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29.03.2007 General News

Power Outage Forces Adjournment In Court

The current load-shedding exercise yesterday took a toll on proceedings at the automated Fast Track High Court in Accra compelling the court to adjourn cases, particularly the case involving the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings, and five others accused of causing financial loss to the state in the divestiture of the GIHOC Nsawam Cannery.

The case, which was adjourned in December last year, was scheduled for hearing yesterday but the power outage forced it to be adjourned to May 8, 9 and 10, this year.

That was because the equipment in the automated courts, such as computers and cassette recorders, use electricity, without which they cannot function.

The trial of Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor, and Alhaji Issah Abbas for narcotic-related offences was also adjourned after a brief sitting because the battery in the UPS system had run down.

The problem will be compounded as the Judicial Service does not have any standby generator.

The former First Lady is standing trial with Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, the former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC); Thomas Benson Owusu, a former accountant of the DIC; Kwame Peprah, a former Minister of Finance and former Chairman of the DIC; Sherry Ayitteh, the Managing Director of Caridem Development Company Limited, and Caridem as an entity.

They are facing various charges of conspiracy, causing financial loss to public property, conspiracy to obtain public property by false statement and obtaining public property by false statement.

All of them have pleaded not guilty to all the charges and are on self-recognisance bail.

They were alleged to have caused loss to the state running into billions of cedis in respect of a public property following the acquisition of GIHOC Nsawam Cannery, a government cannery, by Caridem, which was owned by the 31st December Women's Movement (DWM) in 1995 when the cannery was divested.

According to the prosecution, the accused persons failed to complete interest payments which accrued on the purchase price of the cannery and as a result had caused financial loss to the state.

Some of the accused persons were seen in court and as usual they were followed by a small group of vociferous women who were kept behind the court's fence wall.

Also accompanying the former first lady were some Minority Members of Parliament (MPs), including the Minority Leader, Mr Alban Bagbin, and Mr Doe Adjaho.

Story: Stephen Sah

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