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18.11.2005 Crime & Punishment

Serious Fraud At Serious Fraud Office

By Dominic Jale - The Sun
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The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) a constitutional body that was set up to investigate corruption and other malfeasances in the country, has itself been hit with serious allegations of corruption and fraud.

At the center of the allegations is the Acting Executive Director of SFO, Mr. Theophilus A. Codjoe, who has been accused by a senior SFO officer of demanding and instructing him (the Officer) to do everything possible to implicate two staff of the defunct Ghana Airways, who were being investigated by the SFO over allegations leveled against them.

“Beside there were other instances that the Codjoe demanded that I implicate people who were being investigated,” the petitioner said.

In an exhibit 3 attached to the petition dated May 13, 2005, sent to the Attorney General and copied to the President via Chief of Staff at Castle Osu and other relevant bodies, Mr. Gilbert Akpabey a senior Controller at Investigations department at the SFO, outlined how Codjoe demanded and instructed him to implicate some people, when he was assigned to investigate them.

Mr. Akpabey, who is currently on interdiction stated before this interdiction, “all assignments he (Codjoe) had asked me to do, he would ask me to implicate certain people which I'd refused to do by doing my work honestly and professionally based on facts.”

“Mr. Codjoe asked me to investigate some allegations leveled against Captain Forjour formerly of Ghana Airways and demand that I should do all that I can to implicate the captain. I did my work based on the facts before me and submitted the report to Mr. Codjoe. Because the report did not satisfy his whims and caprices, he turned it down and handed it over to my subordinate officers, who are still handling same” the petitioner stated.

According to Akpabey, the SFO acting executive Director again told him that he (Codjoe) should make sure that Mr. Bethel Donkor former solicitor and Board secretary of the Ghana Airways was implicated in Ghana Airways investigations. “Because of what he (Codjoe) said, I declined to handle the area concerning Mr. Bethel Donkor, Mr. Codjoe was not happy I declined,” the petitioner revealed. According to Akpabey, Mr. Codjoe had earlier before the investigation into the Ghana Airways affairs mentioned to him bitterly that, sometime ago he needed air tickets to travel and therefore approached Donkor if he could assist him (Codjoe) with some. Though Donkor was an old Accra Academy student likewise the SFO boss, he (Donkor) did not get him the tickets as demanded.

“Because I did not want to work to the dictates of Mr. Codjoe to implicate Capt. Forjour and Mr. Bethel Donkor and others, but instead work honestly and professionally Mr. Codjoe tends to dislike me, Akpabey said.

When The Sun tried to speak to the SFO boss for his reaction to the petition, we were informed that he was out of office.

After several attempts, Mr. Charles A. Ofori, assistant director legal and prosecutions department told the Sun that he was out of the country. When The Sun asked Mr. Ofori who is the chairman of the Committee formed by the Acting Director to investigate Akpabey on the outcome of the funding, he said they have finished the first phase of their investigations and what is left is to submit their report to their executive director.

When The Sun reached Col. Akuoku Rtd the Executive Secretary of the Narcotic Control Board who is a Board member of the SFO for his comment over the happenings in the SFO, he refused to speak to the issues but asked this reporter to meet him at his office. However at his office, Col Akuoku asked his receptionist to inform this reporter that he can only meet The Sun next week.

Continuing, Akpabey said he had some information part of which were documents on malpractices by some NGOs being funded by and working for Ghana Aids commission.

He said, as part of preliminary investigation he invited a certain Ato who operates one of such NGOs Ecomedia Network.

According to the petitioner since he knew that Ato was the SFO boss' friend, and also classmates at Accra Academy, he was very cautious but in the cause of the interview. He said in the cause of the interview Ato became hostile and since it was likely that under such hostility he was not going to get any meaningful information from him, he told him (Ato ) that he was sorry and they parted.

However Ato went to misinformed Codjoe that he had wanted to extort money from him leading to his unlawful interdiction. More details next week

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