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31.10.2008 NDC News

NDC knocked out of 3 seats

By Daily Guide

Even before the December 7 presidential and parliamentary polls are due, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has already lost three seats.

Besides the jailed candidate of the party for the Kwabre West constituency in the Ashanti Region, the judicial axe is about to descend on the Tema West constituency candidate of the party, over an alleged fraudulent behaviour involving over $100,000.

Earlier, the Electoral Commission (EC) had disqualified the NDC parliamentary candidate for the Asokwa constituency, Joseph Duku from partaking in the elections for failing to meet the Commission's electoral requirements.

In the case of the Kwabre West candidate, the EC's decision not to re-open nomination for the party to replace its jailed candidate, Pius Opoku Boateng, drove the nail into the coffin of the party.

This was after Pius Opoku Boateng was sentenced to a 12-month imprisonment in hard labour for double registration last Wednesday by a Circuit Court at Offinso in the Ashanti Region after pleading guilty to the offence.

The EC's Director of Public Affairs, Christian Owusu Pare had declared that reopening of nominations in the constituency was out of the question, as none of the scenarios that could engender that move was at play, such as the death of the only contestant or one of only two contestants in which the only surviving candidate would not be allowed to go unopposed. Death of a candidate itself may not be an excuse if there was more than one surviving contestants.

DAILY GUIDE sources at the court said visibly shocked Pius Opoku Boateng, who admitted breaking the law, virtually broke down in tears when the court gave its verdict and he was subsequently whisked away by security personnel to start his sentence.

Prosecuting, Deputy Superintendent of Police Essah Boanu, Offinso District Police Commander, said the Police had a report that Boateng, who was contesting the Kwabre West Constituency seat on the ticket of the NDC, had engaged in double registration.

 Based on the report, the convict was arrested and upon investigation, it was detected that he had registered at the Roman Catholic Primary School Polling Station at Nkukua-Buoho in the Kwabre West Constituency and also registered at the Patase Chief's Palace Polling Station in the Afigya-Sekyere West Constituency with the same pictures and names.

While he gave his age as 55 at Nkukua-Buoho, he said he was 54 years old at Patase, near Nkwantakese.

By the court ruling, the NDC was incapacitated to field a parliamentary candidate to contest the Kwabre West seat in the December 7 polls, as the Electoral Commission (EC) had long ago officially closed filing of nomination papers.

In yet another unfortunate development for the NDC, an Accra court has issued a warrant for the arrest of the party's candidate for Tema East, after he failed to make an appearance in a case involving over $100,000.

A bench warrant was yesterday issued by Mrs. Elizabeth Ankamah for the arrest of Robert Kempes Ofosuware, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Tema East parliamentary aspirant, for failing to appear before the court to answer charges involving the use of a fake cheque to transfer US$147,034.09 into his account.

The parliamentary aspirant, with the help of an accomplice called Clifford Amoako Addo, who had gone underground after the act came to light, allegedly deposited a cheque worth the said amount drawn on Chase Manhattan Bank, New York in his name.

The second accused person, who is the Managing Director (MD) of Jam Shipping Agency Limited, credited the amount into the shipping company's account, which was being held by the Trust Bank and withdrew the money later.    

The accused person has been charged with five counts of conspiracy to commit crime, forgery, stealing, possession of false documents, forgery of documents and lettering false documents while the said Clifford Amoako Addo is also facing counts of conspiracy and stealing.

Mrs. Ankamah issued the bench warrant at the instance of the prosecuting officer, DSP P.K. Frimpong after the accused person who had been duly informed that the case would be called yesterday, failed to appear.

The facts of the matter before the courts were that on March 2007, the second accused person, Clifford, deposited cheque number 002305074 for $147,034.09 drawn on Manhattan Bank in the name of Ofosuware into Jam Shipping's accounts.

According to the facts, the cheque was to mature on April 16 and when it did, the MD of the shipping company went ahead to withdraw the whole amount.

It said the Trust Bank was later alerted by the Deutsche Bank Trust Company in New York that the cheque issued which was used by the Trust Bank was an altered one and therefore debited the said amount withdrawn by the said Clifford against Trust Bank.

Furthermore, it noted that the Trust Bank lodged a complaint with the police and Ofosuware was arrested and during interrogation, said it was the MD of Jam Shipping who really issued the cheque except that it was in his name, adding that the second accused person had traveled.

Explaining further, it stated that the aspirant could however not tell the police how he came by the cheque which was purported to have come from North American Operations, General Motors New York.

The facts also revealed that it was the NDC Parliamentary aspirant who endorsed the cheque before giving it to the MD who had since closed his offices and was now at large after the police were alerted.

Currently on bail, Robert Kempes Ofosuware, an accounts officer with the Electricity Company Limited, is assisting the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service in their investigations.

By Fidelia Achama