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14.04.2005 Crime & Punishment

Dodoo goes to Supreme Court over 70 million cedis case

By GNA

Accra, April 14, GNA - An Accra High Court on Thursday fixed Monday, May 16, for mentioning of the case in which Robert Dodoo a former Head of the Civil Service, is charged with wilfully causing financial loss of 70.8 million cedis to the state.

When the case was called on Thursday, one of the three-member defence team accompanied Dodoo to the High Court to take a date, pending the determination of an appeal yet to begin at the Supreme Court, to challenge the Court of Appeal's ruling that the accused has a case to answer at the lower court.

The defence team for Dodoo is led by Mr T N Nelson Coffie, and assisted by Mr George F. Gardiner and Mr Bruce Acquaye Thompson, while Mrs Penelope-Ann Mamattah, Principal State Attorney, is prosecuting the case.

Prosecution had earlier established a prima facie evidence against the former Head of the Civil Service, and the trial Judge, Mrs Avil Anim-Yeboah had said the court considered the submissions of evidence from both the prosecution and defence and that the court was satisfied that the accused had a case to answer and therefore, ordered him to open his defence on July 13, last year.

Dodoo who had told the court that he did not have any case to answer, then appealed against the lower court's decision at the Court of Appeal.

The Appeal Court upheld the High Court's ruling and also ordered Dodoo to return to the lower court to answer the charge preferred against him.

The former Head of the Civil Service has since started processing documents for the appeal to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal's decision.

Prosecution had stated that on April 1, last year, after Dodoo had completed his evidence, he was asked to open his defence but he objected to the court's decision.

The court was told 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.

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.

That 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 Dodoo's personal friend.

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.

That 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," Prosecution 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 added.

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