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Friday, October 9, 2009

Osei Adjei charged with stealing rice

Former Foreign Minister, Akwasi Osei-Adjei
Former Foreign Minister, Akwasi Osei-Adjei
Akwasi Osei-Adjei, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, has been charged with stealing among others, over his role in an “economic diplomacy” to get the Government of India to lift a ban the country had placed on the exportation of food so as to allow Ghana import some £10,000 worth of rice from the country.

Daily Guide gathered that the government of Ghana is claiming that some of the sacks of rice are nowhere to be found while others have gone bad.

This culminated in Osei-Adjei being charged with stealing, causing financial loss to the state, abuse of public office, conspiracy to commit crime, and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

Already, the government of Ghana is selling the said rice and Osei-Adjei has been in and out of court several times with the Attorney General over his involvement in the purchase of the rice and the decision of the Bureau of National Investigations to seize his traveller’s passport.

Daily Guide published in May this year that it had information that sections of a report compiled by the Government Transition Team had penciled Mr. Osei-Adjei for prosecution over supposed findings that he, in his capacity as Foreign Affairs Minister, used state machinery to import rice from India to the tune of £10,000 and that the rice was to be shared for members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The story had noted that he would be thus used as the first sacrificial lamb to justify claims by the Atta Mills Government that the past officials were corrupt, and as a prelude to his prosecution, damning portions of the said report had been leaked to the media so as to prepare the minds of the public and also weigh public opinion on the matter.

Osei-Adjei, in explaining the matter, told DAILY GUIDE the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not import rice and did not import the rice in question.

He stated that he used an “economic diplomacy” to get the Government of India to waive a ban the country had placed on the exportation of food, so as to allow Ghana import rice from the country.

He said that happened during the recent food crisis in Ghana when many countries placed a ban on the exportation of food.

According to him, after the India Government lifted the ban, a number of Ghanaian banks were informed of the facility and it became a purely private issue as the Ghana government had no further role to play.

“I remember we informed three different banks and the National Investment Bank wrote back to us that they were interested. The India Government then recommended a company and it purely became a private transaction.

“The bank then did all the economic and financial due diligence and saw that it was a viable venture and that they could even sell the rice at a cheaper price to Ghanaians and still make profit and that was what happened. The reports are there to confirm so I do not see the head or tail of all this,” he said.

The ex-Minister said the Ghana Government did not and was not to pay for the importation, did not act as guarantors and did not indemnify any of the parties, but only got the Indian government to lift the ban on exportation of food.

Source: Daily Guide

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