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02.04.2008 General News

Abodakpi’s Case Adjourned Sine Die

Many sympathisers of Dan Abodakpi — a former Minister of Trade and Industry, who thronged the Court of Appeal yesterday were disappointed when the case was adjourned sine die.

The former minister is serving a 10-year jail term for causing financial loss of $400,000 to the state.

The sympathisers, many of whom thought that the court would deliver its judgement, packed the court with some of them standing outside.

A clerk of the court announced that the case would not come on because one of the panel members had been taken ill and until he became well, a new date could not be fixed The appellant as well as his lawyers were in court.

Abodakpi, who is the sitting MP for Keta, was on February 5, 2007 sentenced to 10-years inprisonment with hard labour by the Fast Track High Court after being convicted on all seven counts of conspiracy, defrauding by false pretences and wilfully causing financial loss to the state.

His attempt to get a bail pending the appeal failed when the trial court on April 19, 2007, declined to grant his application for bail on the grounds that it was unmeritorious because its refusal would not occasion any miscarriage of justice to him.

The court held that being a sitting MP did not make Abodakpi's case any exceptional to justify the granting of bail pending an appeal.

The former Trade and Industries Minister was said to have, between May and December 2000, acted — together with the late Victor Selormey, who was a former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning; Dr Frederick Boadu, a consultant; and other persons with a common purpose — to wilfully cause financial loss of $400,000 to the state through the Trade and Investment Programme (TIP).

The amount was in respect of a feasibility study for the establishment of a Science and Technology Community Park/Valley Project which was meant to enhance the export of non-traditional products.

They were charged with causing the transfer of the cedi equivalent of $400,000 during their tenure of office when they co-chaired the TIP.

The former ministers were accused of causing the transfer from the TIP interest account lodged with ECOBANK Ghana Limited into the personal account of the project consultant, Dr Boadu.

They were arraigned on October 14, 2002 on three counts of conspiracy, two counts of defrauding and two counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state but both of them pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted self-recognisance bail. Selormey, however, died in the course of the trial.

Meanwhile, Abodakpi's counsel in his amended grounds of appeal said the trial judge erred in disregarding the evidence of the defence without any reason and described the sentence as unreasonable, excessive, baseless and totally unsupported by the facts and the evidence adduced at the trial.

He stated that the judge failed to make any findings of the specific intent necessary to prove the charges levelled against the appellant.

He said the trial judge erred in refusing to give reasons for imposing the maximum custodial sentence on the appellant.

Counsel said the judge erred in placing undue reliance on the designation of feasibility study in correspondence about the payments to Dr Frederick Boadu when the evidence of the prosecution clearly showed that the designation was irrelevant to the making of the payments.

Story by Stephen Sah

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