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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kufuor shows up in court in GIA trial

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor was in court on Wednesday to hear charges against key appointees under his administration.

The officials, Dr Richard Anane, a former Road and Transport Minister, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, a former Chief of Staff, and Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, a former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, are standing trial over the liquidation of the defunct national carrier, Ghana Airways and the incorporation of Ghana International Airlines (GIA).

The fourth accused person, Sammy Crabbe, a former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), represents the minority shareholders of GIA.

This is the first major trial of former government officials who served under the Kufuor administration.

Mr Kufuor, clad in a blue-black suit, and several other former officials and sympathizers of the NPP, stormed the Accra Fast Track High Court in solidarity with the four accused persons.

Dr Akoto Osei was charged with seven counts, including wilfully causing financial loss to the state, Dr Richard Anane faces three counts, Mr Crabbe faces four counts, whilst Mr Mpiani faces one count.

The four were granted GH¢300,000 bail to reappear on the 26th and 27th of April.

Three of the accused former officials, Dr Osei, Mr Mpiani and Dr Anane, failed to show up in court on Tuesday when the case was first called because they had not been charged.

Although Mr Crabbe was in court, the case was adjourned to today for the other persons facing trial to appear.

Meanwhile the judge sitting on the case, Justice Bright Mensah, has warned the lawyers of the accused persons to desist from speaking to the press.

He warned he would not take kindly to any act that prejudices the court’s verdict. Subsequently, the lawyers for Dr Anane and the other officials did not speak to the press.

However, Mr Kwame Boateng, lawyer for Mr Crabbe, who is said to have withdrawn $1.7 million from government’s account without approval, told Joy News on Tuesday his client is innocent.

Story by Fiifi Koomson/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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