30.03.2004 General News

Dr Robert Dodoo refused to take advice - Witness

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Accra, March 19, GNA - A former Accountant of the Civil Service, who testified in the case in which Robert Dodoo, former Head of the Civil Service is charged with wilfully causing financial loss of 70.8 million cedis to the State, said his he refused to take advice. The Accountant, Mr Eugene Ofosu Amponsah, now retired, said he told Dodoo to be careful about the lift, which had not been fixed but directed that it should b paid for, "because one day when we are retired, we shall be called upon to answer".

Mr Amponsah said this while he was being led in evidence by Ms Penelope-Ann Mamattah, Principal State Attorney, at a Fast Track Court (FTC) in Accra on Monday.

Dodoo had earlier denied the offence and the FTC presided over by Mrs Avril Anim-Yeboah, had admitted him to bail. Mr Amponsah, Third Prosecution Witness, said when he told Mr Dodoo that his actions would in future raise several queries, he shouted at him saying: "I am the Head of the Civil Service and I would be responsible for any query." Witness said when he told Dodoo that he was treading on a dangerous precedent and that there were rules and regulations controlling payments in the Civil Service, the accused became annoyed. He said the former Head of the Civil Service told him that the contractor was his friend and that he needed the money to buy the lift and so he had to help him.

Speaking under cross-examination by Mr T.N. Nelson Coffie, Leading Counsel for Dodoo, mr Amponsah said he did not know if the contract was signed or not, because as an Accountant, Dodoo should have conferred with him on certain documents on the contract but he was always hiding them from him. Mr G.F. Gardiner and Mr Bruce Acquaye Thompson are the other counsel for the accused.

In response to a question, Mr Amponsah said it was not true that the lift was bought before payment was made and added that a lift was a big object that when fixed, everyone could easily see. Witness said it was proper for the lift to be bought, since it was part of the contract. Witness was brought to order when he remarked: "As he sits here quietly, he is a bully." He said he told Dodoo that it was wrong for him to sign financial documents, when he declared his intentions to him, adding such responsibilities rested with the Chief Director or Director, General Administration. Witness disagreed with counsel that in a contract of this nature, funds ought to be released to enable the contractor to purchase the lift, and added that unless it was stated in the agreement, no one could alter it.

The Prosecution said sometime in 1994, Robert Dodoo was Head of the Civil Service until 2001, and that in 1992 the Greater-Accra Regional Tender Board awarded a 600 million-cedi contract to M/S Charkson Construction Company, for the building of a two-storey block as an annex to the main office.

The Prosecution stated that shortly after the accused had assumed office, he was instrumental in the award of a contract for the provision of a lift for the office of the Head of the Civil Service annex building. That the former Head of the Civil Service signed a letter requesting the Minister of Finance to release a cash of 70.8 million cedis to Mr William Kofi Partey of Electovator Engineering Company Limited (EEC), who the Prosecution described as a personal friend of Dodoo. That the Ghana Supply Commission (GSC) then put the award on tender and the EEC emerged as the winner, and that immediately after the award of the contract, the accused endorsed the contract and took a personal and active part in pursuing the release of the funds for the lift.

The Former Head of the Civil Service caused the transfer of the Principal Budget Officer of the Ministry of Finance, who stood in the way of an early release of the funds. "Eventually after a lot of pressure the amount of 70.8 million cedis was approved and paid on the strength of the letter written and signed by Dodoo", Prosecution said. That the contractor on receipt of the money, failed to undertake the job, adding, "up to date no lift has been supplied by him. An audit inspection revealed this loss of 70.8 million cedis to the State". The case continues on Thursday, April 1.

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