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15.03.2006 General News

I didn't discuss anything on kickback with Anane - Witness

By GNA

Accra, March 15, GNA - Ignatius Mr Kofi Poku Adusei, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said on Wednesday that he never ever discussed anything on kickbacks with Dr Richard Anane, Road Transport Minister. Mr Adusei, who was giving evidence before the Investigative Panel of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), said it was never true that he, Mr Collins Kwame Duodu-Bonsu, his friend, and the Minister were expecting an amount of 20,000 dollars from a contractor as kickback to be given to Miss Alexandria O'Brien, the Mistress of Dr Anane.

The panel is investigating Dr Anane at a public hearing over allegations involving corruption, abuse of office and conflict of interest. The three-member Panel is chaired by Miss Anna Bossman, the Commission's Acting Commissioner. Mr Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner in charge of Public Education and Anti-Corruption and Ms Abena Bonsu, Director responsible for Legal and Investigations are the members. Mr Adusei, who was led by Mr Bede Tuku, a counsel for the Commission, told the Panel that he gave a lift to Mr Duodu-Bonsu, a personal friend of his, to the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel where they met Miss O'Brien.

Witness said because he was not interested in what was being discussed he sat down unconcerned while the two of them engaged in a discussion. Asked by Counsel whether he knew Nicholas Anane, the child the Road Transport Minister had with Miss Alexandria, Mr Adusei told the Commission that he only got to know about the boy through media reports. In answer to a suggestion by Counsel that he together with Mr Duodu-Bonsu footed the hotel bills of Alexandria, witness replied that

it would be that person's imagination. Mr Adusei also told the Commission that he could not recollect any discussions he had with Dr Anane, who he described as a friend and a colleague-politician and Mr Duodu-Bonsu, concerning the upkeep of Nicholas. He further told the Panel that he had never ever played any role in connection with Ms O'Brien and her son. Witness said he was hearing the names of Stephen Addai-Boakye; Captain Kwakwa; Captain Fordjour and Obed Kumi for the first time when Counsel mentioned them to him. Mr Adusei also told the panel that he did not know anything about the World Health Monitor Programme. Proceedings have been adjourned to Thursday, March 16.

Following a petition to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Vetting by Mr Raymond Archer, Editor-in-Chief of "The Enquirer" newspaper, calling on the Committee to disqualify Dr Anane as Minister because of certain allegations against him, CHRAJ took it upon itself to investigate the matter. After its preliminary investigations into the matter, the Commission decided that in view of its constitutional mandate as a fact-finding body, it would carry out a full-scale investigation in order to get to the bottom of the matter. Since it started its public hearing in January 2006, the Commission had made it clear that "there is no complainant in the matter, and that Dr Anane is not a criminal".

According to the Panel, "it is only inviting certain individuals, who have knowledge about the allegations as witnesses to assist it to come out with the truth". So far, four witnesses, including the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, have given evidence. The three others were Mr Archer, Mrs Mercy Anane, wife of Dr Anana and Mr Joseph Osei Owusu, Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority. Dr Philip Bondzi-Simpson is the lead counsel for the Commission, with Mr Tuku as his assistant. A team of six Lawyers led by Mr Jacob Acquah-Sampson is appearing for Dr Anane.

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