08.06.2004 Regional News

Three cocoa purchasing clerks case adjourned

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Kyebi (E/R), June 8, GNA - The trial of three cocoa purchasing clerks accused of altering cocoa measuring scale and stealing in the East Akim District had been adjourned to June 29.

The accused persons, Emmanuel Kumi Okai, of Kuapa Cocoa Limited, Seth Oteng Adjei of Kuapa Kooko Ltd. and Daniel Abrokwa of Trans Royal Company pleaded not guilty, and are serving a bail of 50 million cedis with one surety each to be justified.

The court on the request of the defence counsel, Mr Kweku Frimpong, granted the adjournment on the grounds that, since the last sitting of the court on May 11, 2004, he had not been able to see his clients. In adjourning the case, the Presiding Magistrate, Mr Charles B.

Nimako, warned both the defence counsel and the prosecutor to take the case serious and ensure that the case was completed on time. Earlier, Mr Nimako over-ruled an initial objection raised by th e defence counsel that the charge of the accused persons on one sheet was wrong under court procedure, since the three worked at three different places and there was no prove that they connived to commit the offence. Giving reasons for his decision, Mr Nimako quota legal authorities to support the argument that several persons could be charged on the same sheet even though they did not commit the same offence at the same time, provided the procedure would not lead to miscarriage of justice. The facts of the case was that in February this year, some cocoa

farmers in the East Akim District complained to the District Chief Executive that some cocoa purchasing clerks had illegally adjusted their cocoa weighing scales with intention to defraud the farmers. Based on the information, the District Chief Executive invited officials of the Ghana Standards Board to undertake a verification exercise in the company of the District Chief Executive and some officials of the district assembly.

According to the prosecutor, when the group went round, it was detected that almost all the purchasing clerks in the district had adjusted their scales and so the officials of the Board placed red stickers on the weighing scales, which meant they should not be used until the errors detected had been corrected.

A second check on the purchasing clerks later proved that almost all of them had corrected the errors the except the three accused persons.

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