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08.09.2005 General News

Director Paraded As President's Friend

By Graphic

A Director of Scandinavian Ventures Ghana Ltd,Mr Benjamin Philip Numoh has told the committee investigating the Director of Ghana School of Law,Mr Kwaku Ansah-Asare,that the director paraded himself as a personal friend of the President of Ghana and a kingmaker.

Mr Numoh said Mr Ansah-Asare allegedly made the statement at a meeting with the management of 3-Sigma Incorporated of Florida when he accompanied his clients,Scandinavian Ventures,to the US to renegotiate the repayment of a debt.

Mr Numoh said 3-Stigma had supplied Scandinavian Ventures 4,000 metric tonnes of rice valued at US $1.5 million and as the payment was falling behind schedule the company invited them for renegotiation in the US.

The Director said when the management of 3-Sigma asked him to explain further what he meant by kingmaker,he allegedly said he was involved in the selection of Ministers in Ghana.

At this stage,the Director of Scadinavian Ventures said he was embarrassed by the conduct of their lawyer as the issue at stake was the renegotiation of a debt and not the throwing''of weights about''.

He said as a result of the attitude of Mr Ansah-Asare,the company asked them to return to Ghana and make all efforts to pay back the amount.

The director further alleged that, immediately they returned,Ansah-Asare hoisted himself on the company and hijacked it from the two directors,with the explanation that he will use part of the proceeds of the sale of the rice to repay 3 Stigma.

Mr Numoh said Ansah-Asare succeeded in convincing one of the Directors of Scandinavian Ventures,Mr Nii Boye Adjetey that he had an off-shore dollar account and collected the cedi equivalent of $550,000 from which only $272,000 was paid to 3 Stigma.

He said Ansah-Asare also charged the company $100,000 as his legal fees and the cedi equivalent was paid to him but when the Scandinavian Ventures realised his fraudulent behaviour,the company petitioned the Attorney General of his behaviour and copied the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).

He said when the investigations of the BNI was completed and nothing was heard they attempted mounting the legal process to collect all their monies from Mr Ansah-Asare when they heard about the formation of this committee and they decided to come and add their voice to the voices of other victims of the director.

Mrs Justina Tete-Donkor of Justking and Associates who was representing Scandinavian Ventures testified at the committee's sitting that when they were building a case to send Ansah-Asare to the court the feedback they got from several quarters was that Mr Ansah-Asare was a very influential man and that any legal action against him would be a futile exercise.

She said the establishment of the committee had proved many people wrong that Mr Ansah-Asare was untouchable and that they would follow the legal process to reclaim all the monies he took from Scandinavian Ventures on the pretext of transferring them to the US company.

Other witnesses who testified yesterday before the committee included Mr Martinson Asare Budu,54,a securityman,who said the harassment meted out to him by the director had caused him to suffer hypertension.

He said the director asked him to stand in the sun from morning to evening without rest and this had affected his health.

Another witness from the school,Mr Alfred Jimah Banfu, a storekeeper,said Mr Ansah-Asare retired him prematurely when he was 45 years.

He appealed to the committee to assist him collect his three months' salary and other allowances which were due to him because he was retired by notice as their collective agreement stipulated.

Mr Isaac Anim, a principal accountant of the Ghana School of Law said the school had been queried several times by external auditors for pre-financing the purchases of books from Readwide Ghana Ltd,which was the company of the Ansah-Asare.

The committee continues sitting.Meanwhile Mr Ansah-Asare has filed a writ at a Fast Track High Court praying the court to issue an injunction restraining the committee from continuing to sit,since the committee has resorted to harassment,as well as defamation of his character.The hearing of the suit has been fixed for Septmber 21.