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14.10.2005 Crime & Punishment

The $2.5bn Money Transfer Trial

By Daily Guide
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A FAST TRACK High Court in Accra, presided over by Ms Margaret Insaidoo, yesterday directed Mr Ray Kakraba Quarshie, counsel for H. E. Van Kirksey and Associates, to withdraw an ex-parte motion asking the court to direct Interpol Ghana, to contact the Chase Manhattan Bank (formerly City Bank of New York) for materials to unearth the whereabouts of an amount of US$2. 5 billion, transferred to Ghana, sometime in 1987.

The defendants in the case are Egbert Adjeso, 1st defendant, Egbert Adjeso & Co. Ltd, 2nd defendant, Mr Paul Victor Obeng, one-time, Adviser on Governmental Affairs, to former President Rawlings, is joined as a co-defendant, in the case, as well as Bank of Ghana (BoG), which is joined as a co-defendant. In directing plaintiff counsel, the trial judge maintained that, instead of the ex-parte motion, Mr Ray Kakraba Quarshie, should bring an application on notice, and serve hearing notices to the other parties (defendants and defendants' counsel), to enable the court to expedite action on the case. Subsequently, the court adjourned sitting to Friday, October 21, 2005, after an assurance by plaintiff's counsel that, he would be able to bring the application on notice, and would, have served the other parties, notices as well.

Lawyers for the defendants are, Douglas Essusson, representing second co-defendants, Opoku Adjaye, representing the defendants, whilst J.K. Agyemang, Stephen Agyemang and Odette Agyemang, are representing the second co-defendant. Responding to the apology of counsel for Messrs H.E. Van Kirksey & Associates (the plaintiff), Mr J.K. Agyemang, counsel for the second co-defendant, remarked that, “If the US$2.5 billion exists, then we are all interested. Nobody, here, is preventing any money from coming”.

He continued that, if any individual or individuals are involved in the illegal transfer of H.E. Van Kirkseys monies, then, they should be gotten at. He added that, “I hope we're not going to go on a wild goose chase”.

A summary of the case docket indicates that, on, or about September 8, 1986, the plaintiff, a film writer/producer and an engineer in the US, was invited to Ghana by Mr Egbert Adjeso, a former managing director of the Ghana Films Industry Corporation (GFIC) and the then President of the Film Guild of Ghana. After his visit to Ghana, H.E. Van Kirksey discovered business opportunity in the country, and decided to secure a loan package of US$2.5 billion to invest in the country's film industry.

When the loan was ready, a collateral was set in place, on September 13, 1986. However, after several meetings in Washington, with Ghana's, then Finance and Economic Planning Secretary, Dr Kwesi Botchwey, the company, H.E Van Kirksey & Associates, was invited on September 12, 1986, by the then PNDC Administration, through the Ghana Embassy in Washington, to complete the transaction, in Accra. Furthermore, plaintiff claims that, the irrevocable fee agreement for the trust's representative, was also, signed and sealed on the Bank of Ghana letterhead, on May 29, 1987, by the Bank of Ghana.

At a meeting, held on April 10, 1987, representatives of the company met Mr P.V. Obeng, PNDC member, and chairman of the Committee of Secretaries, on this loan package, and the Bank of Ghana, was again, brought into the picture. Consequently, the mandate for the US$2.5 billion loan was signed and sealed on Bank of Ghana letterhead, by the acting Governor of the Bank of Ghana, at the time.

On February 20, 1987, the loan package was presented to the chairman of the National Economic Review Committee.

Then, on April 9, 1987, a meeting was held at the Offices of the PNDC member, responsible for Foreign Affairs, Capt. Kojo Tsikata (rtd), and the company was directed to the Castle, Osu.

According to the plaintiff, in or about 1987, an amount of US$2.5 billion was transferred to the accounts of the Bank of Ghana, but the money vanished, because of fraudulent conversion of all the documents on the loan. Plaintiff added that, the 4 per cent fee agreement on the loan, was signed by Mr S.K Appiah, former deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana.

The 4 per cent was responsible for the payment, and collateral on the loan. The affidavit, in support of Messrs H.E. Van Kirksey's claims, further states that, 1st and 2nd defendants, did not play any role in the US$2.5 billion loan agreement, but plaintiff sued them, because they were responsible for vital missing documents, which were faxed to them, to access the loan. Plaintiff is, therefore, asking the court to order Egbert Adjeso, 1st defendant, and his company, Adjeso & Co. Ltd, to hand over documents on the Hong Kong loan facility, which he allegedly collected, on behalf of the plaintiff.

According to the plaintiff, he received a letter dated April 22, 1993, from Mr P.V. Obeng, informing him about his US$2.5 billion package, but the money never reached his Earth Farms account, in the US, hence the decision to sue, to obtain the necessary materials on the transaction.