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23.05.2007 General News

Benjilo smiles home

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An Accra Fast Track High Court has dismissed an application for stay of execution filed by the Office of the Attorney-General in connection with a judgement ordering the immediate release of confiscated properties to George Adu Bonsu, alias Benjilo.

A cost of five million cedis was awarded against the state.

An affidavit in support of the application filed by the A-G contended that there were inconsistencies on the part of witnesses during cross-examination, which the Court did not take into account.

The court on May 10 adjourned the matter to give the state the opportunity to get access to the record of proceedings and point out alleged inconsistencies.

Arguing before the court presided over by Mr Justice Victor Ofoe, Principal State Attorney, Mr William Kpobi said the state would suffer untold hardship if the plaintiff should execute the judgement.

Mr Kpobi said Benjilo's wife, Mrs Grace Osei-Bonsu had told the court that she bought a house for her son but under cross-examination she said the said house belonged to one Dr Adu Bonsu and her son.

When Mrs Osei-Bonsu was further asked why she made those statements, she said it was because the police was harassing her.

Mr Kpobi said even though Mrs Osei-Bonsu had told the court earlier that her husband was only an employee and not a shareholder of Benjilo Fabrics, under cross-examination she admitted that her husband had interest in the company.

Mr Yonni Kulendi, counsel for defendants, said the application was a "dead" one because the state had not been able to demonstrate to the court circumstances to warrant stay of execution.

Mr Kulendi said before the court could grant the stay of execution it should be satisfied that the application raised questions of law and facts.

On February 13, this year the court ordered the immediate release of the confiscated property of Benjilo.

Benjilo, who served a 10-year prison term for drug-related offences in 1991, had sued the Inspector-General of Police, the Narcotics Control Board and the Attorney General for the release of the properties.

They include a number of houses, two shops and three vehicles, namely, a Mercedes Benz, GCM Typhoon and a Nissan Pathfinder.

Plaintiffs were claiming 650,000 dollars or the cedi equivalent for the goods in the two shops.

The court noted that the property that had been seized did not belong to Benjilo but to Benjilo Fabric Company Limited and five other plaintiffs, namely, Mrs Grace Adu Bonsu, his wife; Dennis Adu Bonsu, his son; Madam Yaa Konadu; Raymond Kofi Adu Amankwah and Azumah Nelson.

The court ordered the state to pay interest on 1.1 billion cedis being the cost of goods in two of the shops.

It also awarded 50 million cedis cost against the state and 80 million cedis damages for unlawful seizure of the property.

In order to rehabilitate the vehicles, the court ordered the state pay 30 million cedis for each.

It noted that defendants should have known that the stock of good were perishable and should have been stored in a suitable temperature or sold.

Source: GNA

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