Sammy Crabbe, the former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), yesterday appeared before an Accra Fast Track High Court, Financial Division, to answer charges of causing financial loss to the state.
The former Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpiani and two former ministers under the Kufuor Administration, Dr. Richard Anane and Anthony Akoto-Osei, who were to be charged with him, were however absent.
Crabbe was not charged and the facts of the case were not read to him, as the three others were yet to be formally served to appear before the trial Judge, Justice Bright Mensah.
The trial Judge said he would adjourn the case to enable the others appear before him today.
The former government officials are expected to be charged in connection with their respective roles in the formation of the Ghana International Airlines (GIA) which allegedly resulted in huge financial loss to the nation.
Mr. Crabbe, also a minority shareholder in GIA, was represented by Michael Kwame Boateng, while the state was represented by the acting Director For Public Prosecutions (DPP), Gertrude Aikins.
Later in an interview with the media, Mr. Crabbe said even though he was not formally notified, he heard about the writ on radio and called his lawyer to go with him to the police where he wrote his statement and was charged with conspiracy to cause financial loss, causing financial loss, conspiracy to steal and stealing.
He confirmed that the others have not been served, adding that he spoke to one of them who said he was not aware of what was going on, explaining that some of them were in their various constituencies but would appear if they were served.
Yesterday, former Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpiani explained that he was not in court because he was not aware of any charge of causing financial loss to the state, as being reported in some sections of the media.
He added that although he met the Criminal Investigations Department of the police about 10 days ago, he had not been served with any summons or charged to appear before a court.
However, accompanied by lawyer Owusu Fordjour, they met the police CID yesterday and even though he is not formally charged, he is expected to appear in court this morning.
“It is news to me that I am being told that I have refused or I didn’t [go to] court. I have not been charged by the police.
“If they charge me and I know the charge, then I’m sure I’ll tell my lawyers what to do. I know from my heart [and] my conscience that I haven’t done anything wrong.
I don’t know what they are going to charge me with,” Mr Mpiani told Joy News yesterday.
In a 13-point statement of claim filed by the Attorney General’s Department, the four former government officials and five others, reportedly at large, were allegedly to have conspired to cause losses to the state in millions of United States dollars.
Former Roads and Highways Minister, Richard Anane, Samuel Crabbe, former Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the NPP, and President of Unger Oaks Limited, a previous member of the minority shareholders of the Ghana International Airlines Limited (GIAL), have been accused of agreeing to act together with a common purpose to willfully cause financial loss to the state to the tune of USD$ 4,900,000.00.
They were also charged with conspiracy to and willfully causing financial loss to the state contrary to sections 23 (1) and 179A (3) (a) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).
The second count charged Messrs Anane and Crabbe with willfully causing financial loss to the state to the tune of USD$4,900,000.00 between August 2004 and January 2009.
Dr Anane is also charged with defrauding the state of Ghana by false pretences contrary to section 131 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29).
He reportedly falsely represented to cabinet on September 9, 2004 that GIA-USA-LLC, made up of World Transport Group and Sentry, had the capacity to join government in creating a new airline, as a result of which by false representation, he got cabinet’s approval to liquidate Ghana Airways.
Former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Anthony Akoto Osei is also charged with willfully causing financial loss to the state for causing to be released USD$ 2,326,275.00, USD$673,725.00, USD$400,000.00, USD$1,600,000.00 and 1,239,285.35 between October 2007 and January 25, 2008 to GIAL without authority.
Dr Akoto Osei is also charged with causing financial loss to the state by guaranteeing or causing SSNIT to release USD$15,000,000.00 to GIAL without securing the loan or obtaining parliamentary approval at a time minority shareholders had allegedly abandoned the company.
The writ also charges Dr Akoto Osei with deceit of public officer contrary to section 251 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) for allegedly falsely making representation to parliament to approve SD$15,000,000.00 purportedly as additional money to fund the equity of the government of Ghana in GIAL.
Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani, former Chief of Staff at the Castle, has also been charged with causing financial loss to the state for causing to be released an amount of USD$6,000,000.00 to GIAL in September 2008 without authority.
Samuel Crabbe, J. Ralph Atkin, now at large and H. Kirk Heaton also at large, have been charged with conspiracy to steal and stealing for acting together with a common purpose to dishonestly appropriate the property of GIAL and dishonestly appropriating an amount of USD$1,900,000.00 belonging to GIAL.
In another development, DAILY GUIDE has gathered that former Finance Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo has not been charged with causing financial loss to the state, as earlier reported.
By Fidelia Achama/Daily Guide
Thursday, April 1, 2010
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