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19.11.2002 General News

Selormey Authorised Transfer - Accountant

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A chartered accountant, Philip Baffour Awuah, who was tasked by the Auditor-General to audit the Trade and Investment Project (TIP) funds being administered by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has disclosed that Victor Selormey, former deputy Minister of Finance, authorised Ecobank Ghana Limited to transfer a total sum of US $400,000 into the local accounts of Dr Frederick Owusu Boadu of College Station, Texas, USA.

He said the payment was for a feasibility study into the establishment of Science and Technology Park and Valley to promote private sector partnerships for economic growth in Ghana.

Mr Philip Awuah told the court that the money was transferred to Dr Fred Boadu’s local bank account number 1101015760111 at Ecobank Ghana Limited at different dates.

Led-in-evidence by the Principal State Attorney, Anthony Gyambiby, Mr Awuah said whilst he was carrying investigations into the TIP fund, he observed that on August 3, 2000, the Deputy Minister of Finance also authorised Prudential Bank Limited to transfer the cedi equivalent of USD 100,000 from the accrued interest account to the credit of Dr Fred Boadu’s account number 1101015760111.

He said, however, that on August 10, 2000, the bank replied, indicating that they are constrained in carrying out the instructions because of lack of funds.

Interestingly, he said on the same day, the deputy Finance Minister authorised Ecobank to transfer USD 100,000 to Dr Fred Boadu, which they did.

The prosecution witness stated that the document purporting to be a contract between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the consultant (Dr Fred Boadu), was signed by both the Minister of Trade and Industry and the consultant, but there was no witness to the contract and also, the contract document was not initialed page by page.

Mr Philip Awuah who tendered 23 log books (mail receipt book) of the deputy Minister of Finance between 1997 and January 2001 indicated that three correspondences were received from Dr Fred Boadu’s Leebda for a study towards the split of Produce Buying Company (PBC) of COCOBOD into two or more smaller companies, a study of monopolies and competition in Ghana on August 14, 1998, and final report study toward the split of PBC into two or more smaller groups on November 3, 1998.

According to Mr Awuah there was no correspondence whatsoever between Dr Fred Owusu Boadu and the Ministry of Finance on the submission of the draft and final reports of the feasibility study into the establishment of Science and Technology Park/Valley to promote private/public sector partnerships for economic growth in Ghana between January 2000 and December 2000, when the payments were effected.

Similarly, there was no such correspondence between Dr Owusu Boadu and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The witness said the invoice submitted by Dr Fred O. Boadu was on the letterhead of Texas O&M University, but not on his own letterhead. This he said appears to be irregular and fraudulent.

Earlier, counsel for Dan Abodakpi, Charles Hayibor, pleaded with the court to stay proceedings whilst they go to the Appeal Court today.

He argued that the law allowed that when there is an appeal pending and the case is to be heard, the lower court must stay proceedings.

But the Principal State Attorney, Anthony Gyambiby, prayed the court to continue with proceedings.

The judge, overruled the application and appealed to both the prosecution and the defence to continue with the case.

Mr Dan Abodakpi and Victor Selormey are being tried on seven counts of conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences and willfully causing financial loss to the state to a tune of ¢2.73 billion.

They pleaded not guilty to all the charges and the Judge, Justice F.T. Farkye, has granted each a self-recognisance bail in the sum of ¢3 billion.

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