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17.06.2005 Crime & Punishment

Trial of Ato Ahwoi re-started

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Accra June 17, GNA - A Circuit Court in Accra on Friday re-started the trial of Ato Ahwoi, the Board Chairman of Accra Hearts Oak, charged with four counts of conspiracy to defraud and fraud. Ahwoi pleaded not guilty and the court admitted him to a 100 million cedi self-recognisance bail. He is to reappear on July 15.

Ahwoi's accomplices: Michael Holzaefel and Jan Doet are at large. The case as presented by Mr Cab-Beyuo, Chief State Attorney, said the West African Mills Company Limited (WAMCO), Takoradi is jointly owned by the Government of Ghana and Mr Herman Opferkuch, a German. According to the prosecution government owned 40 per cent share while Mr Opferkuch owned 60 per cent. At a point in time Holzaefel and Doet were Acting managing director and managing director respectively of WAMCO, while Ahwoi was the board chairman of Hearts of Oak Football Club.

Prosecution said some time in 2000, Hearts entered into a contract to transfer one player, Justice Ampah to a German club known as TSV Crailsheim Football Club for 300,000 Deutsche marks. WAMCO paid part of the transfer fees on behalf of the German club. However, with intent to defraud, prosecution said accused persons represented that Hearts of Oak Football Club had done some Public Relations and consultancy services for WAMCO and that the company had to pay the 300,000 Deutsche marks.

In April 2001, WAMCO paid 60,000 Deutsche marks for public relations services rendered by Hearts of Oak out of which 30,000 deutsche marks was paid to the Ghana Football Association. Prosecution said in December 2001, an additional 90,000 Duetsche Marks was paid by WAMCO to Hearts for alleged consultancy services. "All transfers were made in furtherance of the transfer of the player and not because Hearts had done any Consultancy/Public relations services," prosecution added. As a result, the attention of the Chairman of WAMCO was drawn to the two payments. The chairman found some irregularities and reported the matter to the authorities.