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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Court directs police to charge MP for fraud

Sene MP, Twumasi Appiah to face charges of fraud
Sene MP, Twumasi Appiah to face charges of fraud

The Accra Circuit Court Tuesday directed the police to take steps to formally charge the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sene, Mr Felix Twumasi Appiah, for fraud, saying parliamentary immunity did not mean he could not answer charges against him.

The court's directive followed a statement by counsel for Mr Twumasi-Appiah that the MP could not make an appearance in court because of his involvement in parliamentary duties.

Counsel also stated that his client had not been formally charged with the offence by the police.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice D. K. Daketsey, also ordered the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to release, with immediate effect, the passport of Huan Carlos, the MP's accomplice, to enable him to attend to his son who is sick in Spain.

Justice Daketsey stated that although the MP enjoyed parliamentary immunity, the court could only accept his absence upon the receipt of a written permit from the Clerk of Parliament and not an oral excuse from his counsel.

He stated that it was unfortunate that although Carlos had been charged for the offence, the MP had not, a situation which might be seen as discriminatory against Carlos, a foreigner.

On the release of the passport, the judge stated that since Carlos had been granted bail, his passport should be released to him.

Earlier, the prosecution had prayed the court not to release Carlos's passport to him because there was a high possibility that he would not avail himself of the court when the need arose.

"Carlos, who has been accused of defrauding a businessman to the tune of $36,000, with the help of the MP, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of conspiracy, stealing and defrauding by false pretences.

The facts of the case are that the complainant, Juan Francisco Lozano, a Spanish businessman, was on a visit to Ghana to transact business.

In March 2010, Nana Kwame Donkor, another businessman, had a transaction with Mr Lozano for Nana Donkor's company to supply Mr Lozano with gold in three tranches, worth $160,000.

According to the prosecution, Nana Donkor was unable to supply the third tranche of gold and promised to refund the remaining amount to the complainant.

The prosecution stated that Nana Donkor then contacted the MP to help in the transfer of the money back to the complainant in instalments, since it was not possible to transfer the amount in cash through the banks.

As a result, two blank cheques were signed by Nana Donkor for the accused persons to facilitate the transfer.

The prosecution said the money was to get to Spain through two persons who were called Ibrahim and Ishmael. When Nana Donkor sent the money through the account of the two persons in Spain, they bolted with it.

In addition, Nana Donkor paid $30,000 as part payment to the police for the money to be given to the complainant.

According to the prosecution, the MP directed Carlos to go to the office of the Commander of the Commercial Unit, Superintendent Yaa Tiwaa Danso. There, Carlos claimed that Mr Lozano was sick and could not come to Ghana. He had, therefore, instructed him (Carlos) to collect the money on his behalf.

The prosecution noted that it was only later, after contacting Nana Donkor over the remaining amount, that Lozano was told that it had been given to the police to be given back to him.

It said Lozano contacted the police and was told the money had been sent to him through his friend Carlos.

Source: Daily Graphic

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