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27.02.2005 General News

Peprah's appeal dismissed

By Larry-Alans Dogbey(Network Herald)

The Court of Appeal last Friday dismissed an appeal filed by Messrs Kwame Peprah, Ibrahim Adams and George Sipa Yankey against their conviction in the Quality Grains scandal by the Fast Track High Court.

The Appeal Court held that the late Justice Dixon Kwame Afreh?s judgment against the appellants was in conformity with the law and cannot be faulted, and therefore was in agreement with its findings.

The three, former Ministers for Finance and Food and Agriculture, and a former Director of the Legal Sector, Private and Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance respectively were sentenced to various jail terms by the late justice of the Supreme Court.

Justice Afreh who was then a Supreme Court Judge but had additional responsibility as High Court Judge convicted them on charges of ?conspiracy and willfully causing financial loss to the state? through the various roles they played in the Quality Grain scandal, which led to the loss of more than $20 million to the state.

Two others, a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture Dr. Samuel Dapaah, and former Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Nana Ato Dadzie were acquitted and discharged on the same count of conspiracy and willfully causing financial loss to the state.

While Mr. Peprah is still serving his four-year jail term, in Sekondi Security Prison in the Western Region, Ibrahim Adam and Dr. Yankey have completed their two-year terms of imprisonment and are out of prison.

The appellants respectively represented by Messrs Nana Adjei Ampofo of the Fidelity Chambers, Tony Lithur and Samuel Cudjoe of Law Trust, while the Director of Public Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Osafo Sampong and an Assistant State Attorney, Augustine Obuor represented the Republic.

The NDC government desirous of cutting down the massive importation of rice into the country guaranteed a loan facility from the Exim Bank of the United States of America to execute a rice farming and milling project in 1995 at Aveyime in the Volta Region.

Ghana as a condition of the Exim Bank facility was to hold a 76 percent share, while a US investor Juliet Cotton, now serving a 15-year jail term in the US for fraud in relation to the loan facility held 24 percent in a joint venture company in executing the project.

According to prosecution it was Mr. Adam who introduced Mrs. Cotton and her company, Quality Grain Company Incorporated to the then government as experienced rice farmers, who could bring their rich knowledge in the crop to bear on irrigation rice farming at that part of the country.

It also argued that the three accused persons willfully assisted the lady to establish two companies by the same name, Quality Grains Company of which she was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and contended that while the whole project was struggling because the lady and her company did not have the aptitude to deliver, the accused persons went ahead to advance further funds to pay for goods and services on her behalf, even though they had been provided through the external loan.

Mrs. Cotton, has been ordered by the US court that convicted her to repay $20 million to the government of Ghana

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