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28.11.2005 General News

I did not conspire with Selormey - Abodakpi

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Accra, Nov. 28, GNA - Daniel Kwasi Abodakpi, Former Minister of Trade and Industry, on Monday denied that he and the late Victor Selormey, a Former Deputy Finance Minister, conspired and wilfully caused 2.73 billion cedis financial loss to the State.

Abodakpi further denied that he and Selormey rendered "a thank you service" to Dr Fred Owusu Boadu, a consultant of an alleged feasibility studies on the Science and Technology Valley Park.

Answering questions during cross-examination by Mrs Gertrude Aikins, a Chief State Attorney, Abodakpi denied that he and Selormey engineered the questionable studies and paid for services that Dr Boadu did not render.

He debunked the assertion that one Dr Yankey and other members of the Gateway Secretariat were not aware of the feasibility study of the Science and Technology Valley Park.

He said it was untrue that he changed the proposed studies into a feasibility study and inflated its cost thereby causing financial loss to the State.

Abodakpi said he met Dr Boadu during the last quarter of 1999 after he had seen his works in some countries.

He said the proposal for the feasibility study was made in August 1999 and the first authorisation payment was in August 2000. Abodakpi debunked the Chief State's Attorney's assertion that payments for the feasibility study had a bearing on the time his children left to the United Kingdom to study. According to him, his daughter Rejoice left first while the rest, namely Philomina and Mildred left in July 2000.

He said Rejoice worked to finance her education and his eldest son, who was working with a foreign firm, financed the rest. He said after teaching for some time the then Government appointed him to join the Board of Irani Brothers.

According to him, he served on the Board of Irani Brothers after the Government had bought some of the Company's shares. Abodakpi said Irani Brothers had a fund, which was to assist students and he applied to the Company.

Abodakpi and Selormey are being tried on seven counts of conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences and wilfully causing a total loss of 2.73 billion cedis to the State.

They have denied all the charges and are currently on self-recognisance bail in the sum of three billion cedis each. The Prosecution said between May and December 2000, the accused persons allegedly transferred 400,000 dollars into the local bank account of Dr Fred Owusu-Boadu, a consultant, through ECOBANK (Ghana) Limited.

The money, whose transfers were authorized by Selormey, was to be used as fees for feasibility studies towards the establishment of the project.

The project contract was to have been witnessed by the Legal Officers at the Ministry of Trade and Industry or the Attorney - General's Department, but this was not done. The transfers had no official correspondence between Dr Owusu-Boadu and either the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The Prosecution said both Abodakpi and the consultant signed what was purported to be a contract but there was no witness and the contract document was not initialled page by page as required. The contract lacked the detailed information required in a feasibility study, such as market analysis, financial projections and analysis to determine the financial viability and risk analysis of the project, the Prosecution said.

It said there was the highly irregular use of letterheads from a Texas University, with bills amounting to 400,000 dollars when the University was not a party to the contract. Hearing continues on December 5.

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