ensure that appropriate and accurate shares are recorded in the documents of the company, as well as an order for the board of directors of the company to institute forensic audit into the financial affairs of the company.

Plaintiff in his claim asserted that since August 14, 1986, he had held 626 ordinary shares in Defendant Company, however, the number had been altered to read 520 shares on the company's documents.

"For some very strange reasons, the total shareholdings of Mr. Odoi Sykes, which stood at 2,190, shot up to 107,240, whiles the total shares of Mr. Sadhwani, who hitherto held 61% of the shares amounting to 45,750 shares as majority shareholder, lost that position with the allotment of additional shares without reference to either the members of the company nor the board of directors," plaintiff noted.

According to Mr. Togbor Tetteh, despite the repeated complaints of the "clandestine nature" to which the company shares were "manipulated", the board had not taken serious action, but rather interested in declaring dividends using the bloated shareholdings in order to "unjustifiably enrich those who have been accused of being behind the scam".

Plaintiff further maintained that he had drawn the attention of the board with supporting documents alleging fraud on the part of Mr. Odoi Sykes and raising improprieties in the affairs of the company during his tenure as the chairman of the board, which is yet to be investigated.

Plaintiff was therefore of the view that if the company declares dividend for 2003-2004 financial years at its Annual General Meeting, it would unjustifiably enrich those that allegations of fraud had been made against.

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