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05.09.2005 Crime & Punishment

Ofori Atta’s ¢800m Fraud

CRUSADING GUIDE
Ofori Atta’s ¢800m Fraud

…Accomplice Sheds Tears, Feels Betrayed Detective Inspector Emmanuel Bawa of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was in court last Monday to give testimony in a pending ¢800 million fraud trial, in which one of the men who wanted to become the Vice-President of Ghana has been mentioned.

Mr. Danny Ofori Atta, now with the Committee for Joint Action (CJA), but who in the 2004 elections contested on the ticket of the PNC led Grand Coalition and accomplice, Abbia Kwakye Addo (a.k.a Adoba) are facing trial on charges of conspiring to defraud an Estate Developer, Veronica Twintoh, of an amount of ¢800 million, under the pretext of selling her two plots of land at Osu.

Detective Inspector Bawa told the court that on the 18th of June 2004 the case was referred to him for investigations at the CID Headquarters. He said the CID started investigations into the issue and the two accused persons were arrested and their statements taken. Inspector Bawa said Adoba's statement confirmed that he had received the said amount from Veronica Twintoh in respect of the two plots of land.

He said after Ofori Atta's statement was taken and witnesses spoken to the Commercial Crime Department of the CID ordered that the two accused persons should be charged with Forgery of Documents, Defrauding by False Pretence, Conspiracy and Authorizing of Forged Documents.

Inspector Bawa produced five documents to authenticate every stage of his testimony.

A sixth document under the heading “TERMS OF PAYMENT” was however not accepted by the court.

This particular document which bore the signatures of both accused persons had it that Adoba would pay an amount of ¢400,000,000 while Ofori Atta was to pay an amount of ¢176,000,000.

Lawyer Charlys Pozzyne, counsel for Ofori Atta, objected to the document on the grounds that the document was prepared in the course of the trial and that an attempt at settlement should be without prejudice.

Lawyer Pozzyne said further that Inspector Bawa was not present when the document was signed, was not the author of the document and was not party to the document thus lacked locus to answer questions on the document.

The Prosecutor, Chief Inspector Akoglo, explained that before the case commenced, Ofori Atta pleaded to repay the money and together with Adoba signed that document as evidence.

She said their terms of payment were not accepted by the complainant so she did not append her signature.

The Prosecutor then referred the court to an instance when Ofori Atta told the court that Dr. Edward Mahama had promised to help pay part of the money. She asked the court to accept the document.

Lawyer Turkson, for the first accused person Adoba, said since the complainant did not sign the document, it would be against equity and good conscience to use the same document in court.

The judge held the decision to reject the document on the grounds that an attempt at settlement is usually without prejudice.

Meanwhile, after the previous sitting, Adoba broke down in tears, lamenting bitterly on how he felt betrayed by Ofori Atta.

Adoba said the whole idea of selling the land was Ofori Atta's brainchild and that after the land had been sold, if Ofori Atta had not gone to the complainant in an attempt to collect more money, all would have been well by now. Adoba later reiterated what he had told the court to this paper that though he received the ¢800 million, he changed part of the money into foreign currency and sent it to Ofori Atta who was by then in London.

Adoba said he also gave some of the money to Ofori Atta's wife, mother and other people sent to him by Ofori Atta.

Ofori Atta on his part has maintained that he never sent Adoba to sell the land and that Adoba stole the land documents from his (Ofori Atta's) driver.

Meanwhile an Accra High Court had ordered Adoba to refund an amount of ¢400,000,000 to Veronica Twintoh or in default face three months in prison. The amount was asked to be paid with interest and as at the time of writing this story, Adoba had paid ¢45,000,000 out of the said amount.

This paper would keep you informed on all further developments.

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