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19.04.2004 General News

Acquit and discharge Abodakpi - Counsel

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Accra, April 19, GNA - Mr Charles Hayibor, Counsel for Daniel Kwasi Abodakpi, Former Minister of Trade and Industry, on Monday asked an Accra Fast Track High Court to acquit and discharge his client since the Prosecution had failed to prove its case.

Continuing with a submission of no case, Mr Hayibor said a star witness Mr Philip Baffour-Awuah's evidence adduced at the trial was discredited. Abodakpi and Victor Selormey, a former Deputy Minister of Finance, are being tried on seven counts of conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences and wilfully causing a total loss of 2.73 billion cedis to the State.

They have denied all the charges and are currently on self-recognisance bail in the sum of three billion cedis each granted by the court presided over by Mr Stephen T. Farkye, Appeal Court Judge, who is sitting on the case as an additional High Court Judge.

Mr Hayibor argued that Mr Baffour-Awuah, an Auditor of Baffour-Awuah Associates, did not follow the terms of reference given to him by the Auditor General.

According to Counsel, the terms of reference of the Auditor General on the audit report produced by Mr Baffour-Awuah was extremely different from what the Auditor General offered.

He noted that the Prosecution could not offer explanation on Mr Baffour-Awuah's appointment, which raised doubts in the Prosecution's case.

Mr Hayibor said while Mr Baffour-Awuah's letter to the Auditor General indicated that he (Baffour-Awuah) was appointed by the Office of the National Security Coordinator; Auditor General told the court that he(Auditor-General) appointed Baffour-Awuah to audit the accounts of Trade and Investment Programme (TIP).

He pointed out that the date on which Mr Baffour-Awuah was assigned to audit the accounts of TIP; the Auditor-General had not assumed office. Defence Counsel also wondered how, his Client's statement was taken on May 30, 2001 while the Special Audit report was submitted in July the same year.

"How can expert opinion be sought on an interim report, which was yet to be submitted? He asked.

Mr Hayibor was of the view that Mr Baffour Awuah had created doubts at the Court, saying, this had to be resolved in favour of his client.

"If Mr Baffour-Awuah had taken time to go through documents very well and consulted the accused persons, he would not have saddled the Court with this problem," he said.

Citing the payment of a study proposal of the Science and Technology Park Valley Project, Counsel pointed out that the expert, who was a witness in the case had told the Court that the proposals were paid for.

"Meanwhile Mr Baffour-Awuah had pointed out that, he had written a number of proposals, which had had never received payment," Mr Hayibor said.

According to Counsel the expert told the Court that, the Witness, who is an expert at the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) had said that payment of a proposal could be between 75,000 dollars and 150,000 dollars.

Hearing continues on April 26.