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14.09.2005 General News

Bombshell revelations at Ansa-Asare probe

By Chronicle
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¢3.8BN HIPC CASH PAID FOR BOOKS NOT SUPPLIED

The former Acting Chief Accountant of the Ghana School of Law (GSL), Mr Asuamah Odoom told the committee probing the Law School Boss, Mr. Kwaku Ansa-Asare that about ¢3.8billion of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) money was transferred to Mr. Ansa-Asare in cash.

He explained that the money was carted in large bags - Ghana must go - with law school security personnel carrying the cash to the director's office.

According to Mr. Odoom, on February 17, he received a memo written by Mr. Ansa-Asare through the Registrar of GSL, Mrs. Linda Doku, directing him to comply with the memo.

Mr Odoom, who had earlier abandoned the committee on September 1, explained that he had had a misunderstanding with his counsel, Mr. Wilson Tamakloe, which accounted for his uncooperative attitude towards the committee, and apologized.

When Mr. Tetteh-Mensah, a committee member, questioned Mr. Odoom on why he could be carrying such loads of monies in cash, he replied, “My Lord you can not challenge the directives of the Director.”

He said, he was instructed to transfer ¢825m into the Makola Branch of the International Commercial Bank (ICB), in favour of Lexis and Nexis, Butterworths Tolley for books purchased for the common wealth legislative drafting programme.

He said about ¢2.6 billion was transferred to various publishers, namely Sweet and Maxwell Ltd, Informal / LLB, Cavendish, Aspen, Oxford through ReadWide Ltd which is owned and managed by Mr. Ansa-Asare.

According to him, all those payments which Mr. Ansa-Asare received were for books not supplied.

He said an account was opened for GSL at the Makola branch of the International Commercial Bank (ICB), however he did not have any idea who specifically opened the accounts there.

Mr. Odoom said he could not query Mr. Ansa-Asare on the irregularities but verbally approached him, to which he responded that some of the books had been brought and were being kept at Readwide while the rest was yet to be shipped into the country.

“I kept on reminding the Director, and the answer he gave to me was that, all the books had not been shipped into the country and as at now, we had not received them in the school.”

When quizzed by the committee on whether he had seen the books before issuing the payment voucher, Mr. Odoom answered in the negative but noted that he had based his actions on instruction he had received.

The witness told the committee that he had paid ¢300million for books procured from Promson Thompson Regulatory through Kings Cross Ventures in UK and ¢80 million for handling, clearing and delivering charges with freight charges paid by the publishers.

When asked about the mode of payment, he revealed that he paid some by cash and some through Ansah Asare's Stanbic account.

Another witness, Mr. Charles Ntiaku told the committee last Thursday that he was told by Mr. Odoom that since he was physically challenged, he could not carry the huge load of cash that was being sent to the director's office and recalled that Mr. Odoom went to the bank with other security officers to cash huge sums of money which they carted to the school, some straight to the director's office

Mr. Odoom tendered in evidence receipts acknowledging payment of the director's daughter, Irene Ansa- Asare's school fees for the post- call law course.

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