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15.09.2006 General News

Why Rawlings met Grace Asibi, Rojo, Bature and Archer

By statesman
Why Rawlings met Grace Asibi, Rojo, Bature and Archer
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Before she went public this week to say "my life is in dangerous," Grace Asibi had a strategic top secret meeting with former Head of State Jerry John Rawlings at his Ridge home.

According to sources, also at the meeting were high profile critics of the government, Alhaji Bature (Radio Gold), Raymond Archer (Editor-in-Chief of The Enquirer), Fiifi Kwetey (NDC Propaganda Secretary) and Rojo Mettle-Nunoo (former Communications Director of 2004 NDC flag bearer John Atta Mills).

The secret meeting followed a controversial court order by the Serious Fraud Office to seize the assets of persons suspected to be associated with the drug trafficking business.

Two of those at the meeting, Ms Asibi and Mr Mettle-Nunoo, were among those whose assets have been frozen.

According to our sources, the issue of the court order was discussed extensively, with Ms Asibi receiving counsel from members of the gathering on how to deal with her predicament.

Days later she gave radio interviews expressing shock at the SFO action, adding that she was under police protection because her life has been put in danger by the police describing her as an informant.

The public response to the SFO action by Raymond Archer, one of Ghana's celebrated investigative journalists, was for his own newspaper to grant him a front page interview.

In part one of that story, Mr Archer told his readers, "I smell a cover-up, and I will tell the public and you all the shocking truth of why I think this SFO statement looks more like a cover-up.

This statement may end up hiding the assets rather than freezing them."

Section 13 of the Serious Fraud Office Act, 1993 (Act 466) gives the Director of the SFO the power to direct the freezing of the assets and bank accounts of persons or organizations under SFO investigations.

SFO, which is responsible for investigating matters involving serious financial or economic loss to the State, has sought to explain the action last week to freeze the assets of several persons and companies by saying it was investigating tax evasion allegations.

This has, however, been criticized by some legal experts, including Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, running mate to Prof Mills in 2004.

Most critics have described the move by the SFO as too little too late, since the individuals cited in the current cocaine saga would have received legal advice about the possibility of their accounts and assets being frozen, and so would have made moves to effect changes in the ownership structure of their assets or destroyed incriminating evidence.

The Enquirer's Mr Archer described the statement released by the SFO announcing the asset freeze as vague and misleading, adding, "when you box several company names, mention names of individuals in an announcement without stating reasons, you create doubt and speculation in the public mind."

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