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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kufuor ministers clash over rice

Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Akwasi Osei Adjei standing trial over rice importation
Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Akwasi Osei Adjei standing trial over rice importation
Joe Baidoe-Ansah, Member of Parliament for Effia-Kwesimintim and former Minister for Trade and Industry in the Kufuor administration has been ordered to appear in an Accra Fast Track High Court Thursday to testify against his colleague former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Akwasi Osei-Adjei and to provide evidence that would assist his prosecution.

The Government of Ghana has in the same vein fired a confidential letter to the Indian Government requesting assistance to help Mr. Osei-Adjei’s successful prosecution.

According to the Ghana Government, the request to India “falls under the provisions of the Scheme Relating to Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters within the Commonwealth.”

The Effia-Kwesimintim MP has also been ordered to provide some documents that would facilitate the prosecution of Osei-Adjei and was due to have attended a pre-trial conference with the Attorney-General’s Department last Tuesday as a prelude to Thursday’s court hearing.

Mr Baidoe-Ansah served as Minister for Trade and Industry while Osei-Adjei served as Foreign Minister under the John Kufuor-led Administration.

The Atta Mills led-Government has dragged Osei-Adjei to court over his role in an “economic diplomacy” the Government of Ghana played to get the Government of India lift a ban the country had placed on the exportation of food so as to allow Ghana import some rice from that country.

The Ghana Government has charged the former Foreign Minister with five counts of stealing, causing financial loss to the state, abuse of public office, conspiracy to commit crime, and contravention of the public procurement act.

Daily Guide gathered that the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department had contacted Joe Baidoe-Ansah and invited him to testify in court Thursday against his former colleague Minister and also requested him to provide evidence in the form of documents that would assist the A-G win the case.

The Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court, handling the matter, has upon the request of the Attorney-General’s Department subpoenaed Baidoe-Ansah over the same matter and ordered him to appear in court to give the said evidence and produce the needed document.

Already, the government of Ghana is selling the imported 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 said rice and also over the decision of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) to seize his travelling passport.

An excerpt of the confidential letter written to the Indian Government stated, “The Attorney General requests the assistance of the Attorney General of India in providing but not limited to documents, records and testimony about the above investigations listed above, the subjects and business and identified in support of the criminal investigation.”

Source: Daily Guide

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