The Court of Appeal yesterday gave Tony Lithur, lawyer for Daniel Abodakpi, seven days to file his written submission in their appeal case, after which the prosecution led by the Acting Director of Public Prosecution, Gertrude Aikins, is expected to reply.
Daniel Abodakpi, who was the Former Minister of Trade and Industry and also the sitting Member of Parliament for Keta in the Volta Region was last year sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment by an Accra Fast Track Court for causing financial loss to the State.
He is appealing against his sentence, arguing that the court did not properly consider his case while passing the judgment. Also his lawyer, Tony Lithur, has accused Justice Henrietta Abban, a judge of the Court of Appeal, of interference in the judgment of Abodakpi's case.
However, on December 5, 2007, the Appeals Court dismissed Abodakpi's motion for leave to lead fresh evidence which accused Justice Henrietta Abban, of influencing the decision of the Fast Track High Court.
Dismissing the motion, Justice Kanyoke, the presiding judge, noted that his decision was based on the grounds that the application was not credible and further noted that even if it is credible it did not have anything to do with the issue with respect to the judgment.
He said the better course of action now left for Abodakpi is to have the decision quash by the Supreme Court.
Mr Lithur alleged that Mrs Justice Abban called out Justice S T Farkye, the presiding judge, who was then delivering judgment in the case against Abodakpi. He said upon being informed by Justice Farkye that he was going to impose a sentence of four years on Abodakpi, Mrs Justice Abban directed him to increase the sentence to 10 years.
But the Acting Director for Public Prosecution, Gertrude Aikins argued that the incident of the trial judge leaving the reading of the judgment in the middle and leaving the court room was not unusual as judges are human beings and suffer from all human frailties.
She said neither the applicant nor his lawyer was in the room with the two justices to over hear what transpired between them. She said even though Justice Abban waited for Justice Farkye outside the court room, to the best of her information, knowledge and belief, Justice Abban did not have any discussion with him on the case but only delivered the criminal and procedures codes which he had requested from her.
Daniel Abodakpi was standing trial with Victor Selormey (deceased), former Deputy Finance Minister. They were 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.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The Court sentenced him to 10 years' imprisonment on each of the seven counts. The sentences are to run concurrently.
By Gilbert Boyefio