You are here: HomeNews2008 02 12Article 139137

Crime & Punishment of Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Source: GNA

Hearing starts in four million GH cedis urban roads case

Accra, Feb. 12, GNA - An Accra Fast Track High Court on Tuesday started hearing the case in which two employees of the Kumasi Urban Roads Department (KURD) have been charged for allegedly embezzling four million Ghana cedis belonging to the Department.

The two, Nicholas Sakyi, an accountant of the department and his deputy Joseph Kofi Yeboah, have been charged for three counts of stealing.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been admitted to a bail of two million Ghana cedis each with two sureties to be justified. Mr. Emmanuel Pambour, Managing Director of Blue Net Enterprises, who was the first prosecution witness, told the court that he is a contractor and executed three projects for the KURD in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Led in evidence by Mr. Francis Pobi, a Senior State Attorney, he said before he was given a cheque by the Kumasi Urban Roads Department for work done, tax deductions were made and sent to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

He said in 2006 when the IRS therefore wrote to him that he had not been paying his taxes, he went to the Department in Kumasi to check where the anomaly was coming from. Mr Pambour said he later got to know that all his tax deductions, which were to have been sent to the IRS, had rather been sent to the account of a fictitious company named I.T. Services. Asked by defence counsel whether he knew how the IRS arrived at the 7.5 per cent tax deductions, he said that was for the IRS to answer. Mr James Amo Godfred, Kumasi Metro Roads Engineer, in his evidence told the court that it was his outfit that had to technically certify the work of contractors while the accountant prepared the payment vouchers.

He said after the vouchers had been signed they are sent to the Urban Roads for the cheques to be prepared by the accountant and later brought to him to sign and sent to the IRS. He said on one occasion, officers from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) came to Sakyi's office to investigate a compliant from the Bank of Ghana (BoG). When he inquired from Sakyi what was going on, he told him it was personal.

He said, he later got to know that the investigations had to do with the non-payment of tax to IRS. He said even though BoG addressed a letter to him concerning the investigations the accused person kept the letter. Mr Amo Godfred also tendered in evidence copies of receipts of payments made by Kumasi Urban Roads to contractors and the tax deductions, which never got to the IRS. He said later when Joseph Yeboah, the second accused, got to know that he was also about to be investigated he attempted to run away but he was arrested.

Mr Atta Akyea, counsel for Sakyi and Mr Ellis Owusu-Fordjour, Counsel for Yeboah respectively, asked the Court, presided over by Mr. Justice K.A. Acquaye to give them time to study documents tendered in by the prosecution witness to make their case. They said it would be very difficult for them to cross-examine the witnesses when they had not gone through the various documents tendered in evidence. The case had been adjourned to February 22.

Join our Newsletter