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General News of Tuesday, 20 November 2001

Source: Ghana Celebrities

Accused persons in quality grain trial have case to answer - DPP

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Mr Osafo Sampong, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), on Monday told the Fast Track Court that a "prima facie" case had been made against six accused persons, including two former Ministers of State, charged with conspiracy and wilfully causing financial loss to the state.

He said the prosecution called 21 witnesses and tendered several documents to ground the charges and urged the court to call on them to open their defence.

Mr Sampong was replying to submissions of "no case" by counsel for all the accused persons that the prosecution failed to give enough evidence for their clients to state their side of the case.

The DPP said the case for the prosecution was that between 1995 and 2000, the accused persons at various times, conspired and caused financial loss to the people of Ghana.

He said it was up to the court to determine whether evidence on record was enough against them.

Those on trial are, Ibrahim Adam, former Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Kwame Peprah, former Finance Minister, Dr Samuel Dapaah, Dr George Yankey, Nana Ato Dadzie and Kwesi Ahwoi, all former senior public officials.

They have pleaded not guilty and each of them is on a self-recognisance bail.

Mr Sampong said the arguments by the defence that " there was no sufficient evidence to show that the state incurred losses as a result of the acts of the accused persons in the Quality Grain Company is misguided and totally groundless".

He submitted that there was evidence that the government agreed to guarantee loans for the company to establish a rice project at Aveyime in the Volta Region.

The DPP said it was also on record that the government guaranteed an initial loan of seven million dollars for the project after an approval by Parliament.

Mr Sampong said thereafter, 15 million dollars were released to the company without parliamentary approval as required by law.

He said the prosecution was not saying that the accused persons were guilty of the offences.

Rather, it has shown that the six persons', who were all senior public officials, "deliberate and reckless acts" caused financial loss to the detriment of tax-payers.The DPP said he would demonstrate in subsequent submissions, the role each of the accused persons played in the commission of the offence.

Hearing continues on Tuesday, November 20.

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