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30.05.2006 General News

Konadu, others file stay of proceeding

By GNA

Accra, May 29, GNA - Mr. Tony Lithur, counsel for Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, a former First Lady on Monday filed a motion on notice invoking the inherent jurisdiction of the Fast Track High Court to stay proceedings pending the determination of a suit at another court.

The suit titled Carridem Development Company Limited versus Divestiture Implementation Committee and the Attorney General is pending before an Accra Fast Track Court.

Mrs Rawlings is also praying the court to make any other order as it may deem fit.

Mr Lithur told the court when proceedings began on Monday in the trial of Mrs rawlings and eight others in the divestiture of Nsawan Cannery, that the present proceedings were clear abuse of process and an abuse of the Attorney General's powers under Articles 88 and 296 of the 1992 Constitution.

Mr Joe Ghartey, Atto rney-General-designate, told the court that he was served with the motion of stay of proceedings only a short while earlier and asked for ample time to respond to it. He further indicated to the court the need to restrain or cite sympathizers of the accused persons for contempt for disrupting proceedings with their shouts and songs.

The sympathizers clad in National Democratic Congress (NDC) colours sang songs accusing Mr Ghartey of being a thief.

The arrival of ex-President Jerry John Rawlings excited the crowd stationed outside the court premises.

But the court said it could not do so, since they were outside the courtroom adding, the number of the sympathizers would reduce when the trial progressed.

The court obliged and adjourned the case to June 15. Earlier, the court rescinded a bench warrant issued for the arrest of Thomas Benson Owusu, who was not in court at the last sitting. Mr Owusu through his counsel told the court that he was not aware of the suit but only got to hear about the matter in the media.

In a motion on notice accompanying an affidavit, Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings described herself as a former first lady and President of 31st December Women's Movement, a non-governmental organization established in 1982.

She said in or about May 1993, it became apparent to the Movement that its usual sources of financing, being contributions from its members and donations from other sources, could no longer sustain its activities.

It therefore took a decision to incorporate Caridem Development Limited, a company that would engage in commercial activities for profit.

She said in 1994, the Divestiture Implementation Committee advertised the sale by competitive bidding the then GIHOC Cannery Company Limited, which had been idle for years.

Bids for the purchase of cannery were opened in October 21, 1994 and Caridem's bid of 2,789,846,000 cedis was adjudged the best. Caridem made payments at various times totalling 1,469,069,000 cedis.

She said relying on a letter written by DIC dated February 2, 1995 and addressed to the then Managing Director of the Cannery, Caridem was placed in possession of the cannery.

"Possession was important to Caridem at the time because of the need to secure property and prevent further pilfering of equipment, parts and roofing sheets which had been going on. At all material times, therefore, Caridem entered onto and took possession of the Cannery with the consent and authority of the DIC."

Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings said on October 5, the DIC and Caridem executed a sale and purchase Agreement (SPA) the salient points being the purchase price was 2,789,846,00 cedis. The balance of the price, excluding 1,469,069, which had been paid, shall be paid in two instalments of 623,314,900 cedis on the first anniversary of the execution of the agreement and 697,314,900 to be paid on the second anniversary.

Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings and seven former public officials are facing trial for impropriety in the divestiture of Nsawam Cannery. They have denied any wrong doing in the thirty counts of the charges preferred against them at the Fast Track Court (FTC).

Nana Konadu is to answer charges of conspiracy, causing financial loss to public body, intentionally causing loss to public property and obtaining pubic property by false statement.

Sherry Ayittey, Managing Director of CDC, Georgina Okaiteye, Director/General Manager CDC, George Mould, Director CDC, Larry Adjetey, Director/Secretary, CDC are to answer similar charges. Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, a former Executive Secretary, DIC, Thomas Benson Owusu, former Accountant, DIC, are also facing charges of conspiracy and stealing.

They are accused of failing to pay interest accrued on an outstanding balance of 2,514,861,400 amounting to 264,060,447 to DIC, in respect of the sale of the Nsawam Cannery Division of GIHOC. The FTC, presided over by Mr. Justice P. Baffoe Bonnie has admitted the accused persons to self-recognisance bail.

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