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Kufuor Alerted ¢50 Billion Heist
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General News of Thursday, 26 October 2006

Source: Chronicle

Kufuor Alerted ¢50 Billion Heist

A student at the Ghana School of Law, who is a major donor to the institution, is in the news for issuing several dud cheques to offset his indebtedness to many companies, including state owned institutions.

These dud cheques have therefore raised his total indebtedness to figures exceeding ¢50 billion.

The operations of Mr. Francis Nyonyo Agboada, a 40-year old business man who operates four petrol filing stations in parts of Accra and another in the Central Region, was exposed to the President, Mr. J. A. Kufuor, last month in a detailed petition, which was also made available to the top hierarchy of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) by one of the party's largest financiers and leading light in the Volta Region, Mr. Raymond Okudzeto.

In a distress message to the President, Dumega Okudzeto complained bitterly that Mr. Nyonyo was ruining the gains being made by the ruling party in weaning the party from the grip of the NDC, as evidence abound - cited by The Chronicle - that Agboada (a.k.a. Francis Lumorvi Atsitsogbi) contested as a parliamentary candidate of the NDC's in 1992 but has jumped to claim NPP membership "because he is in a financial mess".

The message also noted that he was exploiting his links with the Volta Regional Minister, Mr. Kofi Dzamesi, and the President's adviser in the Volta Region, Mr. Tommy Ammamatekpor.

Cheques and records from the institutions established that one of the indebted institutions, the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), which is chaired by Mr. Paul Koranteng, is pursuing Agboada for settlement of 11.8-billion-cedi debt.

Apart from SCOA Motors, which managed to retrieve their money from him after desperate attempts to take payment for a vehicle he took from them, the other state institutions are having serious problems because of claims that even the Attorney General is alleged by Mr. Okudzeto to be refusing to prosecute him.

He is indebted to Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) for a staggering amount of ¢195 billion, from the ¢4.6 billion level of debt by October 2005.

Official documents reviewed by The Chronicle establishes this as fact, and according to the NPP's founding member, Mr. Okudzeto, who is privy to this information, customers who owe as little as ¢135 million to TOR were stopped from loading, yet Fraga Oil, whose debt continues to rise and has actually reached the highest in the refinery's books, continues to have its payment rescheduled; thus sending bad signals to the oil companies who are aware of these developments and are made to believe that Agoabda is a big financier of the NPP.

A sheaf of Bank for Housing and Construction (BHC) cheques dating back to 1998 all marked "return to drawer" shows how the state-owned bank finally collapsed under the weight of bad debts such as that issued by Fraga Oil Limited.

This has led to fears that the badly performing agricultural bank may be laying the foundation of losing ground in the now competitive banking environment.

On Tuesday, an Accra High Court hearing a libel case filed by Mr. Agboada, who is claiming to be Regent of the Awoamezi of the Anlo State, was adjourned to December. Francis Nyonnyo, who sued is now seeking to withdraw the case.

But Okudzeto's lawyers, Messrs Sammy Okudzeto and Chris Ackummey, again opposed an out-of-court settlement, following the intervention of Torgbui Duklui Attipoe of Anyaoko and Torgbui Anuma Dorglo of Avenor, initiators of the out-of-court settlement.

The defending lawyers had insisted before Mr. Justice Baffoe Bonnie that they should first make contact with the parties to ascertain whether they were willing to do so or not, and not just spring the proposal on them in court.

The dispute over the installation of an Awoamefia in the Volta Region has sparked massive security and political tensions in the area, with Mr. Raymond Okudzeto leading efforts to see to the installation of a legitimate Awoamefia and resisting allegations that Agboada insists on becoming an Awoamefia.

The paper's calls to Mr. Agboada's cell phone to get his side of the story went through but on all occasions, there were no responses.

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