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23.11.2005 General News

Serious Fraud At Serious Fraud Office (II)

By Jale Dominic (Sun)
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The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) an intelligence agency which scope is to unravel dubious and malfeasances within the corridors in the country has itself been rocked with allegations of fraud and 'cocked' investigations.

Mr. Gilbert Akpabey a senior Controller at Investigations department at the SFO, has accused the Acting SFO Executive Director Mr Theophilus Codjoe,of instructed him to do everything humanly possible to implicate some people, when he was assigned to investigate them.

In a petition to the Attorney General, which was copied to President, J.A Kufour, through the Minister of Presidential Affairs and the Chief of Staff, the petitioner said he had some information about 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 Akpabey since he knew that Mr. Ato was the SFO boss' friend, and also classmates at Accra Academy, he was very cautious in his investigations. He said but 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.

"A public servant must not be allowed to suffer from the whims and caprices as a result of hatred dislike and victimization by other superior officers,' he stated.

"The following day which was Monday, May 10 this year, I went to work and I was called by a receptionist in our office saying that Mr. Codjoe requested that I should see DSP Oyortey immediately. I then proceeded to see DSP Oyortey in his office", he stated.

He said when he got there, DSP Oyortey then asked him what he came to do in office on Sunday May 9. "Whilst he was talking to me, Mr. Codjoe interrupted by calling him on the phone from the house and I heard Mr. Oyortey telling him on the phone that I was before him," the petitioner stated, adding that, I explained exactly what happened on Sunday to DSP Oyortey, who gave me a "statement form" to put it in writing."

"I took the statement form into my office and wrote the statement which I handed over to DSP Oyortey the following day. (Copy attached) I then went back o my office," he said.

He said whilst in his office DSP Oyortey came there with two other policemen and told him that according to Mr. Codjoe he should have detained him till he (Akpabey) had produced the statement.

"DSP Oyortey and the two policemen in my office requested for all documents I had on the subject matter, they then searched my office without any search warrant with the intention of taking away documents relating to the subject matter," Akpabey stated.

"Whatever document they deemed necessary they took away. Even as I am writing this statement, I do not know all the documents that they have taken away from my office," he petitioned.

According to the Senior Controller, after the search, DSP Oyortey told him that Mr. Codjoe would be in the office in the afternoon and that he should make himself available which he did made himself available as he instructed and they went to see Mr. Codjoe in his office.

"When we went to Mr. Codjoe's office, he was furious saying I came to the office on Sunday without permission from him and that I was on the verge of extorting money from his friend, Mr. Ato. I wanted to explain what happened to Mr. Codjoe but he would not listen. He was so furious, and the meeting ended abruptly and I left," he stated.

"He did indicate that he was going to interdict me and that I should go to my office and wait for DSP Oyortey to come and hand over the interdiction letter to me", Akpabey stated.

"Mr. Codjoe then called me whilst I was in my office on the phone asking me whether I attended Accra Academy. I said no and that I attended Presbyterian Boys Secondary School (PRESEC LEGON). He further asked me of my rank. I mentioned it to him and he said he would deal with me since I wanted to implicate his friend, Mr. Ato. Infact, he even threatened that he would sack me", the petitioner stated.

He said he was not happy about the trend of events so he left the office out of abundance of caution and came the next day only to be given the interdiction letter.

"I find this interdiction being capricious and premeditated and vehemently object to same. I therefore demand that I be recalled immediately," he said.

"I am therefore appealing to the Attorney General to form a committee to actually investigate into this matter leading to my wrongfully interdiction", Akpabey said.

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.

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