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General News of Sunday, 6 April 2008

Source: Enquirer

US Court Grilling Ghanaian Minister

A U.S Circuit Court in Florida, is grilling President John Kufuor’s come-back kid, Dr. Richard Winfred Anane over his assets and finances in its attempt to establish an amount befitting for child support.

The embattled Transportation Minister is said to have caused a stir in the Court after he filed his financial affidavit dated January 7, 2008 as required by the Florida law.

Already, Alexandra Anane and her lawyer are said to be fuming with rage over Dr. Anane’s asset and financial declaration, as he only declared his monthly salary as a Member of Parliament (MP) and left out all assets, possible incomes such as revenue from his private clinic in Kumasi.

His affidavit suggests that after deductions he is almost left with no money at the end of the month.

Court sources have told The Enquirer that Dr. Anane’s declaration “does not comply with the demands of the court. Dr. Anane did not include any assets such as real estate, vehicle, bank account, valuables, pensions etc”

The source continued that “His accounting details do not even make common financial sense. Dr. Anane’s financial form is a joke and a mockery attempt at our legal system if he thinks this sort of contempt towards our court would be acceptable”

When Dr. Anane’s lawyer was confronted with what has become the ‘phony asset declaration’ she presented on behalf of her client, Sharon Feliciano said she did not know what happened and told the court that she explained everything to her client prior to his filing the financial affidavit.

Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure (Rule 12.285(h), requires that ‘each party must file a Family Law financial Affidavit (form 12.902(b) or (c) with the Clerk of Court, ten (10) days prior to the first hearing where Financial relief is sought by either party, or ten (10) days prior to a Case Management Conference, whichever is first.’

The law continues that ‘Neither party may sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove, or in any way dispose of any property, individually or jointly held by the parties, without the written consent of the other party, or without an order of the Court, except in the usual course of business, or for customary and usual household expenses, or for reasonable attorney’s fees in connection with the action.’

The Standing Family Law Court Order continues further that ‘However, accounts managed by an independent third party may continue to operate as usual, unless problems concerning their operation arise while the action is pending, in which case a party may petition the Court for expedited relief.’

In his Financial Affidavit, which was submitted to the Florida court on February 6th, 2008, through his lawyer, Sharon Feliciano of Palatka, Florida, Dr. Anane stated his occupation to be only that of an MP, with a total gross monthly income of GH¢2,300, with a dollar equivalent stated as $2,421.05 (i.e. GH¢ 0.95 = $1.00).

The Affidavit, which Dr. Anane attested to in Accra on 25th January this year, did not mention any additional income except what he receives as an MP.

Under ‘bonuses, commissions, allowances, overtime, tips and similar payments,’ for example, Dr. Anane, MP for Nhyiaeso submitted ‘$N/A’ or ‘Not Applicable’, which means he did not earn any income in such manner.

Again, ‘Business income from sources such as self-employment partnership, close corporations, and/or independent contracts - gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income’, elicited a ‘$N/A’ response.

In the same manner, a request to ‘Itemize any other income of a recurring nature’, encountered a similar response.

Curiously missing from Dr. Anane’s earnings is any income from his clinic as well as ‘gifts from friends’.

The various payments that Dr. Anane stated he makes from his income are: income tax, GH¢329.00 or $346.32; Mandatory union dues, GH¢50.00 or $52.63; Mandatory retirement, GH¢23.00 or $24.21 and Car Advance – Bank, GH¢456.30 or $480.00. He does not pay an individual health insurance premium.

The Transportation Minister, indicates his average monthly ‘Household’ expenses to be GH¢260.00 or $272.95, plus an additional annual amount of GH¢1,000 ($1,052) on repairs and maintenance.

On his vehicle, Dr. Anane spends GH¢200.00 ($210.52) on petrol and oil and GH¢20.00 ($20.51) on repairs. He spends also, GH¢50.00 and GH¢3,000.00 per annum on auto tags/license and insurance respectively.

School tuition, stated under Children’s expenses, amounted to GH¢4,200.00 or $4,421.05 per annum, whilst he spends GH¢220.00 ($231.58) on lunch.

The bald-headed MP spends GH¢10.00 or $10.53 a month on barbering, and the same amount on cosmetics and toiletries.

Subsequent to making that deposition, Dr. Anane had regained his position as Transportation Minister, from which he resigned after the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) indicted him of various improprieties.

During the CHRAJ hearings, Dr. Anane had mentioned some of his sources of his earnings as ‘gifts from friends.’

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