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02.12.2007 General News

Former SSNIT boss denies underhand dealings

By myjoyonline

The Accra Fast Track High Court hearing the case involving JoyFM and Massai Developers has heard closing statements in the cross examination of Charles Asare, a former Director General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, SSNIT.

Mr. Charles Asare was a second witness for Mr. Edward Annan of Massai Developers.

In the final phase of cross-examination, Former SSNIT Boss Charles Asare told the court that while he was in office, a new purchasing manager of SSNIT was recruited in the person of Mrs. Gladys Quarshie, a former employee of Masai Developers, the company belonging to Eddie Annan.

He indicated that for him, Mrs. Quarshie`s appointment was pure coincidence and that Mr Edward Annan of Masai motors had never discussed that fact with him.

Mr Asare disagreed with suggestions by Counsel for Joy FM, Charles Zwennes that the appointment of Mrs. Gladys Quarshie could have raised further suspicions from SSNIT staff who were already sensitive to the relationship between himself and Mr. Edward Annan. During cross examination, Mr Asare also told the court that SRT, a Canadian Company undertook a $4 million record digitization project for SSNIT during his tenure as Director General.

Mr. Asare agreed with suggestions put to him by counsel for JOY FM that SRT was represented in Ghana by Massai Developers.

Mr. Zwennes then produced documentary evidence to show that Citcom Limited, an offshore company that Mr. Asare represented in Ghana on the recommendation of Mr Annan was the actual recipient of the company fees meant for Massai under the SRT project.

Mr. Asare denied having any prior knowledge of an invoice, drawn upon Citcom's letterhead for the payment of $114,000 to its UK account when it was shown him by Charles Zwennes, Counsel for JOY FM.

Further evidence given by Mr Asare under cross examination pointed to a joint venture company set up by SRT and SSNIT at a cost of $4.2 million dollars for data networking services for SSNIT.

Although this joint venture company was established at great cost to SSNIT, the court later heard how SRT, under the guidance of its agent, Massai Developers, sold 40% of the shares in the multi million dollar joint venture to an unknown off-shore company operating under the name of Bollero Investments Limited for $120,000.

When asked by Counsel for JOY Fm for his reaction to earlier evidence from Mr. Edward Annan that he, Mr Annan controlled the off shore bank accounts of Bollero Investments, Mr Asare expressed surprise and denied having any knowledge of this.

Further evidence from an E-mail correspondence between SRT and Edward Annan, showed that several deductions had been made from Massai's commission fees, which included an item bought for him and a $120,000 dollar purchase price for the shares in VPNS Limited, that were bought by Bollero Investments.

Although Mr Asare was unable to provide any explanation for this, he did insist to the court, that he had reimbursed Mr. Annan for the item bought for him from Massai's commission fees.

Joy FM is expected to open its defence on 13th December, 2007 when the case reopens.