You are here: HomeNews2008 06 20Article 145676

General News of Friday, 20 June 2008

Source: GNA

Court of Appeal dismisses Abodakpi's appeal

Accra, June 20, GNA - The Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed an appeal filed by Daniel Kwasi Abodakpi against his conviction. The court in a 2-1 decision upheld the judgement of the Fast Track High Court, which found him guilty for causing financial loss to the State. It, therefore, ordered Abodakpi to refund the 400,000 dollars to the State.

Mr Justice S.C. Kanyoke and Mr Justice K. A. Acquaye formed the majority while Mr Justice Yaw Appau had the minority opinion. On February 5 this year an Accra Fast Track High Court sentenced Abodakpi, 57, Former Minister of Trade and Industry, to 10 years' imprisonment. This was after the Court presided over by Mr Justice S.T. Farkye, an Appeals Court Judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, found him guilty of conspiracy; defrauding by false pretences and wilfully causing 400,000-dollar financial loss to the State.

Abodakpi, who is also Member of Parliament for Keta, was standing trial with the Victor Selormey (Deceased), Former Deputy Finance Minister. Abodakpi and Selormey were being tried on seven counts of conspiracy to commit crime, defrauding by false pretences and wilfully causing a total loss of 2.73 billion cedis to the State. The majority at the Appeals Court noted that the appeal had no merit and there was overwhelming evidence that Abodakpi did pay 400,000 dollars to Dr

Frederick Boadu. According to the majority, the evidence of the prosecution witnesses was enough to convict the appellant pointing out that no miscarriage of justice had been done to the appellant, as he was a participant in the transfer of money from Government coffers to Dr Boadu. The majority stated that the evidence showed that the appellant and the late Selormey caused financial loss to the State noting that the appellant only attempted to shift blame on to the deceased. "Appellant cannot escape the blame."

Mr Justice Appau, who had the minority view, stated that the records of proceedings showed that the trial judge failed to scrutinize the defence of the appellant as required by law. According to him the Prosecution did not lead evidence to prove his guilt noting that the Prosecution witnesses came to contradict themselves thereby creating doubts. "In my view, from the totality of the records, appellant's story was true." Mr Justice Appau noted that there was no evidence that the appellant connived with Selormey to defraud the State adding that the Prosecution could not prove that the appellant had no mandate to enter into contract with Dr Boadu. According to him there was no evidence to establish that Dr Boadu's sole sourcing was illegal.

"If sole sourcing was illegal does that mean that Baffour Awuah and the Auditor-General would one day stand trial for that?" he asked. According to him the appellant did not commit an offence to be imprisoned adding that Dr Boadu did work and was paid; as such his payment could not be termed as illegal. Abodakpi, together with the late Selormey were accused of causing the transfer of $400,000 during his tenure in office as Minister from a Trade and Investment Programme interest account lodged with ECOBANK Ghana Limited into the personal account of the project consultant, Dr Boadu.

The amount was in respect of a feasibility study for the establishment of a Science and Technology Community Park/Valley Project, which was meant to enhance the export of non-traditional products. President Kufuor, per a statement signed by Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs on May 24, exercised his constitutional prerogative of mercy in favour of Mr Abodakpi on humanitarian grounds and granted him a pardon by way of remission of the remainder of his sentence.