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29.01.2008 General News

Abodakpi's Counsel Told To Launch Submissions

29.01.2008 LISTEN
By Francis Xah - newtimesonline.com

The Appeals Court, hearing the appeal of Dan Kwasi Abodakpi, against his conviction, has asked defence counsel to submit a written submission within one week to enable the registrar to fix a date for judgement.

The prosecution must also present its submissions within two weeks, the court directed at resumed hearing of the appeal in Accra yesterday.

Abodakpi, Member of Parliament for Keta, is challenging his 10-year sentence by an Accra Fast Track High Court for causing financial loss to the state and fraud when he was Trade Minister in the NDC administration.

In his grounds of appeal, Abodakpi’s counsel, Tony Lithur, said the trial judge erred when he completely failed to consider the case for the defence, including the evidence of witnesses called by the defence.

He said the sentence imposed on the accused is 'unreasonable, excessive, baseless, and totally unsupported by the facts and the evidence adduced at the trial.'

In respect of the charge of fraud by false pretences, the appeal said the trial judge erred in failing to realise that there was absolutely no evidence of any representation made by the appellant to Ecobank on the basis of which it acted.

Counsel also submitted that the trial judge erred in placing undue reliance upon the designation of ‘feasibility study' in correspondence about payments to Dr Fred Boadu when evidence of the prosecution clearly showed that the designation was irrelevant to the making of the payments.

Again, the trial judge erred in refusing to give reason for imposing the maximum custodial sentence on the appellant.

He said the court, in proceeding to convict the appellant on the evidence of the prosecution, in effect shifted the burden of proof from the prosecution onto the appellant, thereby occasioning a miscarriage of justice.

Furthermore, counsel said the judge failed to make any findings of the specific intent necessary to prove the charges levelled against the appellant.

Abodakpi, 58, NDC MP for Keta since 1993, was sentenced to 10 years with hard labour on seven counts of conspiracy, causing financial loss to the state and defrauding by false pretences.

He was said to have illegally authorised the payment of 400,000 dollars to Dr. Fred Owusu Boadu, a Ghanaian Consultant in Texas, United Sta-tes, from the Trade and Investment Project fund.

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