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14.10.2005 General News

Ex-special assistant goes wild over story-killing bribe

By Chronicle
Ex-special assistant goes wild over  story-killing bribe
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... Threatens attack on former business partner

MR. SAMUEL Anim Obiri, a leading member of the National Supporters Union and a former special assistant to Mr. Rashid Bawa, former Minister of State in-charge of Education and Sports has threatened to deal ruthlessly with a man he suspects.

The man is suspected to have leaked vital information to the media on the official vehicle he was allegedly using for some commercial purposes.

But, Mr. Thomas Sogbadji, the man under Obiri's surveillance has since denied the latter's claim.

In his petition to the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Police Service, dated September 12, 2005, Mr. Sogbadji said he met Mr. Obiri at the premises of the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) in Accra where he told him that he (Obiri) was the owner of Conference and Fairs Services Limited, a car renting company and wanted him (Sogbadji) to rent his cars for him.

The cars, according to the statement, were five BMW saloon 525 series with registration numbers ER 563 V, GR 1566 S, ER 2015 U and ER 2294 U and Toyota Land Cruiser UW 362 U, the officially-assigned vehicle for Obiri.

A verbal agreement was struck to the effect that in the event of any money made on hiring any of the cars; Mr. Sogbadji would earn 15% while Obri took 85%.

Mr. Sogbadji's statement to the CID chief continued that the Toyota Land Cruiser had its first assignment on May 16, 2005 after being hired out to Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited for a day's fee of ¢900,000.

After doing business for three months, the management of YMCA wrote a letter to him to vacate the place for non-payment of fees for the space.

Two weeks later, Mr Obiri was said to have collected his cars without the knowledge of his partner. The fees were left unpaid.

“He later called me on August 15, 2005 wanting to meet me. We met at Osu where he disclosed to me that the Land Cruiser was an official car and that the press was investigating the circumstances under which it was hired out to Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited.

“So he asked whether I had talked to the press to which I answered in the negative.

He then asked me to go to Prestea Sankofa and investigate whether any pressman had been there to ask questions about him, which I did not do”

The petition stated among other things that on Tuesday night of August 23, 2005, Mr. Obiri called and said he knew Mr. Sogbadji was the informant to the press and that if he finished dealing with the pressmen, he would deal with him.

“Since then, I have been receiving a number of threatening calls from unknown callers in the night, vowing to teach me a lesson after Obiri had finished dealing with the press or was implicated in any case involving the Land Cruiser”

It would be recalled that the ex-special assistant on August 23 this year effected the arrest of two sports journalists of the New Times Corporation for allegedly demanding an amount of ¢100 million from him to kill a story.

The journalists are currently facing trial at the Accra Circuit court charged with conspiracy to extort and extortion.

The charge of extortion has however been struck out for Mr. Vigah, one of the accused.