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04.08.2004 General News

NDC's Candidate case before court

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Accra, Aug.4, GNA- The trial of Nii Lantey Vanderpuje, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Candidate for Odododiodoo in the Accra Metropolis and two others, begun at an Accra Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Nii Lantey, a Broadcaster at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), charged with abetment of crime has pleaded not guilty.

Two others, Musah Fuseini also known as Alhaji Musah and Gariba Mohammed, who were charged for registering as voters without authority pleaded not guilty.

The Court presided over by Mr Williwise Kyeremeh granted each of them 30 million cedis bail with a surety.

The first prosecution witness, Muniru Mohammed Okai told the court that he received 15,000 cedis out of 100,000 cedis offered by Nii Lantey for distribution to 10 persons for the photo taking exercise, which formed part of the voters' registration exercise.

He said one of the 10 persons refused to take the money. Witness said he registered at Ayigbe Town.

Okai said he and nine others were recruited at Ayigbe Town but went to Korlewulor where they received voter's slips from Nii Lantey. Led by Mr Augustines Obuor, an Assistant State Attorney, witness said after taking the photographs they returned to Nii Lantey's house for refreshment.

He told the court that on July 23, this year, at about 0900 hours, he was in the house when Mohammed informed him about the New Patriotic Party (NPP) primaries taking place at Odododiodoo.

Okai said Mohammed told him that he was looking for people to attend the function and he agreed to go with him.

Witness said they went to a spot to take breakfast and Mohammed informed friends at the spot about the primaries.

He said one Baba joined them, adding, "the rest of our friends declined to go."

Okai said the also met one Abdul Razak who also joined them while Fuseini led them to Gaskia Cinema where they waited for 20 minutes. Witness said Fuseini arrived with a Mini bus, carrying some people and they also joined them.

Okai said the bus took them to Korlewukor and Fuseini led them to a house where they met Nii Lantey.

Witness said Nii Lantey told them that he was the aspiring Member of Parliament for the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Nii Lantey handed over 10 slips to Fuseini and he in turn distributed "them among us", Okai declared.

"We all left to the Polling station, presented our voters slips to the Electoral officer and took our photographs," he added.

Okai said when they returned Nii Lantey asked Fuseni to collect the slips and informed them that they would be returned to them during this year's election.

Witness said Nii Lantey further told them that on the Election Day, a car would pick them and send them to the same polling station. He said Nii Lantey offered them 100,000 cedis and they shared among themselves but one Zakaria Saeed refused to take the money. During cross-examination by Nii Okaija Adamafio, counsel for Nii Lantey, Okai said they shared the money in a car conveying them to their various destinations.

Witness maintained that it was Fusieni who sent them to Nii Lantey's house.

When asked how he found himself at the Police station, witness stated that one Attah who was among them reported the matter to the MP, Mr Victor Okuley Nortey and he also reported the case to the police. Witness admitted that he belongs to the NPP.

Okai disagreed with counsel that they did not speak to Nii Lantey. The case for the prosecution was that Fuseini was a friend to Nii Lantey.

According to the prosecution, a day before the end of the photo-taking exercise Nii Lantey instructed Fuseini to recruit some people to do photo-registration for him.

The Prosecutor said Fuseini recruited Mohammed and five other boys who are now large and sent them to his residence.

The Prosecution said Fuseini led the boys to the residence of Nii Lantey at H/No 583/3 in North Swalaba.

Prosecution also said Nii Lantey told the boys he wanted them to help him in the photo exercise and gave them registration slips thumb printed with different names.

Fuseni later sent the slips away but some of the recruited boys protested.

Prosecution said others who were recruited for the exercise went to the Korlewokor polling station and took their photographs and returned to Nii Lantey's residence.

Nii Lantey in appreciation of what the boys had done for him offered them 100,000 cedis.

Prosecution said two of the boys disclosed this to the Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo and he also reported the matter to the Police.

Hearing continues on Thursday, August 5.

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