General News of Tuesday, 6 April 2004
Accra, Aril 6, GNA - A Court of Appeal in Accra, presided over by Mr. Justice J.B. Akamba, on Tuesday, dismissed an application for "stay of proceedings brought before it by Emmanuel Amuzu Agbodo, former Executive Secretary of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC).
The three-member panel, which included Mr. Justice Emmanuel Addo and Mrs. Henrietta Abban, ordered the applicant to go back to the Fast Track Court (FTC) to open his defence.
The court said Agbodo has a case to answer and therefore, should continue his trial at the Fast Track Court in which he is alleged to have received 15 million cedis from Dr. Albert Owusu-Barnafo, a consultant of the Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL).
The Court said the prosecution has established an evidence to prove an essential element in the alleged offence.
It stated that if a reasonable lower court convicted an accused person on the evidence laid before it, then he or she had a case to answer. The Court of Appeal, therefore, felt Agbodo's application was frivolous and unmeritorious, and dismissed it.
An Accra Fast Track Court, presided over by Mr. Justice J.C. Amonoo-Monney, an Appeal Court Judge, sitting on the case as a High Court Judge, had earlier ruled that Agbodo and two others, had a case to answer. The two are Hanny Sherry Ayittey, treasurer of the 31st December Women's Movement, and Ralph Casely-Hayford, businessman.
They are being tried on various corruption charges, while a fourth accused person in the case, Sati Dorcas Ocran, housewife, was earlier freed for lack of evidence.
Ayittey, Agbodo went on appeal, while Caely-Hayford decided to open his defence.
The lower court judge, however, acquitted Sherry on three of the six counts, which accused her of receiving 270,000 dollars and 25 million cedis from Dr. Barnafo, to influence the DIC board to divest GREL in favour of Societe Industrielle Plantation de Hevea (SIPH).
The Court of Appeal also dismissed Ayittey's application for "stay of proceedings", and asked her to open her defence at the FTC. The two applicants are therefore, expected to open their defence at a date to be fixed by the FTC.
Counsel for Ayittey is Mr. David Lamptey, while Mr. H. Senoo is representing Agbodo.