Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 17 January 2013
Source: The Herald
*Cries For An Order To Silence The Herald *
By Cecil Mensah
The evasive Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UT Financial Holdings and Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng together with his lawyer yesterday received slaps on their faces from an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Justice Naa Adoley Azu as they desperately pushed to have The Herald, cited for contempt of court for highlighting the proceedings of his criminal trial.
But, the trial judge objected to the lawyer’s –pleas, saying if the defense counsel has a problem with the paper’s reportage, he should channel his concerns to the appropriate institution, being the National Media Commission (NMC), for redress.
In the opinion of the “no-nonsense” judge who recently earned promotion to the High Court, The Herald was only doing its job by reporting on the issue, hence she cannot heed ex-Captain Amoabeng’s lawyers plea to drag the paper to court to answer contempt charges. Amoabeng’s lawyers are led by Addo-Atua, an ex police officer.
The UT boss was himself in court. The case was subsequently adjoined to February 5, for hearing. His disrespect for the same court in the past led to a bench warrant being issued for his arrest sometime last year.
Mr. Amoabeng, who is also the patron of ‘’Johnnie Walker’’, a strong dry gin, has been accused by one Naa Otuah Swayne, a novelist, of clandestinely releasing her land title documents on her house at Ringway Estates in Osu-Accra, to procure a loan from the Home Finance Company (HFC) bank.
The documents were in the custody of Mr. Amoabeng, but was secretly given out to the late Alexander Adjei to use as a mortgage in securing a loan of GH¢ 1, 279,000 from HFC bank.
The prosecutor in the case, DSP Aidan Dery has informed the court that in October 2005, the complainant decided to sell her house and subsequently entered into a sale and purchase agreement with the late Alexander Adjei, the supposed buyer.
Madam Swayne, who is a vendor, was due to travel to the United Kingdom (UK), and was introduced to UT Bank where she borrowed an amount of GH¢25, 000, using the house as a collateral.
Madam Sawyne said she prepared and signed a deed of assignment with a condition that the final transaction would be witnessed by one Martin Nwosu, a lawyer, and handed over to the buyer after full payment of the purchase price had been made to her.
The complainant agreed to sell the said house for US$280,000, and Mr. Adjei was supposed to pay the money in three installments. However, the deceased, Mr. Adjei, on October 14, 2005 made a payment of US$100,000 but could not settle the remaining amount of US$180,000.
The prosecutor, however, explained that on September 27, 2007, a solicitor of the State Housing Company (SHC) Mr. John Aidoo, without recourse to Madam Swayne, wrote a letter to SHC, claiming that the deceased had duly purchased the property, therefore, SHC should consent to it by assigning the property to the late Adjei.
According to the prosecutor, Mr. Amoabeng fraudulently released the title document on the house to the late Alex Adjei, to secure a loan facility at the HFC Bank, despite knowing that the house in question was still in the name of Madam Swayne, as the purchase price had not been paid in full.
Mr. Amoabeng has been charged together with Mr. Aidoo for fraud. Mr. Amoabeng who was adjudged the most respected CEO for 2012 whilst his company, UT Bank was also adjudged the most respected company for the year 2012.
Ex-Captain, Amoabeng, served in the Ghana Armed Forces as an accountant. The victim, has meanwhile, filed a civil case against him at the Land Court Division of the Fast High Court, wanting her property back as well as compensation for having been denied the use of the property she toiled to build.
That civil case, comes off on January 23, this year with Justice Obimpe presiding.