Charles Hayibor, Counsel for Daniel Abodakpi, former Minister for Trade and Industry in the National Democratic Congress Administration has made an application for bail pending an appeal.
On February 5, 2007, a Fast Track Court, presided over by Justice S T Farkye, an Appeal Court Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, found Abodakpi guilty of conspiracy; defrauding by false pretences and willfully causing $400,000 of financial loss to the State.
Mr Abodakpi, who is also Member of Parliament for Keta, was standing trial with Victor Selormey (deceased), former Deputy Finance Minister. Abodakpi and Selormey were being tried on seven counts of conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences and willfully causing a total loss of ¢2.73 billion to the State.
The Court sentenced him to 10 years' imprisonment on each of the seven counts. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Abodakpi denied all the charges and was on self-recognisance bail in the sum of ¢3bn.
Yesterday, making the application for bail under Section 33 of the Court Act and Section 96 of the Criminal Code, Mr Hayibor told the court that his client is a Ghanaian citizen and a Member of Parliament, who has no intentions of leaving the country. He explained that during the previous trial, Abodakpi did not flout the conditions of bail set by the court.
He said the defence was not happy with certain sections of the court"s judgment, which he described as "errors of law,” adding that the court did not consider the defence of the accuse person when passing its judgment.
He posited that apart from there being certain flaws in the material evidence, the court did not also take in consideration all the evidence produced by the defence witnesses. “None of our evidence was raised in the court's judgment, we are of the greatest humble view that the court did not consider our defense,” he added.
According to Mr Hayibor, the thrust of the case, which is whether his client authorised the payment for the feasibility study or not, has not been proved, since the prosecution failed to produce to the court the letter they claimed confirmed that his client authorised the payment of the feasibility study.
He said at no material time did Abodakpi write to the late Victor Selormey, then Deputy Finance Minister, to pay for a feasibility study. “So far as the defense is concerned, Victor Selormey acted on his own,” he added.
He observed that the court should have given the defence the opportunity to plead for mitigation after the judgment, since the said money is still available, the account of the accused frozen, and he is a first time offender.
At this point, the judge drew Mr Hayibor's attention to the fact that the court had been shown evidence that the said funds had been disbursed into different accounts.
However, Mr Hayibor informed him that contrary evidence titled “evidence C” had been presented to the court. He appealed to the court to grant his client bail, while taking a second look at the judgment.
The case has been adjourned to March 29, 2007.