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05.07.2004 General News

Fast Track Court orders Dodoo to open defence

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Accra, July 5, GNA- An Accra Fast Track Court on Monday ordered Robert Dodoo, ex-Head of the Civil Service, to open his defence on July 13. Dodoo, charged with wilfully causing financial loss of 70.8 million cedis to the state, has denied the offence and is on bail. The trial judge, Mrs Avril Anim-Yeboah said after the court had carefully considered the submissions of evidence from both the prosecution and defence, the court was satisfied that the accused had a case to answer.

"This means the accused person should open his defence," the judge ordered.

On April 1, this year, after Dodoo had completed his evidence, he was asked to open his defence but he objected to the court's decision. The court therefore adjourned proceedings for it's ruling today. The defence team for Dodoo, Head of the Civil Service from 1994 to 2001 is led by Mr T N Nelson Coffie, and assisted by Mr George F. Gardiner and Mr Bruce Acquaye Thompson.

The team stated that it would call 10 witnesses during the trial.

Mrs Penelope-Ann Mamattah, Principal State Attorney, earlier told the court that in 1992 the Greater Accra Regional Tender Board awarded a 600-million cedis contract to M/S Charkson Construction Company for the building of a two-storey block, as an annex to the main office.

She said shortly after the accused assumed office, he was instrumental in the award of a contract for the provision of a lift for the office of the Head of the Civil Service annex building.

Mrs Mamattah said Dodoo signed a letter requesting the Minister of Finance to release 70.8 million cedis to Mr William Kofi Partey of Electovator Engineering Company Limited (EEC), who the prosecution described as his personal friend.

She said the Ghana Supply Commission (GSC) then put the award on tender and the EEC emerged as the winner.

Immediately after the award of the contract, the accused endorsed the contract and took a personal and active part in pursuing the release of the funds for the lift.

The Principal State Attorney said the accused caused the transfer of the Principal Budget Officer of the Ministry of Finance who stood in the way of an early release of the funds.

"Eventually after a lot of pressure the amount of 70.8 million cedis was approved and paid on the strength of the letter written and signed by Dodoo," she said.

However, the contractor failed to undertake the job adding, "up to date no lift has been supplied by him. An audit inspection revealed this loss of 70.8 million cedis to the state", the prosecution said.