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30.01.2009 General News

Kweku Baako to drag Mrs Rawlings to CHRAJ?

By Ghanaian Observe
Kweku Baako to drag Mrs Rawlings to CHRAJ?


It appears the order by former President John Agyekum Kufuor for the discontinuation of the case involving Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, a former First Lady and five others alleged to have been involved in willfully causing financial loss to the State in respect of the divestiture of the GIHOC Cannery at Nsawam will not end now.

This is because the Editor-In-Chief of the Crusading Guide, Malik Kweku Baako, has served notice to the First Lady that he will continue his crusade and probe into the issues surrounding the divestiture in order to establish the truth in the saga.

According to him, after his full scale investigations into the divestiture, he will proceed to the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for them to probe the issue further to ascertain the truth.

Mr. Baako, who was speaking on Accra¬ based Joy FM, maintained that although former President Kufuor has ordered discontinuation, he believes there were many irregularities in the divestiture, for which reason further investigations are needed as he stated before the court action.

Demanding that Mrs. Rawlings should rather apologise to a number of Ghanaians who she has offended, including himself (Mr. Baako) and Haruna Atta, Editor of Accra Daily Mail (ADM) newspaper, he stressed that he stopped his investigations into the divestiture due to the court action on the issue, assuring that since there is no court action now, he will commence investigations and subsequently drag her to CHRAJ.

On the eve of his departure from office, former President Kufuor ordered the discontinuation of the case after Mr. Joe Ghartey, Attorney General and Minister for Justice, had withdrawn the 30 counts of multiple charges preferred against Mrs. Rawlings, and five others, and substituted them with 15 charges for their alleged involvement in willfully causing financial loss to the state in respect of the divestiture of the GIHOC Cannery at Nsawam.

“The prosecution has withdrawn case Number CR 126 against the accused persons and replaced them with fresh charges" Mr. Ghartey told the Fast Track High Court (FTC) in Accra presided over by Mr. Justice P. Baffoe Bonnie.

The other five accused persons are Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, a former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DlC), Thomas Benson.Owusu, a former Accountant of the DlC, Kwame Peprah, a former Minister of Finance and former Chairman of the DlC, Sherry Ayittey, Managing Director of Caridem Development Company Limited, and Caridem as an entity.

They were variously charged with 15 counts of conspiracy, causing financial loss to public property, conspiracy to obtain public property by false statements, obtaining public property by false statements and altering documents.

The accused persons were alleged to have caused loss to public property running into billions of cedis, following the acquisition of GIHOC Cannery at Nsawam, a government cannery, by Caridem Development Company Limited in 1995 when the cannery was divested. Caridem is owned by the 31st December Women's Movement (DWM).

But hours after President Kufuor's order, Mrs. Rawlings said her image as well as that of her co-accused in the case against them in the divestiture of the Nsawam Cannery were "battered beyond recognition" during the trial which has been abandoned by the former government.

"My reputation amongst my peers (has been) sullied and my family abused both locally and internationally because many were convinced their mum was a criminal," she said in a statement after the Accra Fast Track High Court struck out charges of theft, fraud and conspiracy to defraud the state brought against them three years ago.

Mr. Emmanuel Agbodo, Mr. Thomas Benson Owusu, Mr. Kwame Peprah and Ms. Sherry Aryitey, who were also facing similar charges, have also had their charges dropped.

Nana Konadu said her understanding was that former President John Agyekum Kufuor gave the order for the discontinuation of the case on the eve of his departure from office.

She said "The purchase of Nsawam Cannery by Caridem, which was the transaction in question, was executed without any element of criminality and my colleagues and I always wondered how the State expected to prove its case against us."

She said a proper bidding process was put in place for the sale and, Caridem won through due process because it was the highest bidder.

Mrs. Rawlings said the World Bank supervised the entire bidding process, so it was a huge shock to them when the NPP government decided to prosecute and persecute them over a process that was already 10 years old.

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